My Goodwill Finds

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I hate selfies. Like, HATE selfies. And I even hate the hand on your hip look, but it does make you look skinner. And I like looking skinnier. Just wanted to get all that out there before even starting the post. ;)

 
I think I have a Goodwill addiction. 

 

Because my children have afternoon activities several days a week near a local Goodwill store, I happen to sneak it at least once (twice?) each week and am loving finding little treasures occasionally. I don’t buy very much when I go (and often leave empty-handed), but I’m loving having another easy way to save!

 

Here are a few of the fun things I’ve found the last few months. . . 

 

1) The orange sweater in the picture above: Lands End, $3.

2) The denim jacket in the pic above: Ann Taylor Loft, $5. (I have a denim jacket that I wear all the time that I paid $49 for at the Gap several years ago but it’s a very dark wash. I was thrilled to find this lighter one!)

(Note: I’m so fickle about what I like in clothing and have no sense of style at all – so for me shopping Goodwill for a few clothing items is a great way to change out styles without busting our clothing budget. I’ve probably only purchased 5 or 6 items at Goodwill so far and brought them home for a good washing before wearing, but I’ve bring pretty pleased with my finds!)

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3) These silver plated dishes, each $1. I’m hoping to fluff up our dining room for Christmas using silver and white along with fresh greenery from our yard, so I thought these would be a few fun additions.

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4) Maple ladderback chair, $2.50. It’s in pretty rough shape but I think a little wood glue can sturdy it up, and I’m not sure how I’ll refinish it. I like the basic color of it as it is (and a few folks have cringed as I’ve painted furniture recently), so I’m not quite sure how this one will end up. But, for $2.50 I couldn’t pass her by. ;)

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5) Wash basin stand, $6. This is the one I’m not so sure what I was thinking, and I very well may paint it to see how it fluffs up and then even try to sell it (even in a yard sale!) I thought it might be fun to add to our guest bedroom, and when I saw this almost exact one sold for $165 on Etsy I figured it was worth the chance. (This is definitely a replica piece so I won’t feel bad painting it one bit ~ and it may turn out okay in the guest room to hold towels if I can figure it out? We’ll see.)
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6) File Cabinet, $3. Okay, I really really really don’t like this one at all, but when we moved we left behind our office with built in filing cabinets, and my husband said we really needed at least something to get us through until we build new cabinets here. I’ve hemmed and hawed about how to set up my office and just haven’t figured it out yet, and with Christmas season fast approaching I know it’s not going to get settled on until next year. So, for $3 I can live with these, and we can at least organize some of our things that have been packed away in boxes. (I’m seriously thinking about painting it blue just so it makes me happier ~ but really, everything in my house can’t be covered in blue, right?)

 

So, there you have it. I promise we’ve got plenty of room for these items (I don’t want to start feeling like a bad episode of Hoarders!), and because I’m not emotionally tied to any of it I’ll be okay to donate it right back to Goodwill when they’re finished serving their purpose here.

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Have you found anything fun at Goodwill or other thrift stores recently? I’d love to hear about it – leave a comment to let me know! You can also see what I fluffed up last week at Goodwill ~ yup, I’m loving that store. ;)

 

 

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163 Christmas Ornaments For $50 (But Who’s Counting?)

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(These pictures do not do these items justice – I promise when they’re on the tree it’ll look so much better but I hurriedly took the pics with my iphone before the kids got home from school!)

Dollar Tree Christmas decorations are out in full force, and I scored big this week! I made a quick run in just to see what they had, and came out with a small Christmas haul. ;)

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Everything in our new home is very pale and neutral, and while I’ve loved our last Dollar Tree Christmas Tree, I knew those colors wouldn’t work here. I found this beautiful silver and white tree over on Pinterest, and am working towards switching over to those colors this year (while sticking to a budget!) A few days ago my sweet husband made the mistake of saying “I can’t wait to see how you’re going to decorate here this Christmas” which for me clearly meant “You get to buy anything you want to decorate as long as you don’t go really nuts.”;)

 

So, for a whopping $50, I scored ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THREE ORNAMENTS for our tree. I’m not quite sure where it’s going to go or what else we’ll need, but I’m thinking we’re already just about there! (We’ll also have our normal family tree, but this one’s my perfect little decorating tree – ’cause you just can’t get enough Christmas around here.)

