5 Reasons You Need to Get an Amazon Prime 30-Day Trial NOW

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If you’ve been considering signing up for an Amazon Prime 30-Day Trial – now is the absolute BEST TIME in the whole year to do it.

Not later on this month.  Not sometime before Christmas…

THIS.  WEEK.

Why?

Folks, Black Friday is coming, Lightning deals are coming, Cyber Monday is coming – it’s all about to hit and I want you to be able to save some serious money during these sales!

5 Reasons to Get an Amazon Prime 30-Day Trial NOW

****NOTE****If you’ve already done your trial and are waiting for the membership fee to drop – don’t miss this!!

Amazon announced Wednesday they will offer a 1-DAY discount on Prime memberships TODAY, 11/17/16.  For only 24 hours the cost of a 1-year Amazon Prime subscription will drop from $99 to just $79!

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1 . FREE 2-Day Shipping

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered last minute gifts and the Amazon Prime 2-Day shipping saved the day.  As we start getting closer and closer to Christmas – this will come in SO handy to put presents under the tree and send gifts to family around the country.

That’s why now is the BEST time to get a 30-Day Free trial – from now until a week before Christmas you’ll be scoring free shipping on just about anything you could possibly be shopping for!

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2 . Cheap 1 -Day Shipping

For only $3.99, Amazon Prime members can upgrade to 1-Day Shipping.  (The cost for non-members is $9.95.)  In my opinion, that’s pretty reasonable for 1-Day delivery!

Plus if you live in select cities around the country – you may actually qualify for same-day delivery, which is just nuts!  Those lucky ducks can get things delivered by 9pm (isn’t that incredible, really?)

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3 . Early Access to Lightning Deals

Amazon shoppers who are Prime members will also get a 30-minute early access to select lightning deals.

Additionally, certain Amazon sales are ONLY available to Prime Members – you don’t want to miss those with all the Black Friday and Holiday Deals about to hit!

You can find out more about Amazon Lightning Deals and Black Friday sales in general in my post 5 Secrets to Shopping Amazon on Black Friday.

 

 

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4 . Books, Movies and Music Streaming

Kids will be taking a break from school, family will be visiting, and some of us will be traveling.

It’s a great time to use the Free Kindle library, stream movies and tv with Amazon Instant, or make a holiday playlist on Prime Music.  Check out the selection of great movies and shows here!

 

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5 . Convenience!!

I’m telling you guys – I use Amazon for just about everything – it helps this busy momma stay sane sometimes!

Save yourself trips to the store for just about ANYTHING with Amazon Prime.  It makes a crazy time of year a little bit less crazy – because there is such a wide variety of things you need at your fingertips. (And they all come right to your door!)

Grab extra cookie sheets for holiday baking, or a new turkey-roasting pan.

Restock on pantry items like paper towels and dishwasher detergent.

Even schedule in a Christmas movie night and the popcorn to go with it!

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Check out my weekly post here on how to get an Amazon Prime Pantry Box filled with good deals and shipped for free 🙂

 

 

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Not sure if Amazon Prime is worth the money? Go HERE to make an informed decision, but if you’re even thinking about it, remember it’s on sale 11/18/16 for 24 hours only. Love that! 

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See more Amazon Deals, and remember when you subscribe and save to 5 or more items in one month, you’ll also save an additional 15% on all of your subscribe and save purchases.

 

 

This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure policy to learn more.

Join Amazon Prime for one month free – Watch Over 40,000 Movies for free plus get free shipping on thousands of items

 

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The Ultimate Aldi, Costco, Sam’s, Target, Walmart Baking Price Comparison Sheet (Christmas Edition)

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I’m so stinkin’ excited about this! My friends Cheryl and Shannon did an incredible job putting together this Ultimate Aldi, Costco, Sam’s, Target & Walmart price comparison cheat sheet so you never pay too much this Christmas season for your baking supplies.

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They’ve priced everything you’ll need as you’re baking this Christmas season, including sugar and butter, chocolate chips and eggs, flour, baking soda and more.


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Honestly? I was shocked at the results. I would never have thought Sam’s, Costco and Aldi would be so much lower than some of the other stores are certain items, but they were.

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Now, these prices don’t take sales into account, so if Target or Walmart drops the prices on these during a special sale you may get a better price at those stores. But, hopefully this gives you a good idea of how to get the best price, so you never (ever!) pay too much!

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Go HERE to download your free copy, and be sure to share with your friends to help make their shopping easier too! 

 

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How Much Do Real Families Budget For Christmas?

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A friend of mine once asked: “How much do real families budget for Christmas gifts for their children?”

 

Yikes.

 

If there was ever a question I didn’t want to get into at Christmas, that would be the one. 

 

It did get me thinking though—and after sixteen Christmas mornings with a few of the cutest kids running around our home, our family has learned a thing or two.

 

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1. Decide when your children are young what Christmas will look like for your family.

 

Goodness, I wish I could tell every momma of a one-year-old that they simply don’t need to spend more than $20 (at the very most!) on that little one.

 

Babies have as much fun with the boxes as they do the actual presents . . . and my bet is a few family members will add a bundle of gifts to their Christmas treasures.

 

By choosing to purchase less when they’re little, you’re paving the way for your child’s future expectations.

 

If you shell out $500 in gifts to a four-year-old, just imagine what their expectations will look like when they’re fourteen.

 

Start simply.

 

Be different.

 

Determine when your kids are young that Christmas will be about more than dozens of gifts under the tree.

 

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2. As your children get older, continue to keep it simple.

Remember the thirty-two bins of toys you hauled to the thrift store last summer?

 

That may have been because your kids simply received a few too many gifts on Christmas morning.

 
Instead, choose a few items that your child will love and let the rest go. Before making a single purchase, consider if the gift will end up in the bottom of the toy bin in a week or two.

 

If so, your child probably doesn’t need it to begin with.

 

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3. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. (Really.)

Be okay with doing things differently.

 

Inevitably, on Christmas day when neighbor kids race outside with Christmas treasures, my kids have occasionally felt a wee bit disappointed.

 

“Why did Santa like them better than me?” 

 

That, folks, especially with young children, is a tough one.

 

Our answer has been that Santa checks with parents before he hands out the Christmas gifts, and since our children know we choose to live differently, they seem satisfied with our answer.

 

(And trust me, if you saw our home, you’d have no doubt that our kids have plenty.)

 

Rather than trying to make Christmas special for your child by keeping up with someone else, encourage them to make Christmas special for another child. 

  • Adopt an Angel Tree child and let your kid choose gifts for them.
  • Donate food to a local food drive and let your child help do the shopping.
  • Fill an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox to send to children who may get nothing else this Christmas.

 

And on Christmas morning, be the parent who plops down on the floor to help build that new Lego set. (Your undivided attention will be more valuable to your child than any Christmas gift. I promise!)

 

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4. Christmas will change as your family changes.

What Christmas morning looks like this year in our home is different than what it looked like fifteen years ago.

 

Our finances have changed and our kids have changed, so we’ve made adjustments along the way.

 

For Christmas this year, we’ll spend around $125 on my nine-year-old, thanks to some incredible deals I’ve scored shopping early (and she will have plenty).

 

Christmas for my sixteen-year-old will look a little different, though, and he’ll probably get a few things he needs, in addition to some fun gifts. (Gifts for a sixteen-year-old just cost more. I haven’t figured out a way around that!)

 

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5. No matter their ages, set a budget for each child’s Christmas.

 

Don’t be tempted by a last-minute deal to fill up space underneath the tree. Instead, decide your limits ahead of time, and stick to them this year.
Don’t go beyond your budget to make Christmas special for your children.

 

Instead, make Christmas by creating lifelong memories, choosing unique gifts just for your kids, and making your home just the place your children want to be on Christmas morning. 

 

Especially if your children are little, think small because that sets the expectation for the next year.

 

Determine to make Christmas special by enjoying family traditions, and know that the choices you make today pave the way toward financial freedom in the future.

 

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5 Secrets to Black Friday Shopping at Kohl’s

5 Secrets to Black Friday Shopping at Kohl’s

 

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Can you believe we’re almost at Black Friday?

(Eeek!  I’m not quite ready yet!)

Black Friday at Kohl’s is one of my favorite sales of the year – seriously – there are just so many good deals.

But, you can spend a bundle if you’re not sure how to really take advantage of the sales out and about. Here are a few awesome secrets to Black Friday shopping at Kohl’s that can help you save BIG on the big day ~ let’s get started?

5 Secrets to Black Friday Shopping at Kohl’s

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1. Kohl’s Cash

I love, love, LOVE Black Friday Kohl’s Cash, because instead of the regular $10 per $50 purchase – we earn $15 for every $50 purchase!

And guys – DON’T FORGET!!!  You’ll also actually earn Kohl’s Cash also on a $48 purchase! (Really.)

Per the Kohl’s FAQ:

I only spent $48, why did I receive Kohl’s Cash?

If you make a purchase within $2 of the Kohl’s Cash® earned criteria, you will receive Kohl’s Cash®. For example, if you place an order of $48, we will round that purchase up to $50 and distribute $10 Kohl’s Cash®.

How cool is that?

***Don’t forget to sign up for Yes2You Rewards as well – where you’ll earn an extra $5 on every $100 spent 🙂

 

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2.  Prep for the Best Doorbusters!

Kohl’s Doorbusters are valid in store and online at Kohls.com through 1 pm on Friday.  They are limited quantity items – so you’ll want to Browse the Ad and make a mental note of what’s top priority for you.

A few things to be on the lookout for:

 

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3 . Kohls.com Starts Black Friday on MONDAY

If you want to get your Black Friday shopping done BEFORE the craziness begins, shop ONLINE!

Kohls.com is starting their Black Friday Sale hours on Monday Nov. 21 this year – and all the doorbusters will be live at that time for online shoppers.

If you prefer the traditional Black Friday experience – then you can start shopping in stores on Thursday Nov. at 6pm (in most locations).

 

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4 . FREE Kitchen Appliances!

Every Black Friday Kohl’s wows us with some crazy deals on Kitchen Appliances.  Normally we see a selection of appliances for $4.99 each after Rebate and here’s the fun deal scenario we usually end up posting:

Buy (3) Toastmaster Kitchen Appliances for $16.99 each = $50.97
– Get back $15 in Kohl’s Cash for spending above $50
– Send in for (3) $12 Rebates
Like paying NOTHING for all three appliances!!

 

Guys – that’s insane right??

Please note, this Toastmaster rebate doesn’t start until Nov. 24 – so we early online shoppers will just have to sit on our hands until then 🙂

 

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5 . Stack Codes for Extra Big Savings

There will be a few codes that you can stack during the Kohl’s Black Friday Sale – and we already know a couple of them:

SAVING15 will get you 15% OFF during the Black Friday Sale – however, if you sign up for a Kohl’s Charge, you’ll receive a code for 30% OFF instead.

We’re likely to see other department-specific codes (toys or home) as well – but don’t worry.  Stay tuned to PPP for the best Kohl’s Black Friday Deal scenarios! (Even better – sign up for new Hot Deal Text Alerts to stay in the loop on the extra-awesome deals).

 

Do you have any favorite tips for Black Friday Shopping at Kohl’s?  I’d love to hear them! 

 

 

The Ultimate Black Friday Cheat Sheet 2016

Looking for more ways to SAVE on Black Friday?

 

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Ultimate Black Friday Cheat Sheet 2016

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It’s here it’s here it’s here!!!

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Hurry over HERE to download your free copy of our complete Black Friday 2016 Cheat Sheet ~ this will make your Black Friday planning a breeze, and you’ll know exactly what’s on sale where. Go HERE to check it out!

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5 Secrets to Shopping Black Friday on Amazon

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Shopping Black Friday on Amazon can be really rewarding – but it can also be super confusing.  There are Gold Box deals, Lightning Deals, Early Access Deals – and it doesn’t help that every year they change up their strategy just a smidge…

Well don’t let it stress you out!

If you need a little help figuring out the maze of deals – I’m here to help you prep for the big day! 🙂

Check out my favorite tips below to learn how to navigate Amazon’s Black Friday sales and bring home the best deals.

5 Secrets to Shopping Black Friday on Amazon

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1 . Check out Amazon Early Black Friday Sales

Believe it or not – Amazon has already begun some of their Black Friday specials with new deals every 5 minutes.  Now they’re not all that special yet – but you can check it out for yourself.

See all the Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week sales here.

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2 . Join Amazon Prime (at least for the 1-Month Trial!)

You guys – seriously – this is the BEST. TIME. TO. GET. PRIME.

I love using Amazon Prime all the time (it just makes my life easier) – but even if I didn’t use it the rest of the year I would DEFINITELY use it during the month of November!

Not only is the fast & free shipping so helpful for Holiday shopping – but Amazon Prime members get *special treatment* on Black Friday.

Prime Members get access to lightning deals 30 minutes before the general public.

The good news is – you don’t even have to make that $99/year commitment to get Prime for Black Friday!

Sign up for a 30-Day Free Trial of Amazon Prime and enjoy all the perks for the whole month of November. 🙂

Thinking about buying a Prime Membership?  Check out my post to see more of my favorite Amazon Prime benefits here.

3 . Browse the Upcoming Deals & Set Reminders

The best way to make sure you get in on a good lightning deal is to browse through the upcoming deals, add the item to your cart, and set yourself a reminder to come back and purchase when it begins.

It’s a bit of a hassle, but taking a few moments each morning to check it out could really pay off if you’re shopping for a TV, Kitchenaid Mixer, video game system or some other high-dollar item.

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4 . Watch Amazon ALL Black Friday Week

There’s just no way around it!

Amazon can be a little bit unpredictable about when they’ll release the next *HOT* deal on a popular item – so keep checking in throughout the week of Black Friday.

 

Or save yourself the hassle, because I’ll be watching it for you!  Just stay connected in one of the following ways:

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5 . Use CamelCamelCamel

One of my very favorite tips is an oldie – but a goodie!

