November 12, 2008

“Budget Babe” Robyn Moreno Shares Family-Friendly Tips for Saving and Earning More

Amid an economic downturn with increased unemployment, rising food prices and housing foreclosures, the nation's consumers are focused on the bottom line - their own wallets. In a recent survey(1) conducted by The Pampered Chef, 84 percent of Americans said they're making changes to help save money and relieve financial burdens for their families. Two of the primary changes consumers say they're considering include how they can feed their family for less and padding budgets by bringing in supplemental income.

With this in mind, The Pampered Chef has partnered with self-proclaimed "budget babe" Robyn Moreno, author of the newly-released book "Practically Posh: The Smart Girls Guide to a Glam Life," to offer expert insights and tips on how to lead a budget-friendly lifestyle.

"We're all feeling the pinch of the challenging economy," said Moreno. "But consumers don't have to panic, I've got simple tips to shrink spending, starting with the dinner table, and also have smart recommendations for earning more income."

Mealtime Solutions for $2 Per Person

Overwhelmingly, food-related expenses rose to the top of survey responses for cost-cutting activities. More than half (52%) said they try only to buy groceries on sale or for which they have coupons; 44 percent now buy less food or fewer items when shopping for dinner. But consumers don't have to scrimp if they're smart about shopping. According to Moreno, planning complete meals in advance is one step towards ensuring grocery expenses don't get out of hand.

Families can start with a week's worth of NEW, affordable recipes, available for free on From Creamy One-Pot Pasta to White Chicken Chili and Asian Pork and Noodle Skillet, the dishes are hearty and use a variety of fresh ingredients. At around $2 per serving to feed a family of six, these options are budget-friendly, offering a low-cost dinner that can be ready in 30 minutes or less.(2) A cost of around $2 per serving is a welcome surprise to the nearly seven in ten (67%) Americans who thought it would cost $5 or more per person to feed their families a hearty meal.

Once a dinner plan is in place, Moreno says shoppers can check grocery store circulars and Web sites to find the best deals, and also look for coupons before they hit the market. She recommends avoiding other budget-breaking traps by keeping three of her favorite tips in mind:

-- Double Up On a Deal: Double low-cost recipes to ensure there are leftovers, which can be used for affordable lunches the next day or later in the week. Or, consider freezing them for a future meal.

-- Home Body: Be realistic about your schedule, if you are not going to be home for dinners, don't over-buy perishable foods at the grocery store. Fresh produce is expensive and goes to waste if it isn't consumed in a few days. If you're not sure of your schedule, buy canned items that can be stored.

-- In-Store Savings: Don't fall for convenient packaging, like resealable bags of cheese or pre-portioned snacks. It's usually less expensive to look for items that are sold in bulk and then divvy them up yourself using snack bags or freezer bags to store portions not used immediately.

Earning Extra Income

Saving money by shaving expenses is only one way consumers are looking to ease their financial concerns; more than one third (35%) of Americans have either taken or researched getting a second job. However, according to The Pampered Chef's survey, they cite the need for flexibility (38%), unwillingness to spend much more time away from family (29%), not having money to invest in a business (26%) and uncertainty in where to start looking (26%) as just a few of the reasons that prevent people from finding a source for a second income. But, there's a solution that can tackle each of those concerns.

"I've explored a lot of earning opportunities and direct sales companies like The Pampered Chef offer a good way to earn extra income, especially for people who need to control their schedules," says Moreno. "As an entrepreneur, you're your own boss. But, while flexibility is important, what I really like is that the earning potential of direct sales is in proportion to the effort put into it. You can't say that about most careers."

With people choosing to cook more frequently at home versus dining out - 70 percent according to the study - a direct sales career as a Pampered Chef Consultant is very relevant in today's economy. Consultants conduct Cooking Shows where they teach guests how to feed their families conveniently and affordably using multipurpose tools to create easy recipes. Plus, they're a fun way to gather family and friends and offer solutions that make busy lives easier.

Getting started can be a cinch. A Pampered Chef business requires little investment - for just $155 a new Consultants kit includes a selection of high-quality products and business materials valued at more than $500. Consultants also get training to help their new businesses be successful, including interactive Web courses, videos, national and local sales meetings and other materials.

"Anyone can do direct selling," says Moreno. "Whether you're a stay-at-home mom, a college kid, a former executive or have a full-time career, it's an easy, fun way to boost your budget."

To learn more about The Pampered Chef, download the new $2 recipes, shop a collection of essential kitchen tools, or sign up to become a Consultant, please visit:

About The Pampered Chef(R)

The Pampered Chef, founded in 1980 by Doris K. Christopher and now part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of businesses, is the premier direct seller of high quality kitchen tools. At in-home cooking demonstrations, called Cooking Shows, guests see products and recipes in action, learn quick and easy food preparation techniques and receive tips on how to entertain with style and ease -- transforming the simple to the spectacular. For more information call 1-800-266-5562 or visit The Pampered Chef is a registered trademark.

(1) Omnibus survey of 1,000 consumers, ages 18 and over., conducted by independent research firm Wakefield in Oct. 2008

(2) Prices are estimated and vary regionally.