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Here are a few fun things I noticed while shopping (all for $1, of course.) 

 

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(I love those reindeer!)

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Do you use Dollar Tree decorations at home on your tree? I’d love to hear your favorite finds – leave a comment to share!

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Simple Spooky Halloween Treats

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My friend Cathy shared these cute “spooky” snacks on her Facebook page, and I thought they were way too cute (and easy) so I had to share them with you! All you need is pretzel sticks and string cheese for the brooms, apples, peanut butter and marshmallows for the teeth, and mandarin oranges with a sharpie for the jack-o-lantern.

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I just loved these (and have all the items in my kitchen to surprise my kids with them after school today too.) You can also have fun making these cute Jack-O-Lantern Quesadillas - such fun simple treats to enjoy this Halloween!

Thanks so much for the smart idea Cathy – I love it! ;)  See more penny pinched recipe ideas over HERE.

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Michael’s: Save 70% Off Halloween & Fall Items

 

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Michaels is having a huge clearance sale on some fall and Halloween items, and there are so many fun items included in the sale! You can also save 50% off any one regularly priced item when you print your coupon over HERE. If you have any parties going on at your child’s school or other activities, this is an easy way to save!  Here’s a peek at what I found today . . .

 

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After clearance pricing $2.99

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Fall Berry Wreaths just $4.49

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Foam Capek kits just $.87

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Halloween Baking Supplies as low as $.59

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Halloween Crafting Kits just $2.69

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Halloween Baskets $2.99

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Fall Decor just $3.09

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Ashland Accents as low as $1-2 after 70% off sale

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Baskets on clearance 50% off – as low as $4-$5

And here are just a few fun finds I noticed in the dollar bins (love those!)

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Have you found any great deals on fall products at the craft stores? Leave a comment to share your finds!

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How My Seven-Year-Old’s Perspective Changed

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Good.ness.

 

Can I just promise you what a blessing giving is?

 

Last Friday night, as I was packing for a trip, my seven-year-old snuck around our closet and came across some hidden treasures for our Operation Christmas Child Shoebox. (Remember when I found a bunch of clearance items at Target last month to give? Yup, she found it too.)

 

Her eyes lit up, and she was so excited because she just knew she’d hit the new-toy-jackpot. I explained to her though that the treats weren’t for us, but rather for us to share with kids who might not have any Christmas without them.

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Oh my. That girl was mad.

 

She didn’t get it, and absolutely knew she was deserving of every trinket in the box. Honestly? She was a wee bit irate that none of it was for her. (And, honestly? I was a wee bit irate with her for not getting that she needed absolutely none. of. it.)

 

I stopped my packing, pulled her up in my arms, and tried to explain a little bit more about the program and who would be receiving those tiny gifts. (Even though we’ve filled Operation Christmas Child Boxes for years, she still needed the reminder.)

 

Then I grabbed my laptop, and we sat down in the middle of the floor of my closet and watched a few of the Operation Christmas Child videos.

 

My girl’s heart changed. completely.

 

I encouraged her to separate the items into a few different boxes, and goodness, watching her expression soften and change to excitement for someone else’s gift melted this momma’s heart.

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“They’re gonna love our stuff,” she said.

 

“I’m glad that I’m helping this year,” came next.

 

And finally “My heart just feels so happy right now momma.” 