Use camelcamelcamel.com to see a price history of items on Amazon – this way you always know if you’re getting a deal.

Just copy and paste the URL from the item you’re looking at on Amazon into their browser to find out the lowest price that item has sold for.

What I love about this is you can see the highest price, the lowest price, and exactly when it’s dropped in price so you’re guaranteed to know what to expect the best price on each item to drop.

Genius. 

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A couple more things to expect out of Amazon Black Friday Sales:

Amazon Products Will be on Sale

Waiting around for an awesome deal on a Kindle Fire, or a Fire TV Stick?  Expect Amazon’s popular products to be on sale on Black Friday – items like Kindles, Fire TV Stick, Echo, and Alexa.

Amazon Will Be Price Matching

If you see a hot deal on an item at a big retailer like Walmart or Target – you can bet Amazon saw it too, and will most likely be matching it.

For more Black Friday Shopping tips – you may want to check out this post:

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10 Stores to Shop Black Friday (That May Surprise You!)
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10 Stores You Need To Shop Black Friday (This May Surprise You!)

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10 Stores You Need To Shop Black Friday

 

We all know Black Friday can mean craziness as a retail shopper, but there are a few stores that are totally worth shopping on Black Friday.

 

The trick?

 

You don’t have to really shop them on Black Friday.

 

Or . . . you can shop at home in your jammies.

 

Here are the 10 stores I’ll never  miss on Black Friday, even though you’ll never catch me in a brick and mortar store on the big day. 

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{This was the 2015 ad}

1. CVS.

Oh. my. word. 

This store makes my heart just so happy as you can save a bundle with their Black Friday, but the sales actually start the Sunday BEFORE Black Friday.

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I scored everything above last year for just a few pennies, and shopped Sunday right after church.

I love that!

 

2. Rite Aid

Just like CVS, Rite Aid offers crazy good deals on Black Friday as well.

 

If you want to know exactly where the best deals are at Rite Aid this year on Black Friday, head on over HERE, and we’ll keep you posted here on PPP as we see those deals pop up too.

 

(Take a peek at Rite Aid’s 2015 Black Friday Ad to see what to expect.)

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3. Kohl’s.

I will not shop in store at Kohl’s on Black Friday ever.

 

Did you hear me?

 

Never.

 

Ever. Never. Neveeerrrr will you find me at Kohl’s on Black Friday (and honestly, any other retail stores.)

 

But. 

 

I guarantee I’ll shop Kohl’s online on Black Friday for sure. 

 

In fact, I’ll start shopping Kohl’s Black Friday sales on Monday, 11/21/16 when they start heating up (go HERE to learn more.) 

 

The deals are just as good, and awesome bloggers (like me!) 🙂 spend the whole day hunting down savings tips for you.

 

So you can shop at home in your pjs.

 

I hereby give you permission.

 

There is no need at all to race to Kohl’s to get all the good deals.

 

Just come hang out with me on Black Friday. 🙂

 

And honestly – all week leading up to Black Friday. 

 

You’re welcome. 

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4. Walmart.

Like Kohl’s, I never shop Walmart on Black Friday.

 

Well, I never shop in store at Walmart on Black Friday.

 

But, you can guarantee I shop Walmart online a ton for the best deals for sure.

 

And, I’ll be sure to share those with you too ~ sign up for daily emails so you never miss those savings.

 

5. The craft stores.

JoAnn, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby do offer some pretty incredible deals on Black Friday (Michael’s is usually my favorite, with JoAnn’s coming in in second place.)

 

If you’re courageous enough to venture out to the stores Black Friday these would be my one pick to shop if you’re a crafter, so they just might be worth the work to get to.

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6. Target.

Target offers some crazy deals Black Friday, but just like all the other retailers, you can totally enjoy those savings from home. And, if you have a Target Red Card, you’ll get free shipping + 5% off your entire order. Love that!

 

7. Macy’s

Similar to Kohl’s, Macy’s offers some crazy fun savings on Black Friday. Definitely watch for big savings on kitchen gadget, high end clothing, and cute boots.

And, if you purchase any item in the Beauty department at Macy’s (look for Burts Bees products priced at $3 as a perfect stocking stuffer), you’ll get free shipping too. 

n Amazon, so you always know if you’re getting a deal.

 

 

8. Best Buy.

Best Buy is pretty competitive on Black Friday offers, and you can save a bundle  . . . again . . . and still shop from home. While they do have great deals in store, if you keep up with online deals you should be able to save just as much without battling the crowds.

9. JC Penney

JCPenneys always offers fantastic savings on clothing during Black Friday, and has some of the best deals you’ll see Black Friday, including savings up to 68% (the highest in the industry).

 

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10. Amazon.

Amazon undoubtedly is my favorite place to shop Black Friday, because they just make it easy. While sales tend to go fast on Amazon, if you start early on Black Friday you can knock out most of your shopping, and have the advantage of of using the internet to make sure you’re getting the very best deal.

n Amazon, so you always know if you’re getting a deal.

 

My very favorite tip is to check out camelcamelcamel.com to do a price history check of whatever you’re purchasing on Amazon, so you always know if you’re getting a deal.

 

And, come hang out with the PPP team on Black Friday, and I promise we’ll have all the up-to-the-minute deals! Sign up for free daily email updates over HERE and never miss a deal. 🙂 

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n Amazon, so you always know if you’re getting a deal.

 

You can also sign up for FREE mobile text alerts from PPP of the very best deals.

Here’s how to sign up: 

  • Text Follow ppphotdeals to 40404
  • You’ll receive a message from Twitter that says “want to tweet? Welcome to Twitter! You’re now following @ppphotdeals and you’ll receive your Tweents on  your phone. (Std msg rates apply. Reply w/HELP for more.)
  • To STOP getting updates, just text Off ppphotdeals to 40404

Note that this will not be all of the deals – my thought is that it would be no more than five to ten texts per week, and most likely fewer (especially after the Christmas season is over.) Here are a few ideas of what I would consider “BEST” deals:

  • American Girl savings
  • HUGE Lego sale
  • 50% or more sale on Pyrex or Cooking items
  • Big sale on Kids ride on toys
  • Items that are high value but I know won’t last

This is run through Twitter, however you DON’T need a Twitter account to sign up (and you won’t be contacted by me through Twitter.) It’s just a program that easily lets me send you the deals, and hopefully will help you save on the hot items that sell out quickly!

Looking for complete Black Friday Ad Scans?

View more Black Friday ads at BlackFriday.Fm

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Also, watch for the Ultimate Black Friday 2016 Cheat Sheet coming out very soon (take a peek at the 2015 list over HERE.) Be sure to sign up for free daily penny pinching emails, and as soon as I have it ready you’ll be the first one to know. 🙂

Happy penny pinching!

 

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50 Ways To Make $20 Before Christmas

50 Ways To Make $20 Before Christmas {50x$20=1,000 earned}

With Christmas right around the corner, this is the perfect time of year to start saving some Christmas cash, so you can enjoy the Christmas season and January without extra bills too. And, if you’re willing to work a wee bit, I think you can totally fund your Christmas account, $20 at a time!

 

Here are a whopping 101 ways to make $10 before Christmas. (You can do this!)

 

$10 x 20 = $1,000 earned

Not too shabby right?

 

Let’s get started. 😉

 

Sell your stuff.

1. Garage sale – sell 20 items for $1 each.

Think of it as an everything’s $1 sale – if you have bigger stuff, sell it for more!

2. Head to the consignment store.

I recently made $70 in just two hours this way ~ just a few items can earn you $20 fast!

3. Sell a few items on Facebook.

Have a local Facebook group? Find a few things to sell in those.

4. Sell books on Amazon.

5. Sell electronics on Amazon.

6. Sell DVDs on Amazon.

Amazon makes it super easy to sell things on line – just type in what you’d like to sell, ship it to them (for free!), and get paid with an Amazon gift card. Easy!

7. Sell gift cards you won’t use.

Have gift cards you’ll never use? Visit Cardpool.com where you can sell your gift cards. You won’t get the full face value but you will get a decent rate, so this is a great way to save if you can’t use a gift card you’ve been given.

8. Sell plasma.

Honestly, this would be a tough one for me to do but is a great way to help someone in need and earn a little cash. Check out this article to learn more.

9. See if you have any money available from Unclaimed Property (I’ve had several readers find more than $100 there!)

10. Sell toilet paper rolls on eBay.

11. Or sell drink tabs on eBay.

12. Or even used tennis balls. (Who knew?)

13. Sell gold or silver. 

14. Help a friend and sell their stuff for them, and charge a small fee.

15. Upcycle a thrift store purchase and sell for more money.

Sell your services.

16. Babysit.

Have kids at home? Offer to babysit for a working mom to earn extra income.

17. Paint something.

Love painting? Charge $100 to paint a room – odds are someone else would love to have that project done for them, and it’s an easy way to learn some extra cash!

18. Offer to clean a house.

19. Do yard work.

Lots of folks have yard work that needs to be taken care of, especially in the fall. Offer to rake up some leaves, weed or mulch a flower bed, or plant a tree or two.

20. Walk a dog, or two.

Live in a neighborhood with many pets? Offer to walk your neighbors pets while they’re away at work each day.

21. Take online surveys or try out Swagbucks.

You won’t quickly earn $100 through online surveys, but each time you take a survey you can earn a dollar or two. The only site that I’ve consistently heard excellent reviews about is Pinecone Research ~ and don’t forget to take advantage of ways to earn for free on Swagbucks too!

22.  Go shopping.

If you shop regularly (and don’t have small children), you can sign up to be a mystery shopper at local stores in your area. Check out ways to earn as much as $25 per shopping trip over HERE.

23. Wrap gifts for someone.

24. Offer to decorate someone’s home for Christmas.

25. Bake homemade Christmas goodies for someone.

26. Grocery shop and menu plan for someone.

27. Take photos for someone.

28. Tutor someone who’s struggling in an area you’re good at.

 

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29 . Give music lessons.

30. Create a craft and sell on Etsy.

31. Offer to organize someone’s pantry and charge $20.

32. Substitute Teach

You can’t beat the hours on this one if you children are already school age

33. Start a blog –  Learn How I Make a Full Time Income as a Stay at Home Mom ~if you want to start one crazy inexpensively, use Bluehost as your host for just $3.95. (This one won’t earn you $20 fast, but if you’re willing to keep at it it can be well worth the time you invest.)

34. Submit Grocery Rebates – my favorites are Ibotta, Mobisave, Checkout 51

Get a seasonal job.

35. Drive – drive for Uber or work as a Delivery Driver

36. Get Paid to Shop & Search Online – Swagbucks, Ebates

37. Get Paid for Your Opinion – Try Pinecone Research

38. Sew 
If you can sew, offer to hem or alter something for a friend ~ people are always looking for these services, and $20 could add up quickly this way.

39. Evaluate Web Sites

Sites like User Test pay up to $10 each when you try out their products

40. Fix errors on Google

Learn more at Leap Force

50 Ways To Make $20 Before Christmas {50x$20=1,000 earned}

Save $20

Take a 5 day spending “fast”.

41. For 5 days don’t eat out.

42. For 5 days only eat what’s in the pantry.

43. For 5 days skip Starbucks, a movie, or even a Redbox rental.

We seriously cut back our expenses for one month, and it was amazing how much we saved simply by really focusing on trimming our budget as a family!

44. Skip meals out for 2 weeks.

45. Give up cable. (If you have Amazon Prime take advantage of their free movies instead.)

46. Skimp on your cell phone plan.

47. Cancel your landline if you don’t need it.

48. Call your internet provider and ask if you’re getting the best price. 

49. Give up your gym membership.

50. Save all your lose change until Christmas ~ easy way to find $20 without even missing it. 

What other ways can you think of to earn cash for Christmas? I’d love to hear them ~ leave a comment to share!

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Looking for more money saving tips? Here you go:

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7 Secrets to Shopping Trader Joe’s

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Do you shop Trader Joe’s? Trader Joe’s is a great option for unique items and quality food – but if you’re looking to save money too there are some secrets you need to know to have the best shopping experience.

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Here are 7 Secrets to Shopping Trader Joe’s you have to know before you walk through the doors . . . 

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Secrets to Shopping Trader Joes

1 . Trader Joe’s has no.
   Sales.
   EVER.

You heard right guys – Trader Joe’s doesn’t do any kind of sales, promotions or special store coupons – but they DO have great low prices on many staples, so grab those while your’e there.

 

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2 . You CAN use coupons at Trader Joe’s.

I love this!  Trader Joe’s does accept printed or clipped coupons just like a regular grocery store – so head on over to print out any coupons you might want before heading in to shop!  (Believe it or not there are more and more coupons popping up for organic products!)

 

 

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3 . Trader Joe’s house brands are awesome.

About 80% of Trader Joe’s products are in-house brands – they’re inexpensive and very comparable to leading brands.  Plus – Trader Joe’s clearly states that their house brands all adhere to the following:

  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • No synthetic colors
  • No MSG
  • No partially hydrogenated oils
  • Top 8 allergens will be listed under the “contains” statement on the label
  • Trader Joe’s accepts manufacturer coupons.

 

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4 . Trader Joe’s carries affordable organics.

Trader Joe’s is known for an impressive selection of organic options – at an affordable price.  For just about any item in the store, Trader Joe’s offers an organic option as well – and one that’s surprisingly reasonable.

 

 

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5 . Be careful with produce pricing.

The produce is plentiful and very affordable – but, watch out for those bananas!  I got excited when I first saw the 19¢ sign and assumed “per pound” – but really it’s per banana 🙂

 

 

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6 . Try before you buy.

Trader Joe’s lets you sample just about anything – just ask an employee. I’m not kidding – this is straight from the company folks.

