Saving money while you travel is very important, and it is a very good lesson for the kids. We all know it is getting more expensive to live and eat, so saving money anywhere you can helps out greatly. Another problem we Roadschoolers have is that we all live in a home on wheels that is about the size of a New York apartment or maybe your first studio apartment when you attended college (about 300 square feet).
With that in mind, we do not have room to stockpile or do the crazy coupon thing. Coupons are important, but I actually don’t use them a lot. The reason is normally I have no idea where the nearest grocery store (or any store!) is when I pull into a campsite and have not located a newspaper. Most of the time you can go online, find the nearest grocery store, and print off coupons, but again I don’t have a printer.
This is how I save money and do a lesson with the kids by doing math, learning to cook, and shopping off a list:
- Get the kids involved and pick out your meals for a week or two.
Ask what the kids want to eat, and write down what you are going to eat for each meal. I try to plan so that we can plan for leftovers, which saves a lot. I let my kids pick a meal, write down the ingredients, and then check to see if we have any ingredients. Then on their list, they write down what we don’t have. This also eliminates random food items that you may or not have room for.
- Stockpile on your staples as much as space allows:
We eat a lot of pasta and rice, so if they go on sale and we are running low, we go ahead and grab some. Pasta and rice are cheap and can go with about anything.
- Eat less meat
Meat is getting more and more expensive so we have tried to eat less meat. Try to find meals that are vegan or vegetarian. They can be more healthy and save you money as long as you plan well.
- Add raw vegetables for snacks
A lot of you already do this, but some do not. We buy carrots, celery, and vegetable trays to our grocery list. We make sure they are very accessible for the kids and the first thing they see in the fridge. I oftentimes just get them out and leave them on the counter when I see the kids are looking for a snack.
- Coupons are a great way to save:
I honestly don’t collect coupons, but I do look for the ads at the local grocery store where we are shopping for the month. I have found that overall you will save more money at the grocery stores like Kroger than at a super Wal-Mart. I save money because I only buy groceries and am not tempted to buy that cute top or shoes we don’t need. I save those for another shopping day.
So how do you get the kids involved in doing math? I don’t do this every time, but if we haven’t done math in a while, I plan on taking extra time at the grocery store. I divide my list in half and give each kid one list. They have to guess how much each item will cost, add up the prices, and guess how much we will spend. Then when we get home, I give them the real bill and see how close they are. If it is the meal they chose to make for the week, I let them help make it. They read the instructions, and if the recipe asks for 1/4 cup only give them half and figure out the fractions together. While at the store, I have them write down what’s on the end caps, talk about why those items are placed there, discuss pricing, the color of boxes, and what companies do to catch the buyer’s eye. We even talk about how far away the bread is from the milk or how different this store was from the last.
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