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She then decided to spend a little of her own money to buy them a few extra gifts this year. ;)

 

Folks, I have no idea where your finances are at right now, but if you’re in a place where you do have some extra to give, I encourage you to find just the right place to share this year. Whether it be packing a box with your kids for Operation Christmas Child, donating to a local food pantry, or even just giving of your time to help someone in need, you will be blessed more than the one you’re giving to will. Promise.

 

As a family we’ve struggled a bit recently with gratitude, and there’s nothing like giving to someone else in need to completely change our perspective. And, while I think traveling on mission trips to share the good news with others is wonderful, I also believe there are seasons in our lives when there is simply so much good we can do right here at home. With the power of the internet, our children can get a glimpse of ways to give abundantly to those who live in a completely different world than our own.

 

Looking for more posts like this? Here you go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Items I Was Surprised To Find At Aldi

 

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I made a quick run to Aldi today, and was pretty surprised that they carried quite a few items I didn’t know they had! I’ve always picked up fresh produce and string cheese there (they consistently have the best price on string cheese), but there were some new items that caught my eye today.  Here were the things I noticed that you may have missed too . . .

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1. K-Cups priced at $4.99/12 or $.41 each (compare to $.31 per K-Cup at Amazon)

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2. Lots of gluten free options (LOTS!)

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3. Coconut Oil (great price!)

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4. Organic Cereal (Simply Nature Organic Walnut or Tropical Mango Passion $1.99 per box) as well as quite a bit of Organic Produce (I haven’t priced it to be sure this is a great deal compared to your local grocery store ~ I would love to hear your thoughts on it if you normally shop organic)

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5. Whole Wheat Flour ($2.29 – I forgot to take a picture!) and spices/seasonings (I actually knew this one, but didn’t want you to miss it – they have tons for just $.99 which is a great way to save!)

 

What other items do you purchase at Aldi that help your family save? I would love to hear them ~ it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been to Aldi so I was thrilled to stock up on whole wheat flour and fresh produce easily this week. Love that store! ;)
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$2.50 Goodwill Chair Makeover

 

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Goodwill Chair Makeover

Oh my.

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I have never (ever?) been so in love with a $2.50 purchase.

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If you ever (EVER) come across a chair for $2.50, I expect you to buy it. Not cute enough for you? You can send it right on over to me.

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I’ll even pay the shipping. (Ummm, let me know though first.) ;)

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When I saw this chair at Goodwill a few weeks ago for $2.50, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. The lines were pretty basic, it was solid (legs were all in good shape), so I snuck it home in my trunk. (My poor husband – he doesn’t ever complain about my garbage day finds but I do think he wonders what on earth I’m thinking some days!)

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(I found the cute poof yesterday at TJMaxx on clearance for $32 – I think it was worth it for extra seating by our fireplace when it gets cold outside!)
 

And, since I’d made a few donations at Goodwill that day I had a coupon for 10% off my purchase, making the grand total on the cost of my chair just $2.25. (Seriously, how awesome is that?)

 

So, I let it sit for a few weeks in my car, finally brought it in and set it in our kitchen, and this morning at 8:15 pulled out my Annie Sloan paint. (Remember the piano I painted a few weeks ago? That meant I didn’t even pay extra for more paint. Love. that.)

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Because I didn’t think you’d believe me, I even included some pictures of our clock so you could see just how fast this project went. I started just before 8:15, was finished by 9:00, and fluffed it up a bit in time to share these pictures with you.

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(I have next to no patience at all, so I couldn’t wait to finish!)

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All I did to prepare it was sand down the rough spots a bit, then layered two coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint. I still need to add some wax to finish it off, but wanted to let it dry for a day before adding that in.

 

img_0088The chalk paint was a little pricey (read more HERE), but after using dozens of cans to spray paint items at home I think in the long run it may be your best bet. One small can has worked a ton for me, and I still have probably half a can left.

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Seriously, never (ever!) underestimate the beauty behind a Goodwill or thrift store find. You may not find something fun like this every time you shop, but every once in awhile you come upon something just perfect!