With permission, Trader Joe’s will let you try just about anything you want BEFORE you buy it, with a few exclusions:

  • Things you have to prepare (like cake mix or pasta)
  • Liquor (but wine is allowed)
  • Frozen Items (Except ice cream)

If you don’t buy it, it will likely be offered for other customers to try at the sampling station – so it won’t go to waste.

 

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7 . Don’t miss Trader Joe’s money back guarantee.

Trader Joe’s has s very liberal return policy on anything that goes bad, or just isn’t to your liking.  Since they’re known for having fun and unique grocery items – this is a great policy to have to get folks to try new things!  From their website:

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Did you know that you can try the food and drink you buy at Trader Joe’s, risk free? It’s true. We’re sure the best way to figure out if you like something is to try it; so, that’s what we want you to do. Try out that exotic-sounding dish you’ve never tried before – we think you’re going to like. But if you don’t, you’re covered. Just bring back whatever you haven’t eaten and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked. It might sound like a food-lover’s fantasy, but for us it’s just the way we do business.

In the most simplest terms: Try it. We think you’ll like it. If you don’t, bring it back for a full refund

 

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What are some things you love/hate about Trader Joe’s?  Have you learned any tips while shopping there?  I’d love to hear your tricks – leave a comment to share!

 

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Would you like to save at more stores? Don’t miss these posts:

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101 Items To Buy at the Dollar Tree This Fall

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Getting ready for fall but don’t want to bust your budget? 

 

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Be sure to check out the Dollar Tree before heading somewhere else! Here are 101 items to buy at the Dollar Tree this Fall . . .

 

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For Halloween parties

  1. Halloween paper plates
  2. Halloween table cloths
  3. Halloween cups
  4. Halloween placemats
  5. Halloween candy molds
  6. Halloween treat bags
  7. Halloween paper straws
  8. Halloween plastic rings
  9. Halloween candy bags
  10. Halloween candy buckets
  11. Halloween creepy plastic creatures
  12. Halloween cookie cutters
  13. Plastic candy containers
  14. Fankenstein plastic cups with lids and straws for kids

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For Fall parties

  1. Fall plates
  2. Fall glasses
  3. Fall bowls
  4. Fall placemats
  5. Fall cookie cutters
  6. Aluminum baking dishes

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For Halloween decorating

  1. Glow sticks
  2. Felt pumpkin decorating kits
  3. LED strobe lights
  4. Silly string
  5. Pumpkin carving kit
  6. Helium balloons
  7. Halloween centerpiece
  8. “Fright” tape for Halloween yards
  9. Halloween paper lanterns
  10. Outdoor halloween decor
  11. Extension cords

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For Fall decorating & crafting

  1. Fake pumpkins
  2. Fall leaves
  3. Candles
  4. Candleholders
  5. Mason jars
  6. Scarecrows
  7. Fall ribbon
  8. Fall flowers
  9. Fall centerpiece
  10. Thanksgiving platter
  11. Metal wreath rings
  12. Grapevine wreaths
  13. Raffia
  14. Foam blocks
  15. Foam wreaths

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For costumes

  1. Princess tiara
  2. Princess wand
  3. Princess gloves
  4. Cheer pompoms
  5. Chef hat
  6. Chef apron
  7. Fairy wings
  8. Fairy skirts
  9. Feather boa
  10. Witches hat
  11. Witches broom
  12. Spider tattooes
  13. Fake nails
  14. Plastic necklaces
  15. Baton for baton twirling
  16. Hair ties
  17. Plastic rings
  18. Toy binoculars
  19. Cowboy hat
  20. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shell
  21. Ninja sword
  22. Ninja vest
  23. Camouflage hat
  24. Fake mustaches
  25. Light up swords
  26. Finger lights
  27. Spider tatoos
  28. Pet costumes
  29. Stuffed animals
  30. Poster board for costume
  31. Cardboard boxes if needed
  32. LED lightup necklaces
  33. Construction paper
  34. Tape
  35. Scissors
  36. Halloween makeup
  37. Makeup remover wipes 🙂

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For “boo” bags (print your free “you’ve been boo’ed” letter HERE)

  1. candy
  2. toy rings
  3. deck of cards
  4. coloring books
  5. glow sticks
  6. bubbles
  7. sidewalk chalk
  8. play-do
  9. yo-yo
  10. silly string
  11. fall craft kit

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Halloween Candy

 

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NOTE: Check the price on candy, some of the Dollar Tree prices can be high when you count per piece. For example, right now at Amazon you can get candy for a slow as 5¢ per piece ~ make sure you’re not paying more than that before buying!

  1. Tootsie Rolls
  2. Blow Pops
  3. Starburst
  4. Whoppers

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Miscellaneous Stuff

  1. Fall cards
  2. Halloween cards
  3. Large project board

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Looking for more ideas on what to score at the Dollar Tree while you’re there? Here you go:

How to Decorate for Fall at the Dollar Tree

8 Frugal Ways To Decorate For Fall

8 Frugal Ways to Decorate for Fall

the ChristmasEdition

33 Deals You Need to Buy at the Dollar Tree (the Christmas edition!) 

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19 Deals You Can’t Miss at Costco This Month (Ends 10/23/16)

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Okie dokie folks, besides the Costco whole chicken you should probably pick up every time you shop Costco, here are a few more items that just started in the Costco sale ad which may be worth picking up this month.

 

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Just like any grocery store, you really do save more at Costco when you’re willing to shop their monthly sales ad (which is really just their coupon book that runs each month.) Here are the items I think are worth grabbing before 10/26/16.

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Costco Best Deals Ending 10/26/16

1. Quaker Oatmeal Squares – $5.99

  • Use $2.40/1  Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 125 oz Only; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $3.59 after coupon

2. Deer Park Spring Water with Sport Cap 24 pk – $5.49

  • Use $1.50/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 125 oz Only; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $3.99 after coupon

3. Go Gurt Squeezable Yogurt 32 pk – $6.99

  • Use $3/1  Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 125 oz Only; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $3.99 after coupon or $.12 each

4. Polly – O String Cheese (48 ct) – $7.99

  • Use $2.30/1 Polly-O String Cheese Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 125 oz Only; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $5.69 after coupon or $.12 per string cheese

5. Sunny D Sport-Cap Juice, 24 ct 11.3 oz bottles – $9.99

  • Use $3.00/1 SunnyD Tangy Original with Sport Cap – Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 24/11.3 oz Only; Limit 3 (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $6.99 after coupon or $.29 each

6. Cascade Advanced Power Gel, 125 oz – $9.39

  • Use $2.00/1 Cascade Advanced Power Gel – Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 125 oz Only; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $7.49 after coupon or $0.06 per ounce

7. Trident Gum 14 pk – $8.39 or $.60 per pk Compare to Amazon 12 pk $7.15 or $.60 per pk

8. Diet Coke 35 pk 12 oz – $8.74

  • Use $2.00/1 Diet Coke – Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes $2 OFF 24 ct Only; or $2.25 OFF 35 ct Only; Limit 2 (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $8.74 after coupon or $.25 per can

9. Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks, 36 ct- $11.99

  • Use  $3.00/1 Annie’s Organic Bunny Snack Variety Pack – Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 36 ct Only; No Limit (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $8.99 after coupon

10. Frito Lay Sunchips 30 ct – $11.99

  • Use $3.00/1 SunChips Variety Pack – Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 30 ct Only; Limit 5 (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $8.99 after coupon

11. Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey Granola Bars, 49 ct, 1.49 oz – $12.79

12. Oral-B Pro-Health Cross Action Advanced Toothbrush , 8 ct – $13.99

  • Use $4.00/1 Oral-B Pro-Health CrossAction Advanced Toothbrushes – Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 8 ct Only; Limit 2 (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $9.99 after coupon or $1.24 per toothbrush

13. Finish Powerball All-in-One Tabs, 115 ct – $14.89

14. Skittles & Starburst Variety Pack 30 ct – $16.59

  • Use $5/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 225 oz 146 ld Only; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $11.59 after coupon or $.38 each

15. Gain Liquid Laundry Detergent, 146 loads, 225 oz – $19.99

  • Use $4.00/1 Gain HE Liquid Laundry Detergent – Costco Monthly Booklet; Includes 225 oz 146 ld Only; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 10/23/16)
  • $15.99 after coupon or $.007 per ounce

16. Bounty Advanced Select-A-Size Paper Towels 12 Roll 117 sheets per roll – $19.89

17. Charmin Ultra Strong Bath Tissue, 30 ct Jumbo rolls or 231 sheets per roll – $21.99

18. Tide Laundry Detergent 220 ounces – $23.99

19. Huggies Pull-Ups Training Pants, 102 – 124 ct – $34.99

Always a deal

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Milk $1.89 per gallon This beats the price I’ve seen at Kroger lately, but I got 3 gallons of milk for $1.49 yesterday at Aldi, so if you don’t have a Costco membership you can still easily save.

 

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Bananas $1.39 for 3 pounds or 46¢ per pound

 

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Costco Rotisserie Chicken $4.99 which comes out to about 5 cups of shredded chicken ~ stock up price!

 

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Perdue Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 10 lb. bag $23.99 or $2.39/lb. If you love Perdue chicken breast, the Costco price isn’t awful, however you’ll get a better price when buying fresh chicken (Fresh Thyme and Sprouts has it for $1.67 this week), and Kroger regularly puts their frozen boneless skinless chicken breast on sale for around $2.20/lb.

 

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Organic Spring Mix 1 lb. $4.49 – no coupon but a very good price

 

 

Not a deal

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Smucker’s Uncrustables are $10.95 for 18 and just not a good price at 60¢ each. You may find them at a better price at your local grocery, or take a few seconds to make them at home ahead of time and freeze! 

 

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Curious what else to buy at Costco? Check out this list of my favorite 15 items to buy at Costco every single day. Here are a few more posts you may want to check out:

whatshouldyoubuyatcostco

 

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5 Ways to Look Better in Pictures

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I’m so stinkin’ excited about this post! Last week the entire PPP team was able to meet for a few days in San Diego at a conference, and oh my goodness, I just love these girls! We all work virtually across the country, so I hadn’t met a few in real life before, and we’ve NEVER all been in one place at the same time.
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Jamie, Nicole, Laurie, Cheryl and Shannon

While we were meeting of course we had to have a picture, and my sweet friend Jamie told us she knew some secrets to making us look cute in pictures. (As you can imagine, we were ALL up for that.) So of course we decided she needed to give you and me both a lesson. 🙂

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(And, as a side note, Shannon on the right is TINY (seriously, so teeny), but her shirt in the wind did not cooperate! Lesson learned? Don’t wear billowy tops if you want to look skinny!) 🙂   Here’s a pic of her doing the “skinny pose” on the way to an 80’s themed gathering at the conference!

 

 5 Ways to Look Thinner in Pictures
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These first pics were taken at the airport in San Diego at 5:30 AM before flying out. Just sayin’. 😉

 

We all want to look our best when it comes to the camera – a bad picture of yourself can make you feel crummy, while a good one can help boost your self confidence.  Plus – sometimes you just plain want to downplay your trouble areas. (I have several)  Here are some of my favorite ways to look thinner in pictures!

 

1 . Move the Camera Up, Up, Up!

This is one of my favorite ways to look instantly slimmer!  Whatever the camera is closest to will look the largest.  By moving the camera from torso or chest level to forehead level – the focus shifts to your face and shoulders, and the rest of your body appears smaller. (Accentuate the positive, right?)
As a bonus, you tend to look up at the camera rather than down. Which leads us to #2 ...

 

laurie-caroline-below(This picture shows how a lower camera focus widens you visually)

 

2 . Ditch the Double Chin

I personally give myself a double chin just taking a sip of coffee.  (They sneak up on me way too easily these days ;))
No one wants the dreaded double or triple chin in a photo – and looking down can do just that.  Since the camera is already nice and high it makes sense to tilt your head just slightly upwards and watch the extra chin disappear.

 

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3 . Position Your Arms to Flatter Your Waist

Resist the urge to hold your arms straight at your side because visually it makes you wider.  I would add that any pose that smooshes them flat against you m
akes them looks sort of… larger, right?
Instead, bend your elbows and rest your hands towards the front of your hip area.  (Pretend your hands are in you front pockets – that’s where you want ’em!)
Now push both your shoulders and your elbows back slightly for good posture and a slimmer silhouette.  If it feels a little weird at first – you’re doing it right.  Laurie totally laughed through this one 🙂

4 . Angle Your Body Slightly

Turning your body just a tad to the side makes your hips look slimmer.  (Think about 45 degrees)

 

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5 .  Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Point one leg out toward the camera and then crossing it over the other at the ankle or calf area.  This move makes your legs look longer and in fact, lengthens your whole silhouette.

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Group Picture Tip!

If you’re taking a group photo – the best place to be is in the middle with your body angled slightly!  (I love this picture of Laurie.) 🙂 It makes a huge difference, and you’ll instantly look smaller (yay!)
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We’d love to hear what other tips you have for looking great in pictures ~ goodness, this is one we all struggle with, right? Leave your comments to share ~ we love hearing from you!

 

 

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3 Ways Couponing Can Raise Your Expenses

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3 Ways Couponing Can Raise Your Expenses

Why do you use coupons?

 

To save money, right?

 

Did you know that coupons can (sometimes!) cost you more than they can save you?

 

When you’re couponing it can be easy to get caught up in the game, but if you’re not careful, you can spend more than you intend to and not even realize it. It’s not that coupons aren’t a great way to save money because they are. It’s more that they can become a huge waste and often, that huge waste goes unnoticed in the day to day humdrum of life.

 

Not sure how?

 

Let’s take a look at 3 ways couponing may raise your expenses.

 

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1.When You’re Buying Items You Don’t Actually Need

It is incredibly easy to allow yourself to buy something simply because you have a coupon and it’s on sale. Unfortunately, this is a great way to waste money as well.

 

If you’re buying things only because you have a coupon and not because you have a true need for it, you need to ask yourself if it is a product that your family will actually use or if it will simply end up sitting on a shelf collecting dust. When those items do more than collect dust or expire, you’ve wasted the money you spent on it. It doesn’t matter if you only spent $0.25 on it, eventually that $0.25 adds up to a significant amount of money added onto your grocery budget.

