We Paid Cash: A New-to-us Minivan

We paid cash!A testimony from Kelly

Our family is expecting our third child this Fall. With that exciting addition, we have also come to need a larger vehicle. I’ve had my previous car since college (almost ten years) and it was time for the minivan.

My husband, Jesse, was able to work a side contract job on top of his full-time job for several months this year. Because of this, we were able to save much of the money he earned “on the side” to put toward our minivan savings goal.

Once we were ready to buy, we scanned Craigslist almost daily, looking for a good deal on a new-to-us  minivan.

We were thrilled when we found one within our budget that had lower mileage, plenty of room, was clean, with only one previous owner! It was very strange walking out of the bank with a whole envelope of cash, but it felt wonderful to pay cash for our new-to-us minivan!

minivan1

Kelly is a wife and stay at home mom to two busy children, a four-year old girl and two-year old boy, with another baby boy on the way. Her blog, Fru-Gal.org, is focused on frugal living for the grace of giving. As a missionary/pastor’s wife, she strives to live a frugal lifestyle so that her family is able to pay the bills, but also so that they can live in greater generosity toward people in need.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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Brigette’s Bulk Foods Grocery Shopping Trip

We’ve been traveling the past few weeks, visiting family and friends, so I haven’t done any weekly grocery shopping. I DID, however, visit a couple of my favorite places while we were back in Michigan (where we used to live).

We discovered the Amish bulk foods store by accident one day, years ago, when driving around. It is not advertised and doesn’t have a phone number or website! It is the cheapest place I have ever found wheat kernels (no tax or shipping!), and I have been a loyal, happy customer for many years.

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I divide the 50-lb bags into ziptop bags and store them in the freezer

Countryside Bakery and Bulk Foods

(2204 29 Mile Rd, Homer, MI 49245)

1 50-lb bag Prairie Gold Hard White Spring Wheat Kernels – $27.95

1 50-lb bag Oats – marked down to $16.95

1 3-lb bag Cocoa Powder – $14.95

(16 oz Cinnamon – $2.49) My sister-in-law actually bought this for me and gave it to me ahead of time – but I am including it in the picture because it came from this store and I was planning on purchasing it.

4 oz. Ground Ginger- $1.99

Total: $61.84

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J and D’s Honeybees

(13521 Allman Road, Concord, MI 49237)

1 gallon (12.5lbs) of Raw Honey – $37.50 (We actually bought four gallons while we were there, but only one is for us. This is the best, cheapest place I have ever found raw honey. We’ve paid as little as $25 a gallon over the years we’ve been buying from them, but apparently this was a really bad year for the bees and there is a shortage of honey so the prices are up. It’s still worth it to this honey-loving family!)

Total: $37.50

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 Sam’s Club

2 (54-oz) jars Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil @ $15.00 each – $30.00

Total: $30.00

Grand Total for all Bulk Purchases: $129.36

I didn’t plan a weekly menu this week as my kitchen is undergoing a major renovation over the next few days and it’s almost impossible for me to cook in it right now. My older three children are staying with grandparents all week, so my husband and I are kind of in eat-whatever-you-can-find-that-doesn’t-require-kitchen-prep mode, supplemented by the occasional out-to-eat treat. :) Looking forward to getting back to a more normal schedule soon!

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How to Make Delicious Homemade Lattes — Without an Espresso Machine!

How-to-Make-Delicious-Homemade-Lattes-Without-an-Espresso-Machine

I’ve heard rave reviews of this Homemade Latte Recipe ever since I posted it. And I’ve wanted to try it, but I was happy with my regular coffee with cream and sugar so I figured, why change it?

Well, in the last few months, I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of most sugar in my diet. And a few weeks ago, I stopped using sugar in my coffee altogether.

{Can we all take a moment of silence? Did you read what I just wrote? This girl who has had a lifelong sweet tooth, STOPPED USING SUGAR IN HER COFFEE?!?

I’m not even sure that I can communicate the magnitude of that statement. Next thing you know, I’m going to start a blog about doing car repairs or something. Well, I may need to first learn the name of the car I drive (babysteps, babysteps…). But hey, if I can do something I never thought would be remotely possible — drink coffee without sugar and like it — who knows what I might do next?! :)}

Good Girl MoonshineGood Girl Moonshine

Bulletproof CoffeeBulletproof Coffee

At any rate, as a result, I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of coffees and drinks, including Good Girl Moonshine and Bulletproof Coffee.

{If you Google the recipes for those, please promise me you won’t write me off as total crazy. Because I liked both recipes and have made them multiple times. I know… I may be going through a midlife crisis or something. ;)}

Homemade Latte

As I experimenting with different recipes, I remembered this Homemade Latte Recipe and knew it was high time I try it. I used some of my Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to purchase the Aerobie Aeropress and AeroLatte Frother.

Homemade Latte

I’d never made espresso before and was super impressed with how easy it was to make!

Homemade Latte

When you pull the Aeropress off the cup, the most amazing coffee smell wafts up. Love it!

(Also, totally unrelated: but notice how I’m keeping my nails painted thanks to the encouragement from some of you in the comments here. And it’s been over a week and it’s totally working to kill my nail-biting habit. And it makes me so happy to look down and see my red nails. I have hope that they are going to grow out all pretty, long, and strong… but for now I’m celebrating the little victories.)

Homemade Latte

This frother is absolutely so much fun!