 

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(Goodness, I keep moving it to different spots and love it everywhere I see it ~ amazing what a little $2.50 happy will do!) ;)

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(I also fell in love with this wreath yesterday at TJMaxx – it reminds me of cotton in Alabama when it blew everywhere each fall!)

 

Have you found anything fun recently at Goodwill or a local thrift store? I’d love to hear what’s been fluffed up this fall in your home ~ I love hearing from you!

Join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Free Boo Printables: You’ve Been Boo’ed!

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 Free Boo Printables

My friend Cheryl put together the most fun free printable for you all todayIf you have kids, I’m betting you already “boo” in your neighborhood, but if not, this is a great year to start.

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Visit your local Target or Dollar Tree dollar bins and grab a few fun items to share with your neighbors, then “boo” them by sneaking a treat at their front door. This is one of our children’s favorite Halloween activities (they love picking which neighbor gets the surprise!)  Go HERE to download your free “Boo” printable today, and share with your friends too. Happy Haunting!

 

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I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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College Care Packages {From The Dollar Bins}

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Here’s just the simplest little fluffing, because I can’t seem to manage painting a piano or wallpapering a bathroom every week like I’d like! ;)

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We have four nieces and nephews in college, in the military, and in their first apartment, and I try to send out a little care package twice a year. It’s so easy to let these get pretty pricey, but thanks to some coupon savings and a few Target and Michael’s Dollar Bin finds, I can usually score a deal or two!

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I went to Michael’s yesterday (who have my favorite dollar/bargain bins ever, which a PPP reader also told me worked with the current 25% off coupon), and grabbed everything above for less than $3. (WOW!)

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I’d also purchased the items above at the Target Dollar Bins a few weeks ago (except for the M&Ms)IMG_9816

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My total spent on each package was less than $5 (I even included some free shaving creme from Kroger’s sale a few weeks ago and a 25¢ Cadbury Egg from Walgreenssacrifice I tell you),
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And now just have to pop them in the mail.

Sending college kids free samples also is a great way to surprise them with a treat – it’s amazing how those little free samples really add up, and just by adding a few items from your stockpile you can easily send a fun and frugal care package!

Have you come up with fun ways to surprise someone special recently? I’d love to hear about it! You can also check out how I made a few teacher gifts using items from the Dollar Tree ~ love it!
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

 

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Five Ways To Feed Your Family For Less (Even Without Coupons)

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I made a quick run to Kroger yesterday to pick up our groceries for the week, and was again reminded of just how important it is to really shop strategically whether I have a bunch of coupons or not. I literally only used two coupons on this trip, but my family’s grocery bill for our entire week of meals and snacks was just $66 – here’s what I bought:

Bought 2 Kroger Cereal Bars $1.67

Bought 1 Kroger Grahams $2

Bought 1 Kroger Whip Topping $2.19

Bought 4 Kroger Betty Crocker Cake Mixes $.94, used $1/4 Betty Crocker Cake Kroger ecoupon

Bought 2 Turkey Hill Ice Creams $2.50 (regularly over $5!), used $1/1 Turkey Hill Ice Cream (could also use $1/2 Turkey Hill Ice Cream)

Bought 1 Kroger Pudding Cups $.89

Bought 1 Kroger Fruit Bowl $1.99

Bought 1 Kroger Cheese $3.79

Bought 1 Kroger Private Selection Cheese $1.99 after Buy 4 Private Selections Save $1

Bought 7 Kroger Private Selection Yogurts $.39 after Buy 4 Private Selections Save $1

Bought 1 Kroger Hot Dog Buns $1

Bought 1 Kroger Softsoap $1, used $.35/1 coupon from the 9/14 Smart Source insert

Bought 1 Kroger Turkey Breast $3

Bought 4 loaves and buns Kroger Whole Wheat Private Selection Bread $.99 after after Buy 4 Private Selections Save $1

Bought White Rain Hair Spray $1.29

Bought 2 lbs Bananas $.55/lb $1.11

Bought Bag Potatoes $2

Bought 2 Kroger Tomatoes $1.09

Bought 2 Ball Park Franks $2.99

Bought Cannelini Beans $1

Bought Kroger Condensed Soup $1

Bought Kroger Sour Cream $1.69

Bought Kroger Beans $.69

Bought 3 gallons skim milk $2.77

Bought Carrots $1.49

Bought 2 pounds grapes $1.69/lb.