Instead, make sure that every item on your shopping list is an item that you truly need. By doing so you won’t be wasting valuable money from your grocery budget.

 

(However, if that 25¢ item can be donated to someone who CAN use it, by all means, go for it!)

 

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2. When You’re Buying More Items Than You Can Reasonably Use

Buying your groceries in bulk can be a fantastic way to save money on groceries, but buying in bulk can also cause you to spend more. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a huge container of ketchup or 25 smaller bottles of mustard, when you’re buying more than the average bottle size or number of an item, it’s bulk.

If when you buy in bulk, you purchase more than you can reasonably use before the item spoils, you’re wasting money. This money can show in your grocery budget, your gasoline costs (since you’re transporting more products), and possibly even in your household expenses.

When you buy more than you need of an item, you have to have a place to store them. This might mean that you’re being forced to live in a bigger home, have to buy a storage shed or even both. Those expenses can be quite hefty and will make their way through your family budget as a whole.

To prevent that from happening, be sure that you’re only purchasing the things you need in reasonable amounts that can be used by your family before they expire. Keeping the number of items to a reasonable amount will help prevent storage issues that could be extremely costly.

 

 

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3. When You’re Printing Coupons That You Don’t Actually Use

Ask just about any couponer and they’ll tell you that they print coupons but when you’re printing coupons for items you won’t use or are not using those coupons before they expire, you’re wasting money and causing your expenses to go up. Not only will you cause your ink expenses to rise, but you’ll wear your printer out quicker and you’ll use more electric than you should be.

On top of that, if you’re printing coupons close to their expiration date, you’ll very likely use more gasoline on that last minute (and often unplanned) trip to the grocery store to use them before they reach their expiration date.

Instead, make sure that you’re only printing coupons that you absolutely know you will be able to use before they expire.

 

 

Couponing at its core is a great way to save, but when you use those coupons, make sure that you’re keeping a keen eye on things. If you don’t, you risk spending more than you intend to without even realizing it.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one ~ leave a comment to share! 

 

 

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Stitch Fix Review

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy to learn more.

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Sooooooo, I’ve been curious about Stitch Fix for quite awhile, and was scrolling through Facebook a few weeks ago when I saw a friend on Facebook recommending it. 

 


I wasn’t sure it was for me, but have such a hard time finding time to shop (and honestly don’t like clothes shopping all that much), so decided to try it out.

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loved how easy the process was ~ I was able to put in my style profile, share what types of clothes I liked, how things fit me, and share an idea of what I’m looking for on my profile, and I got a $20 credit just for trying it out. 

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So when my Stitch Fix Box arrived Tuesday, I was pretty excited to open it up.

 

 

Honestly? I liked almost everything in there, and it was very much my style.

 

But.

 

At the end of the day, I’m a really frugal girl, and the prices were just high for me. (In fairness, you can keep include on your Style Profile your current spending preferences, I just completely missed that.)

 

Here’s what came in my box . . . 

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Black top $48

After much debating, this is the only thing I kept ~ since I had the $20 free credit for trying it out, I decided I’d keep it for a conference I’m attending next week.

 

Jeans $88 

These jeans were very comfortable, however a little too loose, and way too long (like, 4″ too long, and I’m 5’7″!) At $88 for the pair, even after hemming and especially since they were a little on the baggy side, I just couldn’t justify them.

 

Checkered Scarf in picture at the top of the page $34

Not bad, but I know I can find one I love just as much for half the price at TJMaxx.

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Blue flannel top – $48

I have a very similar top that I bought from the Gap for $20 (really, almost identical), so I definitely couldn’t justify the cost. This one also had buttons up the back and was open from my waist down, and I just didn’t love that look (I’m pretty traditional and don’t need anything accentuating my booty!) 🙂

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Grey striped sweater $48

Just didn’t love it ~ returned.

 

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My thoughts?

 

loved the convenience of it all. Having clothes chosen for me that really did fit almost flawlessly and delivered to my home was great. If I worked outside our home I could definitely see how this would be such a benefit for me.

 

I also LOVED (like, LOVED) that returning is super simple – I literally am just going to drop it in the mail, the shipping is pre paid, and I don’t have to do a single thing (which is why I’m still signed up for next month’s Stitch Fix Box.

 

But.

 

At the end of the day the clothes were on the pricey side, and my penny pinching soul just can’t do it. I am going to update my preferences for pricing next month and will be curious to see how it works out ~ I’ll let you know when my next fix arrives.

 

Would you like to try out Stitch Fix? Sign up through this link and you’ll get $20 deducted off your first styling (which is like trying it out for free) when you purchase any one item, AND if you keep everything in your box you’ll save an 25% off everything in the box.

Here’s exactly how it works:

  • Sign up HERE
  • You’ll be charged $20 for your Stitch Fix Styling
  • Your box will come when you schedule it
  • If you keep ANY items in your box, the $20 you spend for the styling will be put towards your purchase (so it’s like getting $20 in free credit!)
  • If you keep your entire box you’ll save 25% off the entire purchase
  • Invite friends on Facebook or via email (or even text messages) to sign up through you and you’ll get $25 in free referral credit ~ love that!

 

One thing to note – you have to send your clothes back in 3 days, so be sure to be aware of that prior to ordering!

 

This post may contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy to learn more.

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DIY Cleaning Supplies Organizer

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Hanging Shoe Holders (check this one out for just $8) are wonderful for organizing shoes – but they can also be fantastic at organizing sooooo many other things around the house! I keep thinking up new ways to use them, but this is the newest I’ve tried.
Here’s just one idea for putting all those handy-dandy pockets to good use – a DIY Cleaning Supplies Organizer.
(Brilliant, right?)

 

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DIY Cleaning Supplies Organizer

 

Grab your Clorox Wipes, Windex and paper towels, quickly find your dust spray AND cloth, and never search again for the bleach and gloves.

 

It even makes a good spot to stash those scented oil warmers in between uses, and if your organizer happens to have a few large pockets at the bottom you can use them to keep scrub brushes, shelf liners, and extra trash bags or even grocery sacks.

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Hang your DIY cleaning supplies organizer on the back of the laundry room or bathroom closet door to keep your cleaning supplies out of the way.  If you’re lucky enough to have a hall closet where you stash your vacuum, this would be a great place for those too ~ so simple!

Want to fill your cleaning command center with awesome products?  Check out this limited-time offer to get FREE Mrs. Meyers Cleaning products from The Grove Collaborative!

 

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And if you need a little help staying on top of your housework  (don’t we all) – I love this Free Printable Cleaning Schedule, plus check out all 25 Days of Spring Cleaning Hacks.

 

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5 Ways You Can Earn $100 By Christmas

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Note: Right now you can get $10 just for signing up + $2 when you submit any 3 rebates. Easy way to get started and save big this year! 

 

 

Looking for some ways to earn some serious cash by Christmas? This is for you!  If you haven’t checked out Ibotta – it’s a little app with huge potential to help you set up a holiday nest egg.

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Never heard of Ibotta? (Or maybe you have – but have forgotten to use it occasionally?)

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Ibotta is an easy way to earn real money for buying your favorite products at your favorite stores.

I downloaded Ibotta several years ago, and use it almost every week. (It really comes in handy those weeks when you can’t quite get around to printing or clipping paper coupons, and I love that you can stack your savings with a paper coupon to double up on your savings!

That’s crazy right???

 

Here are 5 ways you can use Ibotta to help you earn up to $100 (or more?) by Christmas:

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1 . Use Ibotta at your favorite stores and get $10 just for joining.

Here are just some of the places you can use Ibotta….

  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Publix
  • CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid
  • Kroger
  • Fresh Market
  • Safeway
  • Vons
  • and more! (+ new stores are being added all the time)

 

2 . Use Ibotta at restaurants.

Ibotta rebates are available at several restaurants, including Papa John’s, Einstein Bagels, Outback Steakhouse, Red Robin and lots more. Just add the rebate to your Ibotta account before you eat, and get up to $5 in cash back on your next meal.

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3. Use Ibotta at retail stores (and don’t forget the craft stores!)

Ibotta is just opening up a few retail rebates, including Ulta, American Eagle, Kohl’s, and more. Save up to $5 off at your favorite stores, just for snapping a picture of your receipt.

Did you know that you can get $5 cash back in your Ibotta account when you spend $30 at Joann’s fabrics? (Who knew?!) Be sure to check the rebates offered at specialty stores (think Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, JoAnn’s, etc) to save even more at stores you probably already shop.

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4. Even use Ibotta at your local gas station.

Did you know Ibotta is accepted at some gas stations? A few of the stations included are Shell, Pilot, Marathon and Chevron + several more. These typically offer rebates that are similar to the grocery rebates they offer, but if you’re on a road trip and purchase something in the gas station (think a 20 oz. diet coke or bag of snacks), you may find a rebate to match what you purchase.

5. Invite your friends.

Every time you invite a friend to join Ibotta and they make their first purchase, you get $10 in your account. And, they get $10 just for joining! Once you’ve signed up and started earning, invite a friend or two and help each other save.

You can even start earning via Ibotta “teams” and the more rebates each team member submits the more everyone earns.

 

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 Curious about the nitty gritty details on Ibotta? Here’s how to get started:
  1. Download the FREE Ibotta App to your mobile device.
  2. Before shopping, choose your offers. The more you choose, the more cash back you’ll earn.
  3. Go Shopping. Buy your chosen products at any of the major retailers that Ibotta supports.
  4. Take a photo of your receipt. We’ll verify your purchases and credit your account right away.
  5. Get your cash. Yes, real money, loaded onto your PayPal account in the form of a gift cards from Amazon, Walmart, Target & more.
  6. In just a few easy steps you’ll make a little moo-lah when you purchase things you would normally purchase each day.

Earnings can be transferred securely to your PayPal account, so you can be setting aside a Christmas nest egg! You can also use your earnings towards gift cards at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Applebees, Old Navy, Sam’s Club and more. Love that!

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Do you use Ibotta? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one – leave a comment to share!
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How To Use Amazon Subscribe & Save

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I get so many questions from people about how to use Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program to really save, so I finally decided it was time to do a quick post giving you all the nitty gritty details! 

 

Check out the video above to see what steps to take to subscribe and save, and here are a few more tips to remember as you shop:

 

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1. Always watch for the lowest price on subscribe and save items (I post them here on PPP when I see price drops ~ subscribe for free daily updates so you never miss a deal!)

2. Once your order has been delivered, you can cancel your subscription completely or skip your next delivery.

3. If an item is an “add-on” item but has the option to subscribe and save, you can subscribe and save and won’t need to spend the minimum $25 purchase to get the add-on price.

4. I typically choose to have my delivers sent every 3 months – that gives me plenty of time to cancel the subscription if I no longer need it.

5. The prices CAN change on future subscriptions, however Amazon will send you a notification prior to your next delivery.

 

Check out all the details on Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program over HERE.

 

Here are a few examples of some great subscribe and save savings going on right now that I’ve personally ordered: 

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Place Cottonelle CleanCare in your cart

  • Clip the “20% off coupon” in the middle of the page
  • Choose to subscribe and save (you can cancel your subscription at any time after your order has shipped)
  • Pay $15.57 ($.43 per family roll or $.18 per single roll/$.36 per double roll)

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Place Finish Powerball Tablets in your cart

  • Choose to subscribe and save (you can cancel your subscription at any time after your order has shipped)
  • Pay $10.30 out of pocket for 90 Finish tabs, or $.11 each!

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Place Original Rice Krispies Treats 16-Count (Pack of 6) in your cart

  • Clip the “25% off coupon” in the middle of the page
  • Choose to subscribe and save (you can cancel your subscription at any time after your order has shipped)
  • Pay $16.09 ($.16 per bar)

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Place Olay Moisturizer in your cart

  • Clip the “$1 off coupon” in the middle of the page
  • Choose to subscribe and save (you can cancel your subscription at any time after your order has shipped)
  • Pay $4.69 (compare to $6.69 at Walmart)

 

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Place Huggies Diapers in your cart (or other size)

  • Clip the “35% off coupon” under the price
  • Choose to subscribe and save (you can cancel your subscription at any time after your order has shipped)
  • Pay as little as $18.62 ($.07 per diaper) depending on the size you get, with Amazon Family as an Amazon Prime Member

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Place Huggies Simply Clean Baby Wipes (648 ct) in your cart

  • Clip the “35% off coupon” in the middle of the page
  • Choose to subscribe and save (you can cancel your subscription at any time after your order has shipped)
  • Pay $8 – that’s 1.2¢ per wipe! (or $6.49 (1¢ per wipe) if you have 5 S&S subscription this month

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Place Pampers Baby Dry in your cart $43.67

  • Clip the “$3 off coupon” in the middle of the page
  • Choose to subscribe and save through Amazon Family and get 20% off (you can cancel your subscription at any time after your order has shipped)
  • Pay as little as 16¢ per diaper, shipped to your door!*

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Looking for more tips on saving at Amazon? Here you go:

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7 Ways to Save at Starbucks

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I’m really not a coffee drinkers (give me hot chocolate any day), but I know so many folks love Starbucks (and,  it’s almost pumpkin-spice season to boot!) So, I did a little digging around for these 7 ways to save at Starbucks!
I visited my local Starbucks last night and talked with the manager about their loyalty program.  While we were talking, a couple Starbucks mega-customers (no kidding, they said they stop in in the morning and again after work every. day.) came by to share a few of their favorite ways to save at Starbucks.

 

So here we go – these are all the secrets to getting your coffee fix without breaking the bank. 🙂

*NOTE: Starbucks Rewards changed as of April 2016,  the following information is all current and in line with the new points system!

7 Ways to Save at Starbucks

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1 . Join Starbucks Rewards and get a FREE Drink right away

Without buying a single thing, you can start saving by getting a completely FREE drink at Starbucks right away!

