The Power of $3 A Day

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Did you know that just $3 each day can save you over $45,000 dollars? 

 

Let’s think about what $3 each day looks like. You could save . . . 

 

 

Curious how that $3 a day in savings is going to earn you a whopping $45,000?

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First, start out with the math.

 

$3 x 365 days a year = $1095

 

Take that $3 each day and apply it to your mortgage, and you’ll pay a little over $90 extra each month, or $1095 in a year.

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Now, head over to this fancy mortgage calculator and see how simply by choosing to pay a few extra dollars on your mortgage each day, you’ll save a whopping $45,000.

 

Crazy!

 

Recently I’ve been thinking quite a bit about ways to change our mortgage (since we just moved last summer and are 39 and 44, I hate the thought of paying on a mortgage until my husband is 73!) We knew when we moved that we’d work toward paying that mortgage off sooner, and are already making an extra payment each year, but would like to work a little more aggressively than that.

 

So, over the weekend I started talking about it with my husband, and did a little research this morning. It turns out that if we choose to make an extra house payment each quarter we’ll shave eleven years off our mortgage, so that’s what we’re planning to work towards right now.

 

Clipping a few coupons and saving at the grocery store is an easy way for us to focus on our long term financial goals instead of splurging too much on little things here and thereWhen you just look at the math and the long term potential that saving a little money each day can make, it’s so worth wisely spending your money each day!

 

Have you come up with other ways to save on your mortgage? I’d love to hear your tips ~ leave a comment to share! And, if you’re new to budgeting and just don’t know where to start, I highly recommend reading Dave Ramsey’s Book Financial Peace or Total Money Makeover to get started on the right track.

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16 Items You Should Be Buying On Amazon

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NOTE: If you use coupons on many items along with store sales ads, your prices may be less expensive than Amazon. HOWEVER, if you’re not willing to really clip coupons and watch those sales ads, Amazon may offer some easy savings for you.

Do you love shopping Amazon? For many of us, Amazon offers easy savings (and convenience) on thousands of items, delivered right to our door. But it’s important to know what items really are great prices, and which items are worth heading to your local store for. My general rule of thumb is to check Amazon for anything I would make a quick trip to Walmart for, because so many items end up being less money, with no stress. I love that!

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Here’s my list of 15 items you should (almost always) be buying on Amazon . . .

 

 

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1. Toilet paper. 

Amazon consistently offers great prices on toilet paper, just about every single day. While these savings may not be quite as good as shopping at your local grocery store with a coupon (although often they win!), they are frequently less than Sam’s or Costco, plus you get the convenience of having them delivered to your door. To make sure you’re getting the price, scan the “$.xx/count” on this page for the lowest price per count and check for any extra coupons they’re offering.

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2. Diapers, Swim Diapers & Pull Ups

Amazon’s prices on diapers are so good, unless you get a crazy fun deal at the drug stores using coupons. However, I’ve often calculated Amazon’s price per diaper and found them to beat even prices at local stores after coupons, so it’s definitely worth watching for their sales! To find the best price, do the math to find the lowest price per diaper on size 1 diapers HERE, and know that your price will go up per size.

 

(Typically I aim to find a deal priced around 10¢ per Size 1 diaper for Luvs, or 12¢ per diaper for Huggies or Pampers, after coupons and Amazon’s subscribe and save program.) 

 

3. Baby Wipes.

Occasionally local grocery stores offer a great price on smaller packed wipes after a high value coupon, but typically you can find baby wipes on Amazon from 1¢ to 2¢ per wipe after you subscribe and save (and clip whatever coupons they have available.) If you have babies or small children and go through large quantities of baby wipes, this is a great (easy!) way to save!

 

(Note: On Amazon subscribe and save items you’ll need to subscribe to shipment for an item, but can cancel your subscription once your order arrives in the subscription section of your Amazon account. I usually set mine to ship 6 months apart so I have plenty of time to cancel an order if I need to!)

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4. Books.

Amazon has fantastic prices on most books just about every day, and if you don’t mind buying used you can save a bundle on those as well! Be sure to note shipping prices on used books though as those sometimes negate the savings on the book themselves ~ go HERE to search Amazon’s extensive book selection.

5. Blu Rays & DVDs.

There are hundreds of deals every day on DVDs and Blu Rays at Amazon, and you can find a huge selection available for less than $5! These often go up and down in price, so be sure to follow the PPP Facebook page to keep up with quick price breaks when they happen.

 

4. Department store makeup.

If you wear department store makeup (Estee Lauder, Clinique, Lancome, etc), and an item you need is not in “gift” at your local store (where they offer a special free gift when purchasing), Amazon is a great way to easily get your makeup. I order my Estee Lauder from them just about all the time (my one big splurge!), mostly because it saves me a trip to the mall and it’s just convenient.

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5. Drug store brand makeup on sale with coupons.