  • Paid $66.63 after coupons for 1 weeks worth of groceries

 

 

So, if you’re a big couponer you’re probably not all that impressed with my deals (although that Turkey Hill Ice Cream savings was pretty exciting!) But, if you’re a regular mom who just needs to learn more about how to easily save on your groceries each week, here are five ways to easily save.

 

(I’m all about easy – aren’t you?) ;)

 

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1. Watch the price per ounce.

I needed a few cans of tomatoes for this Pasta Fagioli recipe, but didn’t have any coupons with me. The “sale” price on the Del Monte were $1 per can, while the every day price of the Kroger brand was $.69! My family will never know that I dumped Kroger brand tomatoes instead of Del Monte into Mrs. Potts, but I saved 30% off the “sale price” on the National brand without clipping a coupon.

 

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2. Look for in-store sales.

Through tonight Kroger is having a huge Private Selection sale where you can try out their “fanc-i-fied” store brands for a sale price, AND $1 extra off when you purchase four participating items. I love a fancy roll when making hamburgers or grilled chicken sandwiches at home, and to get them for $.99 (the same as the inexpensive low-end store brand) was an incredible deal so I stocked up.

 

They also had their whole wheat loaves on sale for $.99 after special savings, so I’ve stocked my freezer. This was a huge savings, and didn’t require clipping a single coupon!

 

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3. Stock up on produce seasonally along with a sale.

My kids love fresh fruit, so I almost always purchase a bag of apples, some bananas, and at least one other fruit to last us through the week. This week grapes were on sale for $1.69/lb. which is a little more than I like to pay, but I know they’ll eat through them, and it’s a healthier alternative to other snack foods!

And, just by looking around I noticed that while the Granny Smith Apples were $3.99/3 lb bag, Paula Red Apples were on sale for just $2.49. My kids thankfully like them all, so I bought the Red Apples and saved $1.50, without a coupon in sight.

 

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4. Use a coupon when you can. ;)

If you have just five minutes before shopping, scroll through the deals for your favorite store here on PPP and see if there’s a deal or two worth grabbing. I literally spent 3 minutes looking through the Kroger updates, knew that I could get a good price on Turkey Hill Ice Cream and Soft Soap, and saved an extra $5 for about three minutes of effort. I’m thinking that’s almost $100 as an hourly rate, and is totally worth it for me!

5. Menu plan, menu plan, menu plan (and make a thorough list before you shop.)

Odds are every time you set foot in the grocery store for “just one item” you find an extra three (or four or five) items to purchase. By having a menu plan and grocery list in place and really considering what your family needs for the entire week, you’ll save a bundle on those little “extra” trips to the store.

 

Be sure to look over your family’s weekly schedule before you  head out.  If you have snack duty for your child’s school, a special get together or anything else that will require extra food, add those items to the list and limit your grocery stops as much as possible. AND, before you head out always shop your own kitchen first - I realized I already had all the meat, chicken, and pasta that I would need this week at home, so I saved by using what I’d stocked up on earlier, when those items were at stock up prices!

 

 

Your turn now! Do you have any tips on how to really reduce your out of pocket expenses even when you aren’t using a ton of coupons? Coupon savings are the most fun for sure, but I’ll take spending just $66 on a week’s worth of meals whenever I can.

 

 

New to budgeting and don’t know where to begin? Here are a few posts to you get started:

 

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