All you need to do is register a giftcard online here.  You do need to have a gift card with some balance (even if it’s just a leftover 55¢) in order to register it.  If you don’t already have one, just run by the store and pick one up and load a few bucks onto it for later.

2 . FREE Refills for EVERYONE!

This was the biggest surprise to me when I was asking questions at the store – I actually said, “Really!?!” when the barista told me this one!

ALL Starbucks Rewards members (even new ones considered “green” level) get Free Refills while in-store on brewed items.  That includes hot or iced tea or hot or iced coffee.  Just remember that you’ll need to use your registered Starbucks card or your mobile app to pay.

So if you’re planning to be there for awhile working on your laptop – you can just about drink your weight in coffee/tea!

 

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3 . Earn 2 Stars per $1 Spent = BIG Rewards

Every time you spend money at Starbucks as a member, you’ll earn Starbucks Stars.  (You can even earn stars buying Starbucks coffee at the grocery store!)   Once you reach 125 Stars, you receive a “star code” that you redeem for a reward!  This reward (as the manager informed me) can be on ANY food or drink item – even if you were to order a large Frappuccino with 8 extra shots!  (I looked at the menu to check the math for that one – and let me tell you, so expensive!)

Or pick up a $6.45 sandwich, on the house!

 

I was pretty impressed. 

The only thing you can’t get with your rewards are the merchandise items in the lobby – like cups, big bags of ground coffee, etc. . . .  Also keep in mind that stars expire 6 months after you receive them.

 

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4. Get a FREE Drink on your Birthday!

Starbucks Rewards Members get a FREE Drink on their birthdays.  This freebie will come to your phone if you have the app, or your email, and is good for 3 days.  You’ll receive the freebie offer 2 days before your birthday and it expires the day after.

One [1] complimentary handcrafted beverage [standard Starbucks® menu sizes only] or food item, or Ready-to-Drink bottled beverage such as an Evolution Fresh™ juice.

 

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5 . Gold Members get Rewards TWICE as Fast

If you spend $300 within a year, you’ll be inducted into the Gold Level (for life – who knew?) As a Gold Level member, you’ll receive a fancy personalized gold card for starters.  Then once a month, there will be a Double-Star Day where you can earn 4 Stars per $1 spent, rather than 2 Stars.

Gold Members also get some insider info as to new products, promotions, etc….

 

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6 . Split a Venti and get TWO Talls!

This has got to be one of my favorite little secret ways to save at Starbucks – because it’s totally something I would do!

If you just want a *little* pick me up – split a Venti size with a friend and ask for two tall cups. A Venti will fill up two Tall cups for half the price.

Let’s do the math:

  • A Venti While Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino (24 oz) costs a whopping $5.49.  (vs. the Tall 12 oz that costs $4.29.)
  • If you ordered two Talls, you’d pay $4.29 each, whereas a Venti divided into a two cups will come out to $2.74 each.

 

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7 . Two Ways to Save 10¢

If you really want to pinch those pennies – here are a couple more ways to whittle down the cost of your coffee.  (Though a Keurig Machine might be the way to go if you’re really trying to save on your daily cup of joe.)

Bring Your Cup:  Save 10¢ on your drink when you bring your own cup

Order a Short:  Although you won’t see it on the menu – you can order the 8 oz  “Short” coffee for $2.03 and it will have the same shot of espresso in it that a 12 oz “Tall” does for $2.14. If you’re wanting to add creamer, order a “Short” in a “Tall” cup so there’s room leftover.
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Bonus Tip: Get Free Water vs. $$ Bottled Water

This seems like a silly little tip because you don’t really need to spend money on water anyway… but if you’re in Starbucks for a lunch date and you’re wanting something nice cold to drink – this could save you a couple bucks. Don’t waste your money on a bottled water, because you can ask for a “water cup” totally free. 🙂

 

 

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Do you know any other ways to save at Starbucks? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment to share. 🙂 

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5 Reasons You Need A Menu Plan

5 reasons you need a menu plan

 

With the school year starting next week and the kids getting back into their extracurricular activities, dinnertime gets nuts around here fast.

 

Some nights we only have a few minutes to eat as a family before we’re off to practice or a game, but I love-love having dinnertime together – so I’m determined to make it happen as often as possible.

 

And, I’ve found we’re way more likely to succeed at getting dinner on the table if I actually sit down and make a menu plan for the week.  

 

It makes life easier.

 

It makes me less stressed.

 

And it takes away so many extra unnecessary trips to the grocery store.

 

Don’t believe me?

 

Here’s proof. 🙂

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5 Reasons You Need a Menu Plan

 

1 . Menu Planning Saves Time

When you have a plan for the week, you can shop ahead for everything you need and avoid those daily last-minute grocery runs.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been ready to start cooking when I realized I was missing one important thing (gr!) Those last minute trips to grab just a couple things are so frustrating and eat up my time when I don’t start with a menu plan in place.

2 . You’ll Save Money

One great thing about menu planning is that you can look at the sales paper and plan around what’s on sale that week.

 

If chicken is $1.49 lb it might be a great week to do a few chicken dishes, then pair with pasta or taco fixin’s depending on what’s most cost efficient.

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3 . You’ll Eat Healthier Meals.

We’re working hard to eat healthier at our house especially after what the last six months have brought, and it is so much harder when I don’t have a menu plan in place. 

 

When you’re in last-minute mode, your brain doesn’t immediately jump to something like Bruschetta Chicken or Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps ~ if your family is like ours  instead you may end up eating way too many pb&js or cereal for dinner.

 

(Or driving through the drive thru – eek!)

 

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4 . You Won’t Waste Leftovers. 

When you’ve planned out a menu for the week, you can see right away if the leftovers from one dish will be able to contribute to another meal.

 

For instance, you might find a way to cook several chicken breasts at once and use it for two separate meals – like this Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken recipe here – which can do double duty for Chicken Tortilla Soup here. Love that!

5 . You’ll reduce stress.

One of the main reasons I menu plan is to avoid the stress that comes with not knowing what to fix and scrambling around at the last minute.

 

Knowing that dinner hour is taken care of, the recipes are chosen, and the ingredients are already in my fridge (woohoo!) – makes it so much easier to relax and enjoy my family during that time.

 

Wouldn’t you love to make your life a little easier too? 🙂 

 

If you’re thinking you might need a little help starting a menu plan, you’re so not alone.  Lots of people use a menu planning service (at least for a little while) to get new meal ideas, match recipes with local sales and have it all in an easy printable format.

 

I absolutely love Eat at Home’s menu plan created by my friend Tiffany. I’ve use this menu plan myself and plan on starting back at next week.  

 

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And, through next Tuesday (8/16/16) you can choose any of her menu plans for as little as as little as $4.08 per month when you use the code SUMMERSALE at checkout.

 

I’ve made many of Tiffany’s recipes and loved them – plus she includes easy lists and simple instructions to make grocery shopping and menu planning so much simpler.

There are lots of different recipes types so you can find the ones that fit your family – and your time.

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For instance, one week I chose the Whole Food menu plan and it was great, but you can select ANY of the menu plans she has, including a traditional recipe plan and even a slow cooker option. The best part is that once you sign up you have access to all of the menu plans, so you can try out different recipes to see what your family loves!

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Here’s how to get started . . . 

 

Start HERE

  • Select the menu plan your family will enjoy
  • Next click “CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED”
  • Choose your plan – sale prices are $8 for 1 month, $17 for 3 months or $49 for one year
  • Use the code SUMMERSALE to get that price
  • Once you’re signed up, you’ll have full access to dozens of menu plans ~ such a great way to start off the school year!

 

Head on over HERE to download yours, and if you’ve tried Eat at Home menus in the past I’d love to hear your thoughts. Go HERE and be sure to use the code SUMMERSALE at checkout to get the best price. Remember this ends August 16 (and won’t be offered again until December) so order soon if you’re interested!

 

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Smartest Measuring Spoon Ever.

Here’s the link to Margaret Ann’s Non Stick Pastry Mat if you’re looking for it! 

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I love these! My friend Andrea from Utensi created the smartest measuring spoons ever, and right now they’re priced at $19.99.

 

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I use mine almost every single day (I store them in my countertop canister), and love that they easily fit into tall deep canisters, and just make life in the kitchen a wee bit more fun!

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Head on over HERE to check them out ~ such a great gift for yourself or for someone who loves spending time in the kitchen!

 

 

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*HOT* Sale On Blue Host Ends TODAY: Start Your Blog Today!

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If you’ve ever considered starting a blog (or website for your business), don’t miss this.

 

Right now, Blue Host is offering their web hosting for just $2.95 per month (which is an incredible deal.) 

 

This is oh-so-worth it if you think blogging may be for you! I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am for blogging (it’s how I make a full time income as a stay at home mom), and I highly recommend it not only as a source of income, but even just as a place to keep an online journal of your every day life. Honestly, I never dreamed I would love blogging the way that I do but I’m completely hooked!

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Curious why I think blogging is worth it? Here are my top 5 reasons to blog:

  1. To earn an income from home. (Honest. I make a full time income here on PPP which is beyond crazy to me. Learn more HERE.)
  2. It allow you to interact with other folks across the internet, and create a little “home base” online for family photos, stories and more.
  3. It helps you become a better writer. I am so not someone who would consider themselves a writer, but blogging each day makes me re-think the way I use words. While writing still isn’t my strongest gift, working at it each day stretches my mind creatively.
  4. It creates a place for you to think of others. I love that blogging (especially for a profit), forces me to think of ways every day to help other people outside of my home. I know that PPP is a better blog to follow when I write posts that really do benefit my readers, so I’m more creative in coming up with helpful content each day. (I love that!)
  5. It builds your confidence. I struggle so much with having self-confidence, but blogging has helped me realize I’m really good at things that I never even knew existed. It’s taught me business strategies, internet savviness, social media awareness, and so much more. I love the marketable skills blogging has given me, and would never in a bajillion years thought I would love it the way that I do!

 

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Once you’ve signed up with Blue Host, check these posts out:

Let me know if you have any questions ~ so excited to for you to get started!

This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure policy to learn more.

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Our Bedroom Makeover: And Why Our House May Always Be a Little Hodge-Podgey.

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Note – I just finished reading the book Hope Heals and HIGHLY recommend it if you need some encouragement to soak up life, no matter where you are. Go HERE to grab yours. 

I’m just going to be really, really, really honest with you all right now.

 

I’m not gonna win the best penny pincher ever this week.  

 

Not even close.

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Five years ago (fifteen years in. . . ) we splurged on bedroom furniture which I loved. We saved to pay cash for it, got a good deal, and after purchasing bedding I walked away and called the room done.

 

but.

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It never looked just right, you know?

 

So last weekend after touring a few model homes I came back to our beautiful-but-quite-hod-podged home and just started dreaming. 

 

We’ve spent years working on upgrading the brick and mortar parts of our homes as we’ve moved over the last twenty years, but have never spent much on our decor because we really wouldn’t gain financial value from that. (Adding trim work to a home makes for a better sale, a cute dresser just doesn’t!) So, every room in our home carries a few Goodwill, thrift stores, and hand me down treasures.

 

Which is perfect. And I’m so so thankful for them.

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But.

 

I kinda wanted a “right” room, you know?

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You see, my struggle with penny pinching is this:

 

I love beautiful things. But. (sigh.)  I hate what they cost.

 

Like, HATE what they cost.

 

But I decided to head to Home Goods, noticed a few lamps, and thought about how much I’d love to replace my Goodwill/garage store mix and match lamps (see the before HERE) with two coordinating lamps.

 

Just $59 each. Gulp.

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Then I started looking at a few bedroom pictures on Instagram, and realized mirrors above nightstands were all the rage (I had no idea?)

 

So I grabbed two (very small ones ~ at $20 a piece I figured they were perfect!) to match the lamps and headed home.

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The initial mirrors were way too small, so I checked out Hobby Lobby and found two for $100 each (eek), and asked my hubby what he thought. He didn’t say he hated the idea, so I decided that was a win. 🙂

 

Guys, I feel guilty, but I love it.

 

Total cost to “finish” the room?  (Well, except curtains . . . keep reading . . . ) 

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Updated alcove project outside our door ~ James also added all the trim work along the hallway upstairs like he’d done on the first floor

$320.

 

Ouch.

 

It wasn’t necessary. We can live without it. We absolutely don’t need it.

 

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But.

 

It makes me ridiculously happy. We had money in savings for it. And I absolutely love it.

 

And, I’m planning to love it for a long long time, because by waiting this long to finish it I’ve figured out what I really do love, and everything I picked I (think?) is pretty timeless.

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Our make-shift free window shades which we got when we ordered shutters in other rooms of our home. We so need to replace them but I love looking out each day at our view ~ and I know new curtains will cost a bundle ~ eek!

So, there you have it.

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If you’re new to penny pinching and don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, let me promise you it’s there.

 

 

By waiting for what we really wanted (instead of what we wanted right now), we can totally see the abundance of having plenty which we didn’t have in those early years.

 

You’ll get there too. 

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Be patient. Stick with the Goodwill stuff. Check out your local garage sales, thrift stores, and online yard sales.

 

And then.

 

When you’ve penny pinched for just a few years and the money really is finally really in the budget, you can have that room you’ve always dreamed of too.

 

And it’ll be oh-so-worth the wait. 😉 

 

And in the meantime? 

 

Whatever space you have.

 

Whatever you’ve got.

 

Clean it up. De-clutter. De-gunk. De-mess.

 

Because even when you don’t have just the perfect space, the space you have really can be just perfect. 

 

Or at least better.

 

Okay?

 

Take a few minutes this weekend to fluff up a space in your home ~ and make today a beautiful day. 