Homemade Latte

And there you have it! An amazing cup of Homemade Latte for much, much less than you’d pay at the coffee shop and without using an Espresso Machine.

Homemade Latte

You can find the detailed recipe here. Also: if you want to make a Breve Latte, just substitute Half and Half for the milk, like I did. And then don’t go look up the calorie count after you make it like I did… yikes! ;)

Homemade Latte

What are your favorite at-home coffee drinks to make?

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Business owners & bloggers: I’d LOVE to meet you in Colorado in November!

I'd LOVE to meet you at The Platform Conference

Are you a blogger or a business owner who would love some insider tips, secrets, and encouragement for skyrocketing your success? You MUST check out the Platform Conference.

I went to this conference last year hoping I’d pick up some new ideas and inspiration for how to continue growing my platform. Instead, I left the conference with a completely new plan of action and approach for my business.

The speakers and attendees were not only inspiring, but they challenged me to think far outside of my current business strategy. I only wish I had learned this information sooner! It has transformed the way I think and the way I approach business and blogging.

Without a doubt, I can say that the money I spent to attend the Platform Conference was truly the best money I’ve ever spent on any conference in my life. Yes, it’s that good!

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I’m honored to be speaking at the Platform Conference this year, along with an incredible line-up of other amazing speakers. I cannot wait to sit and soak up wisdom from them and be re-energized and re-inspired as a business owner and blogger.

The Platform Conference will be held November 9-11, 2014, at the beautiful Broadmoor Resort and Spa in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

This event is for anyone and everyone who has something to say, share, or sell. This includes public speakers, authors, bloggers, business owners, entrepreneurs, sales people, pastors, nonprofit leaders, and more.

Save $200 When You Register By August 1, 2014

If you register by August 1, 2014, you’ll get the Early Bird Rate — which is $100 off the regular price. Plus, if you use coupon code CRYSTAL, you’ll get an additional $100 off. The coupon code CRYSTAL is valid up until conference registration is closed, but the Early Bird Rate ends August 1, 2014.

Do yourself a favor and go sign up for the Platform Conference. I’d LOVE to meet you there!

Sign Up for a FREE Group Mastermind With Me & My Husband

As a special bonus, if you sign up using my coupon code, my husband and I would like to invite you to an exclusive FREE one-hour Group Mastermind we’ll be hosting on-site. This will be an opportunity to get to meet with us and pick our brains with any business or blogging questions (or even life questions) you have. It will be fun and informal — a time for us to get to know you and encourage you in your business endeavors.

To be invited to this exclusive Mastermind with Jesse and me, just sign up for the Platform Conference using coupon code CRYSTAL at checkout. Then, forward your registration confirmation email to registration @ moneysavingmom.com and we’ll be in touch with further details on when and where the Mastermind will be held. We hope to see you there!

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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Part-Time Work-At-Home Position Available

Part-Time Work-At-Home Position

All About Worship asked if I’d shared their part-time work-at-home position with you all since I know some of you are looking for at-home work opportunities. Here are details on the position taken from their blog post:

Are you tech AND social media savvy? Are you self-motivated and super organized? Do you have a passion for worship? Are you looking for a part-time, work-at-home job that’s not only flexible, but rewarding? Do you want to be a part of an organization that impacts worship leaders/teams worldwide and is focused on advancing the Kingdom of God?

If you answered “yes” to ALL of these questions, you may be just who we’re looking for!

JOB TITLE: to be determined

REPORTS TO: Wisdom Moon (Founder of All About Worship)

PURPOSE: Supports the organization’s objectives by managing the day-to-day operations with minimal supervision. You will work from home (aka telecommute) with periodic in-person (if in Nashville area) and/or skype meetings with supervisor. This position will require about 2-4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Work hours are flexible, but require at least some availability during regular business hours.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Be a part of creating & implementing fresh new ways to influence more worship leaders/teams worldwide
  • Plan, schedule, and coordinate articles and music reviews with contributors
  • Proofread, edit, and publish articles and reviews
  • Write (minimal) content for the site
  • Complete some basic, simple graphic design
  • Manage multiple social media accounts: curate relevant content, schedule posts, respond to comments, engage with the audience
  • Promptly respond to email inquiries
  • Maintain relationships with current advertisers and actively develop new relationships
  • Invoice advertisers and follow-up
  • and other duties as assigned

SKILLS/QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Thorough understanding of worship ministry and the needs of worship leaders/teams
  • Familiar with current worship music and resources
  • Strong follow-through and follow-up
  • Amazing people skills
  • Very tech-savvy
  • Basic graphic design
  • Great with grammar, spelling, and writing
  • Previous experience with using a CMS (Content Management System) preferred
  • Proficient in the use of social media as an organization, including but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, and Google+
  • Basic understanding of how digital advertising and invoicing works
  • Type at least 30 WPM

COMPENSATION: Salary to be commensurate with experience and responsibilities (base pay + commission). This is a part-time, telecommuting contractor position.

APPLY: To be considered for this opening, email your resume and any supporting portfolio or works to office[at]allaboutworship.com

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How to Afford Real Food on a Budget

How to Afford Real Food on a Budget

I’m so honored to be guest posting over on 100 Days of Real Food today. If you are interested in how to afford real food on a budget, be sure to click over and read my post.

Also? If you’re interested in making the switch to more real foods, I highly recommend following the blog, 100 Days of Real Food. It’s packed with all sorts of great inspiration, ideas, and recipes for eating fewer processed foods (or eliminating them completely!)

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