Amazon has a huge selection of makeup that goes on sale pretty heftily every month with their special coupons. Right now there’s a $1 off Cover Girl Makeup coupon, valid on eye shadow, mascara, blush and more, and when you add that to the subscribe and save discounts you can get them for as low as $1.35, delivered to your door. I usually can’t beat those savings even with coupons, so this is a great convenient way for me to save without leaving my house!

 

6. Personal care items.

If you watch Amazon’s extra coupon savings, they regularly have digital coupons on shampoo, conditioner, feminine care products, body wash and more. By watching for those savings I’ve gotten them on sale for substantially less than I would pay at Walmart, and of course love that they bring them to my door! (For an idea of the savings you can see on these, go HERE and HERE. They don’t happen all the time, but if you subscribe to PPP daily emails I’ll be sure to alert you when I see these savings.)

 

7. Select cleaning products.

There are dozens of items that Amazon offers high value coupons on each month, which offer some great savings (and prices just about always less than Sam’s or Costco – so you don’t need a membership!) Here are a few of my favorite deals that come up fairly regularly on Amazon . . .

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8. Toys & games.

There are typically great deals on Amazon on toys and games, but it’s worth taking a few minutes to do some research before ordering. I usually compare the Amazon prices to those at Walmart and Kohl’s to verify they really are a great deal, but most of the time Amazon either meets or exceeds their savings.  (Not always though, so definitely do your homework!)

 

You can also check out camelcamelcamel.com to see a price history of items on Amazon to know if you really are getting a fantastic price.

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9. Gift cards.

Amazon offers special Lightning Gift Card deals regularly, which typically will save $5-$10 off a $50 gift card. Combine that savings with a restaurant coupon, and those savings can really add up!

10. Pet toys (not pet food.)

I have consistently found great prices on pet toys at Amazon, compared to the crazy high price you’ll often see at specialty pet stores. I haven’t seen decent savings on pet food, but if you’re looking for just toys you can save a bundle. (Our dog’s favorite is this one – he’s loved it)!

 

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11. Housewares.

Not every item at Amazon is always at the lowest price in their housewares department, but if you do a little research you can often get great prices by waiting for a deal. I’ve purchased most of my Pyrex, all of my pots and pans, and of course my crockpot when they’ve been deeply discounted on Amazon. 

(Not sure how to find the best deal? I watch Amazon deals every day for you – go HERE to see a running list, and subscribe to free daily emails so you never miss these deals.)

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12. Gold Box Daily deals.

Amazon has fantastic Gold Box Deals available every day, and they just about always offer them for the lowest price that sale item has ever dropped to. Go HERE to see today’s Gold Box deals.

13. Daily Lightning deals.

In addition to Amazon’s Gold Box deals they also have Lightning deals that last just a few hours each day, and can offer some pretty substantial savings. Go HERE to check those out.

14. Free eBooks.

Amazon has hundreds (hundreds!) of free ebooks available every day – go HERE to see what’s included today.

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15. Free movies courtesy of Amazon Prime.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member (the cost is $99 per year), stream hundreds of free movie and tv shows from your computer, or even on the Amazon Prime Video App. I use this almost every morning at the gym (have watched Downton Abbey, Parenthood, and dozens of movies on it), and love that I don’t have to have a separate Netflix account to watch these.

16. Free books, photo storage, and music courtesy of Amazon Prime.

You can also enjoy one free Kindle book download each month from Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library when you’re an Amazon Prime Member (works on Kindle apps too), as well as free photo storage, free Amazon Prime Music. If you’re not sure about paying for Amazon Prime, you can try it out for free for one month to see what you think. 

Having Amazon Prime definitely makes me more apt to use Amazon (which saves me running out for just one item when I need it), and is a huge time saver for me. I do think you can sometimes get better deals if you have time to use coupons matched up with the sales ad (use this search engine HERE to always find the best deals), but often Amazon works for me!What else would you add to the list, or what items do you think don’t work for you? Leave a comment to share – I love hearing from you!

I do make a commission on Amazon purchases which help support the work here on PPP everyday – if you’d prefer not to shop through my links feel free to visit Amazon directly – I totally understand but really do love Amazon savings so thought I’d share this list with you!)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.

Remember that pricing on Amazon is subject to change at any time.

 

This post contains affiliate links which help support this site.  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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16 {Easy} Ways to Save $1000 On Your Next Road Trip

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Planning a vacation this summer? It’s so easy for even short vacations to bust your budget, but there are a ton of simple ways to save every single day on the road. Our family loves to travel (in fact writing this post has me already dreaming up summer trips), so finding things we can do to save along the way makes it a wee bit easier around here.

 

Here are a few things that have worked for us . . . 

{Note: Savings based on a family of 5, 2 adults, 1 teenager, and 2 children. Estimated trip is 5 nights long and includes 6 tanks of gas.}

 

Save on Food

1. Pack a picnic lunch and stop at a rest area while driving. (This is one of our favorite ways to save and best vacation memories ~ we always pack a frisbee so the kids can run around while we stop!)

  • savings: $30 each stop x 2 = $60

2. