Expert Interview with Kimberlee Stokes on Family Finance

Kimberlee Stokes offers some of the best family advice and budget planning we've found on the Web at The Peaceful Mom. She took a moment to chat with us about finding freebies, family budgets, and keeping your cool with a hectic family life.

What inspired you to start The Peaceful Mom?

I have always had a desire to help and encourage others. A few years ago I left my full-time job to be more available to my son, who had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. We had to seriously cut our budget to live off of one income, so I began searching for ways to save money and I started a blog to share my ideas and finds with my friends and family. In 2010, I expanded my vision and added more helpful posts like weekly meal plans and recipes (including gluten free), organization tips and planners, family fun ideas, DIY projects and more.

You have a pretty extensive overview of freebies available to consumers. How do you track these down?

I love free samples and offers because they help families add a little fun while continuing to keep the budget lower. I have a virtual assistant who helps me search the web for the best freebies each week.

There are some extremely clever budget meal plans on the site. What goes into your budget meal planning? How much testing do you have to do?

I have four teenagers who demand to be fed every day, and peanut butter sandwiches aren't going to cut it! In order to stick to our budget of $125 a week for six people, I need to make a detailed plan. Each week on my planning day, I take a look at the sales at my local grocery stores and create a meal plan based on those sale items and the food that I have in my freezer, fridge and pantry.

As far as testing, my husband and teens are the guinea pigs for my recipes, and if they don't like a meal that I serve, the recipe won't show up on my website.

You have a strong focus on eBooks. Where do eBooks fit in for the modern mom?

For moms, it's easy to become focused on the kids and not take any time for ourselves, but when we continue to learn and grow, we become better parents and better individuals. eBooks are an amazing resource to learn new skills and ideas, and with the current technology of tablets and smartphones, you can read them literally anywhere.

I love sharing my latest free eBook finds so others can learn along with me.

Why is it so important to organize?

You've heard it before, but we all have the same 24 hours in a day. How we spend those hours determines the quality of our life and our happiness. I have a passion to help women simplify and organize their time, money and space so they can live their true priorities rather than trying to juggle a crazy schedule and missing out on what is truly important, like quality relationships with their family and friends.

Organization is the key to living your values and spending time on what is meaningful in life.

What's next for you?

My top priorities are my marriage and enjoying my four teenagers, but I am speaking publicly more often, writing a new book, and I may start a podcast in the next few months.

Keep up with the latest from Kimberlee on Pinterest.