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Here’s the only “decoration” we had in our first apartment ~ a Mary Engelbreit card that I put in a $1 Dollar Tree frame. I still love it enough to keep it (hidden a bit!) on our night stand. 🙂 

 

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10 Reasons You Need To Try Out Walmart Grocery Pickup

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy to learn more.

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Walmart Grocery Pickup

Get $10 off $50 in groceries at Walmart with the code REALEASY at checkout, and an additional $10 in free Walmart grocery credit for each friend you refer. That’s like $20 in FREE grocery money ~ love that! WATCH ME HERE LIVE FROM WALMART to see how it worked for me. 

Walmart grocery pickup just started in Ohio over the last few months, and I’m so excited to finally try it out! If it’s not in your area yet, watch for it coming soon (go HERE to see if it works in your hometown.)

I tried it out this past week after hearing friends in other cities rave about it, and was pretty impressed myself. I’ll be sharing my live pickup in Walmart’s parking lot today at 3:15PM Eastern Time over on Facebook live, so come on over and see what you think!

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Here are 10 reasons you need to try Walmart Grocery Pickup out:

1. It’s free.

When you spend a minimum of $30 at Walmart, Walmart Grocery Pickup service is completely free for you to use.

2. You’ll save money.

If you’re like me and shop with kids in tow (or just are tempted by too many things to buy when you’re at the store), using Walmart’s Grocery Pickup program can save you a bundle.

Because you shop ahead of time online, you can plan what you really need, and have everything on your list brought right out to your car. I love that!

 

3. Walmart Savings Catcher guarantee applies to Walmart Grocery Pickup prices.

If a local store has a better price on the item you’re picking up, your Walmart Savings Catcher app will catch that price and refund you the difference in a Walmart gift card.

 

To take advantage of the Walmart Savings Catchers Savings, enter the “Savings Catcher TC Number” that you’ll find on your email receipt from Walmart Grocery Pickup purchase in your Savings Catcher app.

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4. Walmart is offering up to $10 off your first Walmart Grocery Pickup purchase.

  • Save $10 off $50 purchase with code REALEASY on your first grocery pickup purchase

 

5. Get a $10 credit towards your next order when you refer a friend.

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6. You’re guaranteed to get the items you requested (or better.)

If the item you order isn’t in stock, Walmart will replace it with a similar like item of even better quality. Walmart will also only charge the price for the item you select, so if you order Great Value Chips and Walmart needs to substitute them with Lay’s Brand Chips, you’ll pay the price of the Great Value Chips.

 

 

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Goodie bag I received with my first Walmart Grocery Pickup order

7. A professional shopper will select your products for you.

The employees at Walmart who are selecting your order are trained specifically on choosing quality fruit, veggies and meat when they shop for you. Expect quality products without even having to head in the store, even on perishable food items.

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My professional shopper did a fantastic job selecting produce for me, and even brought me a cute “welcome” bag for using Walmart Grocery Pickup for the first time. If you’re not pleased with the produce when you pick up your order, your personal shopper will replace it for you.

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8. You can pick up every thing on  your list through Walmart’s grocery pickup.

Remember you can pick up all kinds of things Walmart carries at Walmart’s grocery pickup, so add school supplies to your list, cleaning supplies, paper products, pet food, or anything you need. This makes it so easy to get everything you need all at once, and you’ll pickup only the items you need, not all the extra items that may not be on your list when shopping.

 

There are over 30,000 items included in Walmart’s grocery pickup options, so you can purchase all the groceries you’ll need, as well as health and beauty products, paper products, household cleaners, and even pet food. I looked around this morning online, and you can add almost anything that you’d normally pick up at Walmart to your grocery pickup purchase ~ love that!

 

There is a minimum purchase of $30 that you’ll need to spend to take advantage of Walmart’s grocery pickup, but if you add in toilet paper, paper towels, school supplies and cleaning products you can get to that minimum $30 purchase pretty quickly.

9. Add additional items to your list throughout the day.

Typically you can pick up your order within 12 hours of ordering online, so your best bet is to order the day before you plan on picking up your groceries.

However, you can add to your order for up to a few hours prior to delivery (which is fantastic if you’re like me and tend to think of things to add to your list throughout the day!)

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 10. You never have to leave your car. 🙂

Here’s my favorite thing folks . . . with Walmart’s new Grocery Pickup option you never have to leave your car. 

 

Seriously. It’s amazing.

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Once you arrive in the parking lot, your professional shopper will bring your entire grocery list to you, and verify that you’ve received everything on your list. My professional shopper made sure I had everything I ordered on my list and even loaded my car.

 

Here are a few pickup instructions you need to be aware of:

  1. You’ll get a phone call 15 -30 minutes before the start of your time slot from Walmart. To guarantee even faster delivery to your car, they’ll ask you to call them back when you’re 10 minutes from the store in order to make sure your frozen or chilled items stay fresh, and so that they are ready when you get there to load your car.
  2. Once at the store, look towards the right side of the building for the grocery pick up parking spaces.
  3. Park in a grocery pick up spot and your order will be brought to your car within a few minutes.

 

While I love going into stores and seeing what the latest deals are, there are times when the weather is awful, kids are sick, and heading into the store is more than you’re up for. But taking advantage of this new program means you can shop from your home (even on your phone!) and pick up your order within 24 hours of placing it. Go HERE to try it out, and let me know what you think ~ I think I’m going to love this one!

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Watch me live today over on Facebook as I pick up my first order. If you’ve tried Walmart Grocery Pickup out before, I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

 

This is a sponsored post from Walmart, however all opinions are (of course!) my own. I really did try it out and love it, and think you’re going to love it too!

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2016 Tax Free Shopping Schedule

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2016 Tax Free Shopping Schedule

Did you know that several states offer tax free weekend for back to school supplies? This is a great time to stock up on school supplies as well as computers and school clothing, and many stores also offer huge savings during these weekends as well. Find a complete break down of expenses and non-taxable items here.

My favorite savings during tax free weekends is undoubtedly on Apple computers if you live in a state where computers are included (the tax on those can be so steep, and since they rarely go on sale this is a great way to save!)

  • ALABAMA– August 5-7 (clothing, supplies, computers, books)
  • ARKANSAS– August 6-7 (clothing, supplies)
  • CONNECTICUT – August 21-27 (clothing, footwear)
  • FLORIDA-August 5-7
  • GEORGIA – July 30-31 – August 1 (clothing, supplies, computers)
  • IOWA– August 5-6 (clothing)
  • LOUISIANA – August 5-6 (personal property less than $2500)
  • MARYLAND– August 14-20 (clothing, footwear)
  • MISSISSIPPI– July 29-30 (clothing, footwear)
  • MISSOURI– August 5-7 (clothing, computers, supplies)
  • NEW MEXICO– August 5-7 (clothing, computers, supplies)
  • OHIO– August 5-7 (clothing, supplies, instructional materials)
  • OKLAHOMA– August 5-7 (clothing)
  • SOUTH CAROLINA– August 5-7 (clothing, computer, supplies)
  • TENNESSEE– July 29-31 (clothing, computer, supplies)
  • TEXAS– August 5-7 (clothing, backpacks, supplies)
  • VIRGINIA– August 5-7 (clothing, supplies)

 

 

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Print your free 2016 Back to School Walmart & Target Stock Up Price Cheat Sheet!

 

Let me know if you find any great back-to-school deals, and find the complete list of back-to-school deals over HERE!

 

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10 Back to School Shopping Tips for Office Depot & Office Max

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10 Back to School Shopping Tips for Office Depot Office Max

I love back to school shopping season! 🙂 (See all the Office Depot/Office Max penny items HERE this week.)

 

In fact, I love it almost as much as Christmas shopping season, because the deal hunting is everywhere, and you can easily save up to 99% with awesome stores like Office Depot offering some crazy good savings.

 

But, if you’re new to shopping (ahem, saving) at Office Depot, there are a few things you need to know to make sure you get the most bang for your buck, so I figured we needed a little Office Depot saving course. Let’s get started with these 10 back to school shopping tips!

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1. Office Depot and Office Max are the same store.

So, if you see someone mentioning a sale at Office Max, those items are also on sale at Office Depot. And, vice versa.  Learn more HERE.

2. You need to sign up for an Office Depot/Office Max rewards account.

Sign up for Office Depot/Office Max Rewards to take advantage of the best deals at Office Depot & Office Max. It’s free to sign up.

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3. Here’s how Office Depot/Office Max Rewards work:

  • When you purchase a rewards item at Office Depot/Office Max, you’ll get a certain amount back in your Rewards account.
  • The Reward is in the form of a store rewards certificatet, only to be used at Office Depot/Office Max.
  • The Reward won’t show up in your account for up to 5 weeks after your purchase.
  • At checkout, when giving your rewards account information you automatically get the reward (no extra rebate form to fill out.)
  • So, let’s say this week you buy a ream of paper included in the Rewards special for $6. You’ll pay $6 out of pocket, and get a $5 rewards back in your account. The reward won’t show up for a few weeks in your account, but when it does you can use that certificate to shop for anything at Office Depot.

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4. Especially during the Back To School season, Office Depot offers huge loss leader discounts on specific items in the store.

Watch the very front page of your Office Depot flier to find crazy savings on specials all year long, but especially July-September. For example this week (7/17/16 – 7/23/16), score 1¢ spiral notebooks, 1¢ pencil pouches, 1¢ 3 pack erasers, and even 1¢ glue sticks.

 

To get that savings you’ll need to spend $5 in the store, but that’s going to happen more easily  than you think. (Keep reading!)

 

5. Take advantage of bonus rewards offers to also score the penny items for a steal.

Okie dokie guys, here’s my secret trick. It’s one of my very favorite back to school shopping tips EVER.  To get the penny items I mentioned in secret #1, you need to spend a minimum of $5.

 

But.

 

Here’s a little work around (you’re welcome!)

 

You can purchase any item that includes Bonus Rewards at Office Depot to bump your total up to that $5 minimum, then get the rebate back.

 

Clear as mud?

 

Here’s an example using this week’s sale items (running 7/17/16 – 7/23/16)

Buy 1 Office Depot Brand Multipurpose Paper, $6 each
Buy Papermate Mechanical Pencils 12ct – $1
Buy (3) Spiral Notebooks (Wide or College Ruled) – 1¢
Buy (3) 2-Hole Pencil Sharpeners, Assorted Colors  – 1¢
Buy (3) Vinyl Storage/Pencil Pouch, Assorted Colors I – 1¢
Buy (3) Paper Mate Pink Pearl Erasers, Medium, Pack Of 3/4 – 1¢
Buy (3) Scholastic Glue Sticks, 0.32 Oz., White, Pack Of 4 – 1¢

  • Pay $7.15 out of pocket, Get $5 in Office Depot/Office Max Rewards
  • $2.15 total after Office Depot/Office Max Rewards

The sales vary each week at Office Depot/Office Max ~ go HERE to see current sales and scenarios. 

6. Earn rewards when you recycle ink and toner cartridges.

For every ink or toner cartridge you recycle, you’ll get 200 Rewards points (like $2 back) when you spend $10 on a qualifying purchase in one month.) Learn more HERE.

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7. Watch for Office Depot coupon codes.

Use sites like Coupon Sherpa or Retail Me Not to see if there are additional coupons available at Office Depot/Office Max. For example this week you can save $10 off your $50 or more purchase ~ love that!

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8. Sign up for Office Depot/Office Max texts and emails to get additional savings. 

9. Get free delivery from Office Depot/Office Max online when you spend $35 or more.

Or, order online and have it your items available to pick up in stores to get free delivery as well.

 

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10. Office Depot’s chat is awesome.

If you have any issues with your rewards account or any other questions, try Office Depot’s online chat (look for it on the top right hand side of the screen over HERE.)

I used it earlier this week, and they set up my Rewards account while I was online, and even gave me a 1000 bonus for starting things up (like $10!) That won’t likely happen for everyone, but I was pretty impressed.

 

Looking for more Back To School Shopping Tips? Here you go:

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Laurie’s Fresh Thyme Trip: How I Saved $40 On Groceries Today (Without Clipping A Single Coupon)

Laurie’s Fresh Thyme Market Trip: Spent $20.84, Saved $40.25

Curious how I saved $40 today on groceries without clipping a single coupon? Watch over on Facebook Live in just about a minute (or watch the replay later in the day), to see what I paid. Those cherries and strawberries were a steal! 🙂

 

 

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Laurie’s Goodwill Finds

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Join me live over on Facebook at 2:45 PM Eastern Time today when I’ll be chatting about these deals as well as opening my new Instant Pot ~ I’d love to meet you there! 

 

I made a quick run to Goodwill yesterday with Reagan in tow, and am so excited about my fun little finds! She’s been needing a few bathing suits, and we found the two above (the blue one is Speedo brand, so would cost $37.95 new) for $1.50 each.

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I couldn’t resist this chair for $8 (watch for a fun DIY on that one – I love my other Goodwill chair!)

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. . . and these large candlesticks for $1 each. (I’d been looking for a similar set for my dining room, so these were perfect! This similar set is $74.99 over at Overstock.com, so I’m thinking $3 for the set is a pretty good price.) 😉

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While I was there I noticed this bed frame which I absolutely adored for $75 (all pieces included), 

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This cute stool for just $1,

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And this little nightstand that was pretty sturdy for $6.

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Because I have way too many projects on my hands I couldn’t bring that one home, but I love the idea of doing something like this to it. 

 

Have you found anything fun at Goodwill lately? I’d love to heat what you’ve scored! Leave a comment to share ~ I love hearing from you. 🙂

 

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Looking for more Goodwill fun? Here you go:

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Back To School At Staples: 7 Secrets You Need to Know Before You Shop

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Back To School at Staples: 7 Secrets You Need To Know Before You Shop

Oh my word. 

 

I have so much to tell you about Staples!

 

(I know. It’s that exciting, right?) 🙂

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This is the time of the year when Staples will be rocking out some incredible deals, and if you don’t know how to shop there you might just miss some savings.

 

Which I just can’t allow.

 

Because you’re my friend and I want you to save crazy big this Back to School season.

 

You’re welcome. 🙂

 

If you’re new to Staples shopping this should help. And if you’re a regular hopefully I’ll teach you a thing or two too.

 

Let’s get started.

 

1. Become a Staples Reward member. It’s free.

Just by signing up for Staples Rewards you’ll get 5% back on everything you spend, that you can use on anything available at Staples (including stamps!) Here are a few more benefits of Staples Rewards:

  • Free shipping on all Staples.com purchases that are $14.99 or more
  • $2 in rewards for every ink or toner cartridge you recycle if you spend at least $30 every 6 months on ink or toner at Staples
  • You’ll receive your Staples Rewards once you’ve earned $5 in Rewards via email or snail mail
  • Teachers get an additional 10% back in rewards on art and teaching supplies

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2. Watch the store sales ad.

 

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Staples offers a ton of crazy “loss leader” items each week in their ads, and these are the items you’ll want to focus on each week. For example right now (week of 7/11/16), they have 12 pack erasers for 25¢ (limit of 5.) Stock up on those each week to get some crazy savings!

 

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3. Also stock up during the back to school season on their “less list” items.

During the back to school season (July – September) Staples will has a “less list” that includes dozens of school supplies on sale at deeply discounted prices. These prices are competitive with Walmart and Target, and such a great way to save during this season.

(Get your free printable Walmart and Target Back To School Cheat Sheet here so you can see how the prices stack up.) 

 

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4. Sign up for emails to save $10 off your $50 purchase.

Save $10 off your $50 purchase when you sign up for Staples email updates ~ head on over HERE to sign up. 

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5. Sign up for text messages to save $5

Get $5 off your purchase of $25 or more when you text OFFERS to 555444. Love that!

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6. Watch your receipt for bonus savings.

Be sure to scan your receipt closely for extra savings. I had a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $20 or more ~ use those towards bigger back to school purchases to save even more.

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7. Take advantage of their 110% Price Match Guarantee.

Through 9/17/16, Staples will guarantee their competitor prices + give you an extra 10% off that price. Learn more HERE.

 

8. Pick up penny paper at Staples.

At least a few times a month, Staples offers paper for just a penny when you take advantage of their Easy Rebate program. You’ll pay $4-$7 out of pocket, but get that money back when you fill out a form online (no rebate form to mail in – they make it easy!) You get the rebate in the form of a Visa gift card to use at any store.

 

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9. Don’t miss their Better Binder Warranty.

I usually recommend getting inexpensive binders at Walmart and Target, however this might just make me change my mind. Staples offers a 100% guarantee on Better Binders, meaning if the binder wears out they’ll replace them for free. The binders are a little more expensive, but if your kids are like mine and wear theirs out quickly, it’s probably worth paying more for these!

 

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10. Get 25% off your entire back to school purchase when you buy a backpack at Staples.

Staples will give you 25% off your entire purchase when you buy a backpack. I think their backpacks are a little pricey, but especially if you have several kids to purchase supplies for, this could save a bundle!

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I’m betting you’ve found other ways to save at Staples, and I’d love to hear them (leave a comment to share!) I scored everything in the picture above for $13 yesterday, without clipping a single coupon. Next week I’ll head back with my $10 off $20 coupon (woohoo!) ~ can’t wait to stock up!

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Can’t get enough Back To School Shopping Tips? Here you go:

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DIY Platform Storage Bed On A Budget

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My friend Misty created this platform bed for her son, and I LOVED the idea! Here’s a peek at how she made it for under $100. 

 

My son turned 13 a couple of months ago, so I decided it was about time to get him out of his twin size bed that he has been in since he was 3!  The only problem was that the old bed had a lot of storage under it, and I did not want to give it up.  I started looking online for options to purchase, which were all too pricey, so I headed over to Pinterest to find ideas.  Here are a few of my favorites pins:

My favorite idea was the first one.  He has links to videos showing the entire process of his build, and I really liked the idea of using cabinets for the base. However, even Ikea cabinets would blow the budget, so I started my hunt for used kitchen or bath base cabinets that I could recycle.

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I thought they would be easy to find at thrift stores, but after a couple of weeks searching all the local thrift stores, the Habitat ReStore, and Craigslist, I had not found enough cabinets to match up to build the base.  On to plan B…I found these Better Homes and Gardens Square 4-Cube Organizers at Walmart for only $37.96 each.

 

I liked that these had a 100 lb. weight limit on the top of the cabinet.  I had also seen so many cute pallet wood projects on Pinterest, so I decided to go with the new storage units and the old pallet wood for the rest of the base.

 

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The next step in the hunting & gathering process was to find the mattress for the bed.  This was important because I needed the exact measurements, including the thickness, to determine the platform size of the base. I wanted the mattress to have a flat transition from the slats to top of the storage units so the mattress could overlap the top of the storage units.  I went with this mattress on Jet.com (also available at Amazon) which had great reviews and only cost $125 (after coupon).

 

I will say I enjoy building things and doing projects on my own, but I couldn’t have done this without my handy husband.  Fortunately we had most of the tools we needed and borrowed the rest so we didn’t have to spend anything on that.  We also had a lot of wood left over from rebuilding our fence a few years ago, so most of the 2×4’s we used came out of that.  We did have to buy three 2x4x96″ studs to run the length of the bed frame and six 1x3x96″ boards for the support slats. We also had to buy screws and a couple of 2×4 hanging brackets.

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You can also see in this picture that we decided to add a small headboard, which was not in my original idea.  We added it to provide a backstop for his pillows and a shelf for his alarm clock.  We used some of the longer old fence boards to create the headboard. After this step we added the 1×3 slats to the frame to support the mattress evenly and put the assembled storage units into place. (I did not permanently attach them to the base.)

 

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For the footboard, I used an old pallet.  I just measured the opening between the base posts and cut the pallet to fit. I’m planning to add a folding desktop to the footboard in the future…

 

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The last part of the project was creating a door to conceal the storage area.  I used a scrap piece of plywood for the back of the door then cut pieces of pallet wood to screw to the front creating a really rustic look.  We had already positioned 2 support posts to the base of the bed where I wanted the door to go.  We attached 2 hinges between one of the support posts and the door.

 

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All in all we ended up spending right at $100 for the materials to build this bed, not including the mattress!  My son loves it, and I’m happy to still have a place to hide the Legos and other stuff that he isn’t quite ready to get rid of yet. 🙂

 

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How to Save on Grocery Bills by Shopping *THESE* 7 Weeks a Year

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I was thinking about all the great deals going on this week at Publix, Kroger, Walmart and Target, and it dawned on me that there are really 7 weeks each year that you need to grocery shop . . . and one of them is right upon us! As we’re gearing up for grilling out, the corporate folks at our favorite grocery stores have everything strategically planned around what they know we’ll buy.

Which means all we have to do is outsmart them. 🙂 

Here’s how to save on grocery bills by strategically shopping these 7 BIG weeks of each year.

There are seven big shopping cycles each year that are absolutely the best weeks to shop, because stores know we’re ready to shell out some cash. These are the weeks that stores will have seasonal items on sale for their lowest prices of the year, so you can easily stock up.

 

Curious which weeks they are? Here we go!

 

(ranked in order leading up to the very *best* times to grocery shop)

How to Save on Grocery Bills – Shop THESE 7 Weeks:

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7. Super Bowl

Come February when we’re all ready to make every appetizer on the planet, retailers are stocking their shelves with great prices on everything you’ll need to whip up a bit batch of chili. Stock up during Super Bowl on these items:

  • paper products
  • canned tomatoes
  • beans
  • tortilla chips
  • cream cheese
  • sour cream
  • soda
  • canned goods
  • chips and dips

6. Labor Day
  • chips
  • soda
  • ground beef, ribs, boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • corn
  • apples
  • cereal
  • snack size mixes (for back to school)
  • uncrustables
  • everything back to school

5. Memorial Day
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • chips and dips
  • condiments
  • marinades
  • hamburger and hotdog buns
  • chips and salsa

4. 4th of July
  • blueberries
  • peaches
  • watermelon
  • cherries
  • marinades
  • chips and dips
  • angel food cake
  • baked beans
  • condiments
  • beef
  • firewords
  • soda
  • paper products
  • bug spray, sunscreen

3. Easter
  • canned veggies
  • cream soups
  • ham
  • baking supplies – flour, sugar, brown sugar
  • Nestle tollhouse
  • butter
  • eggs
  • vinegar
  • Sister Schuber rolls
  • candy

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2. Christmas
  • oranges
  • baking supplies
  • Nestle morsels
  • ham, turkey
  • stuffing mix
  • Sister Schubert rolls
  • cranberry sauce
  • hot chocolate
  • butter
  • eggs
  • boxed potatoes, gravy
  • cream soups
  • canned pumpkin

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1. Thanksgiving
  • pumpkin
  • apples
  • baking supplies
  • Nestle morsels
  • ham, turkey
  • stuffing mix
  • Sister Schubert rolls
  • cranberry sauce
  • hot chocolate
  • butter
  • eggs
  • boxed potatoes, gravy
  • cream soups
  • canned pumpkin

how to save on grocery bills during THESE 7 weeks

Have you found other seasonal cycles that are worth shopping? I’d love to hear which are your favorite weeks to shop! Leave a comment to share.

And if you have other tips and tricks for how to save on grocery bills – I always love to hear them!

 

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Looking for more savings tips and tricks? Here you go: 

 

 

 

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Kroger Mega Madness: I Really Do Love Coupons!

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It’s been ages since I’ve had a great grocery trip, and our family was in sore need of some pantry basics this week. While I keep our fridge pretty well stocked with chicken, milk, fresh fruits and veggies each week (mostly thanks to our local Fresh Thyme), we were just low on kids snacks for the summer, paper products, and cheese.

 

So Reagan and I had a girls night out (we’re so wild, aren’t we?) 🙂 and she helped me save a load of moo-lah at Kroger this week. And, because it was Sunday we earned double fuel points as well which will help with filling up for gas this summer ~ love that!

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We spent $51.40 and saved $69 – not too shabby (proof that this penny pincher can still penny pinch!) 🙂

 

Here are a few of my favorite deals from the list: 

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Kettle Brand Potato Chips $1.88 (not Mega Sale)

 

 

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Country Time or Tang $.99 after Mega Sale

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Dial Bar Soap $3.49 after Kroger Mega Sale 

Suave Kids Soap $1.49

 

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Kraft Cheese $1.88 after Kroger Mega Sale

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Pace Salsa $1.99, get $1.50 off your next order when you buy 2

  • Makes them $1.24 after catalina

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Kroger Pretzels 3/$5, get $1 off your next purchase when you buy 3

  • Makes them $1.33 per bag after catalina

And here’s the complete list of what I bought this week:

Transaction #1

Bought 3 Kroger Pretzels $5

Bought 2 Pace Salsa $1.99

  • Paid $8.98 out of pocket, got back $2.50 in catalinas to use on next purchase

Transaction #2

Bought 2 Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Treats $1.49 after Mega Sale

Bought 4 bags Kettle Chips $1.88

Bought 2 Hefty Storage Bags $1.99

Bought 2 bags Sargento Cheese $2.49 after Kroger Mega Sale

Bought 2 bags Kraft Cheese $1.88 after Kroger mega sale

Bought 2 boxes Hamburger Helper $.99 after Kroger Mega sale (great to donate!)

  • Used $.50/1 Hamburger Helper coupon I’d gotten at a recent Kroger event

Bought 2 Dial Bar Soap $3.49 after Kroger Mega Sale

Bought 2 package Chicken of the Sea Tuna $.79 after Kroger Mega Sale

Bought 1 Kroger Flour $1.79

  • Used $.30/1 Kroger Flour coupon mailed home in recent mailer

Bought 3 Country Time & Tang Lemonade $.99 after Kroger Mega Sale

Bought Bounty Basic Paper Towels 8 Rolls $6.49 after Kroger Mega Sale

Bought 2 Cool Whip $.99 after Kroger Mega Sale

Bought 2 Eggo Waffles $1.99 after Kroger Mega Sale

Bought 2 General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch $1.49 after Kroger Mega Sale

  • Used (2) $1/1 General Mills Cereal from recent Kroger event

Bought 1 Hidden Valley Ranch Greek Dressing $2.49 after Kroger Mega Sale

Bought 1 Breyer’s Ice Cream $2.49 after Kroger Mega Event

Bought 4 Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks $1.49 after Kroger Mega Event

Bought 1 Trident Gum $1.49 after Kroger Mega Event ($.50 per pack – good price!)

Bought 2 Smucker’s Ice Cream Toppings $2

Bought 1 Suave Shampoo $1.49 after Kroger Mega Event

Total for both trips: $51.50 after coupons and rebates, saved $69

 

 

If you have a few minutes, hurry over to the Kroger Mega Sale this week ~ these deals are good through 7/5/16, so you have plenty of time to stock up!

 

See all the deals at Kroger this week, and check out the complete Kroger weekly ad to plan your trip before you go.

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Our 20 Year Anniversary Trip (And What We’ve Learned Along The Way)

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We’ve just been to the most amazing place. 

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Last Tuesday night my husband and I flew to Calgary, Canada and then drove over to Banff to stay at the Fairmont Banff Resort.

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It was incredible.

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I turned 40 back in November and our 20th Anniversary is tomorrow, so for Christmas James surprised me with a “we-really-have-survived-this-long-so-we-need-to-go-somewhere-amazing” trip.  

 

No kids.

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Lake Louise

No internet. (Well, very little internet.)

 

No plans.

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Lake Agnes Tea Room

Perfection. 

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(Y’all, I like my kids and would miss them if we’d been gone much longer, but 4 days without hearing Mommmmmm was just a nice little reprieve during summer break!)

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We hiked.

 

And hiked.

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And HIKED.

 

a lot.

 

canada3Johnston Canyon Trail

On one trail we literally climbed straight up for 2.5 hours, but when we reached the top, the views were worth every step.

 

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As we were climbing for what seemed like an eternity, I couldn’t help but think of how many ways determining to keep hiking was so similar to sticking to a budget.

 

There were several moments when I just wanted to quit, turn around, and head back down the mountain. But a few things kept me going, and they might just help you if you’re trying to stick towards budgeting too.

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1) Don’t go alone.

Having James determined to reach the top just a few steps ahead of me was such motivation. If I’d been on my own I undoubtedly would have given up way before the top of the mountain, and never have seen the views that you can only see when you reach the top.

 

 

If you’re struggling to stick to your budget, have your spouse or a friend join you as you go. Decide concrete goals and share them with one another, set your plan in advance, and encourage one another so you don’t turn around before you reach the finish line.

 

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Fresh snow as we hiked up ~ in June?

2) Sometimes you’ll need to slow down.

As we were climbing, there were times when we just had to slow down a bit. It wasn’t that we were going to completely quit, but we couldn’t race ahead at the same speed we’d been going and just needed a few minutes to slow down.

 

There are times in your finances where emergencies arise, life changes, and you can’t fight as hard at whittling down your debt as you normally would. 

 

But that doesn’t mean you give up. 

 

Instead, keep going even as you slow down a bit, and don’t lose sight of your long term goal.

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3) You will want to quit.

 

did you hear me?

 

YOU WILL WANT TO QUIT. 

 

(Folks, I wouldn’t say it out loud to my sweet hubby who’d just had a heart attack 5 weeks prior to this trip and was still hiking like a pro, but there were plenty of moments when we were climbing that I WANTED TO QUIT.) 

 

But don’t quit. 

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Remember your goal. Remember changing your finances is worth. it. And know that you’re definitely not the only one who would like to turn around.

 

But you’ll never see the top of the mountain if you turn around, so pull up those big girl panties and just keep moving.

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The view of Lake Louise from the top of one of the trails – at the top of the lake on the right if you look closely you can see the Fairmont Inn Lake Louise where the trail started from ~ it took us about 2 hours to get to the top!

4) Once you reach the peak you’ll barely remember the struggle.

As we climbed and climbed and climbed straight up for what seemed like forever I thought I would never forget quite how miserable some of those steps were. (Y’all, we were huffing and puffing along the way ~ 200 flights up is no easy feat!)

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Foyer of the Fairmont Banff Resort

But the minute we reached the top I totally forgot just how long the hike was, and was ready to find another mountain to hike the next day.

 

Once your finances are in order, you will remember the sacrifice, but the victory is so sweet that you won’t regret the steps one bit. 

 

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5) The view from the top is amazing.

 

Twenty years ago when James and I got married I would never-ever-never have anticipated where we would be at financially today. For years we’ve worked to whittle down student loans, paid off car payments, and chosen to live on a budget to reach our long term goals.

 

Even on days when we didn’t really want to we skipped dinners out, chose second hand clothes, and clipped coupons to eek out every last penny we could.

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Twenty years later, good gravy, the view is amazing and worth every step.

 

Having the financial resources that allow us to enjoy crazy amazing trips, take care of our family, and give abundantly is so much more than I ever dreamed.

 

Decide that this is worth it. Know that the sweetness you’ll find on top will be worth the temporary sacrifice you’re making today.

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It’s worth it. I promise.

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I just can’t imagine a better view.

 

Have you been able to tackle your family’s finances and seen success? I’d love to hear what’s made reaching your goals more manageable ~ leave a comment to shareHere are a few more posts you may be interested in:

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Staples Price Match Guarantee

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Staples Price Match Guarantee

 

So excited to see this back again this year!

 

You. guys.

 

I have some seriously (seriously) exciting information for you.

 

For. real.

 

Did you know that Staples will price match other store’s sales ads a whopping 110%? 

 

I love that!

Apparently they started a few years ago offering this during the summertime, and I just checked and sure enough they’re offering it again this summer. 

 

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Okie dokie, so ready for the details? Here we go:

  • Staples will price match 110% any retail or online store through 9/17/16 (their online policy mentions Amazon ~ I’m not positive that you’ll be able to just show them a price on your Smartphone but from what I can tell that should work.)
  • Staples will only price match items on name brand items that are the identical item, including model number.
  • Staples does not price match rebates that go beyond the sale price.
  • To get a price match, you need to have proof of the sale price and then just request the price from your cashier.
  • Staples will refund the difference in price up to 14 days after purchase if you find a lower price elsewhere after you purchase.
  • Read more about their price matching policy over HERE.

 

The Staples savings are just starting out this week (nothing too exciting, but in the next few weeks we’ll see oodles of deals!) And don’t forget you can also price match at Walmart, so that may be another option if you don’t have a Staples in your area. Leave a comment to share how price matching has worked for you ~ I love hearing from you!

 

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Fluffed Up Chalkboard Door Hanger

I just fell in love with this cute fluffed up chalkboard door hanger and I know you will too!  Such a fun way to fluff up that front door for the summer and you can even use real flowers from your yard!

 

 

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Here is what you need to get started:

 

  • Old metal door hanging basket or tin
  • Spray paint
  • Painters tape
  • Chalk paint
  • Foam paint brush
  • Chalk
  • Flowers
  • Newspaper

 

First, you will need to search your local resale stores (or even your closets if you’re like me) for a hanging basket or tin.

 

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Next you’ll spray paint your hanging basket or tin.  Lay your tin on top of newspaper outside and spray paint it any color you like.  Make sure to let it dry completely.

 

(A great tip to avoid the newspaper getting in the way of your paint is to place rocks on each corner … so smart!)

 

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Once your basket or tin is dry, tape off a small rectangle or square with painters tape for the chalkboard area.

 

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Use your foam paint brush to paint the inside of the square with black chalk paint, let this dry and then add a second coat.  When your paint is dry, peel your tape off very carefully.

 

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Write WELCOME on the front and fill with any flowers you like.  I love that you can change WELCOME to anything!

 

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Hang this cuteness on your door and enjoy your fluffed up chalkboard door hanger!

 

Looking to do more fluffing up?  Here you go . . .

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10 Secrets to Saving at Toys R Us

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Shopping for the kiddos at Toys R Us can be expensive – but there are ways to save big even at this mega toy store!  Here are 10 Secrets to Saving at Toys R Us…

 

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1 . First, sign up for a Rewards R Us card.  

Once you’re signed up for this program, all your purchases can start earning rewards.  You’ll get $5 in Store Credit for ever 125 points you accumulate at Toys R Us or Babies R Us.  Sign up is easy and free – start here!

 

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2 . Toys R Us Price Matching

Toys R Us will match competitors’ printed ads and online retailers including Walmart, Amazon, Target, Diapers.com and Best Buy.   So if you find an awesome deal at Target – but they’re out of stock – just take the ad in to Toys R Us for a price match.

Price matching is only valid for in-store purchases.  Check out all the rules and details about price-matching at Toys R Us here.

 
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3 .  Kids Get a Gift On Birthdays!

This was one I didn’t know about and it’s SO fun!  Sign up for the Geoffrey’s Birthday Club here and your child will receive a call, a card AND a gift on their birthday ($3 to spend in store) until they’re 10!  Plus, if you visit on your child’s birthday, they will get a crown and a special announcement in the store about their special day.

You’ll need to already be a Rewards R Us member to join the birthday club – so make sure you do that first!

 
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4 .  Toys R Us accepts Coupons!

Toys R Us accepts manufacturer coupons – so keep your eyes peeled.  We often see coupons on items like Hasbro Games, Barbie, and Play-Doh products on Coupons.com.   Check the Coupons.com Toy Category link here to see if any are available before you shop!
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5 . Get CRAZY Cheap Board GAMES

A couple times a year (usually right before Christmas) you can get board games for a song at Toys R Us!  During “The Biggest Game Sale of the Year” we see games as low as $1.  Some games that are priced higher will have rebates available as well.  And if there are any coupons available (as we mentioned above) – things can get EXTRA awesome.

This crazy deal is possible when select games go on sale for $5, and there is a $2 Hasbro Rebate available,  by combining $5 Sale prices with rebates.
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6 . FREE Shipping at $19!

Unlike Amazon or Walmart – you don’t have to hit $49 to get Free Shipping.  At Toys R Us, just reach $19 to get FREE 6-9 Day Shipping on most items!  You can also choose FREE Store Pickup if the item is in stock nearby.
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7 . Gift Card offers, Rebates, & Sweepstakes

Toys R Us occasionally will have special gift card deals, offers or rebates, which will be listed here. For instance – the big Hasbro game sale usually goes hand in hand with a nice batch of Toys R Us Rebates – like this list shown above (although those are void now).

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Also keep a lookout for gift card deals – mostly on diaper boxes.  Those can make for some GREAT savings when combined with coupons!

 

 

 

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8 . Browse the Clearance Section!

I make a beeline to the clearance section of just about ANY store- and Toys R Us is no different!  Head over to the online clearance section to find some crazy low prices on out of season toys or clothing.

 

 

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9 .  Check for Toys R Us Store Coupons 

Toys R Us occasionally has it’s own coupons that you can print or use online (as a code)  – for instance, we recently saw a new 25% OFF Coupon good towards any partyware, greeting cards, gift wrap, bags, bows, party favors, piñatas, etc… (Babies R Us has some good coupons too!) Check to see what coupons are available here.

 

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10 .  Snag Discounted Toys R Us Giftcards

Sometimes Ebay offers discounted giftcards for restaurants, retail stores and even Toys R Us.  Just recently we had an offer for a $50 giftcard for $40 – but it sold out fast!  Head over HERE to see if there are any available currently!

 

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You might also like these posts:

DIY Lego Tray Table
7 Secrets to Saving on Apple Products
10 Secrets to Saving Online

 

 

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10 Best Car Games for Kids to Play

car games for kids to play

 

If you’re planning a big roadtrip with kids in tow, you’re probably wondering how to fill up all those miles with fun instead of complaining. 🙂   Here are 10 car games for kids to play that will help keep the peace AND help everyone have a good time!

We’ve made SO many long roadtrips and my sweet hubby really doesn’t like the kids to spend too much time with their eyes glued to screens, so it means we have to plan ahead and get creative.   These are some of my favorite ideas:

10 BEST Car Games for Kids to Play

 

1 .  Road Trip Bingo

This is one I remember doing as a kid – such a fun and simple game that lets the kids be competitive with each other, forces them to check out the scenery, and just about any age can join in!

You can print your own road trip bingo (along with a couple other games) here – or pick up these super cute ones that have little closing windows to help keep track of your finds. (I love these!!)

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2 . I Spy

“I Spy” is a total classic car ride game – and getting the kids to guess what you’re thinking of helps keep everyone engaged together.

The first person starts the game by silently picking out an object with their eyes and then saying “I spy with my little eye, something that is …. (name the colors of that object)”

Everyone takes turns guessing the object until someone gets it right.  Best to let the kids know the object needs to be IN the car – or else you’ll pass it by before anyone can guess it.

Another game that’s very similar to this is Spot It! on the Road.  Might be worth a try – those reviews are awesome!!

 

3 .  Story Puzzles

Story puzzles are so easy to do with the whole family – and usually involve lots of giggling.  

The kids take turns putting a story together one puzzle piece at a time – changing it up as they go until it takes on a crazy fun life of its own.  One person starts the story (i.e. Once there was a boy names Jack who had a pet dinosaur….)

…and then they “pass” it on to the person to the left.  That person can then add anything they want to the story (i.e. …. a pet dinosaur named Princess Petunia!  Who ran away from home because….”)

These can go on as long as everyone is having fun!

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5 . Mad Libs

Mad Libs are always fun to play in the car – and if you’re making up little goody bags for the trip, these can be a fun little extra surprise the kids find in their bag.

Another good idea for trip bags is a new pack of gel pens or some kind of fun art supplies.

6 . The Movie Game

One of my favorite car games for kids to play is the movie game (even though I’m kind of terrible at it!)  This game is great because it’s all about the movies YOUR family knows and loves (whether it’s The Little Mermaid or Napoleon Dynamite)

The first person starts the game by saying a quote from a movie (one that everyone should know).  Everyone shouts out what they believe the movie to be.  Whoever is right, will think of the next quote, and so on.

You can also play this game with the littler ones by saying a character from a movie, instead of a quote. (i.e. Ursula : The Little Mermaid)

 

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7 . DIY LEGO Tray

This DIY Lego Tray table is just one of my favorite ideas ever – and it would be SO perfect for a road trip!  Bring  a ziploc baggy of LEGO’s along and let the kids spend hours letting their imaginations run away with them.

 

8 . Hangman

Hangman is another classic game that requires very little supplies – but can keep the kids busy forever!  

You can even print out this handy little hangman sheet and make your own game cards.

 

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9 . The License Plate Game

Have the kids try to spot license plates from as many states as possible during the trip.  It keeps them looking out the window and checking out what’s around them.  You can even print out a nice license plate game printable over here!

 

10 . The Radio Game – or Name That Tune

Out of all these car games for kids to play – this one is probably the best suited for teens – and one mom and dad can have fun with too 🙂

Hit seek on the radio, and the first song it gets to stop it.  Whoever can name the song’s artist wins 1 point. Play to 10 points, or until it gets old!

For the littler guys do “Name That Tune” instead – simply take turns humming a tune and see who will be the first to guess it

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A couple more ideas to pass the time:

  • Kumon Books are amazing – and great ways to keep the little ones learning over the summertime.
  • Car DVD players are SO helpful with the little ones – even if you don’t use it alot, there is something to be said for 2 hours of peace and quiet 😉
  • Books on CD – like this FREE Audible Narration of Tom Sawyer – will give everyone some calm quiet time.

Do you have any favorite car games for kids to play on roadtrips?  I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear about them!!  (I can always use new ideas)

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Check out more ideas for long car rides in this post Frugal Road Trip Fun!

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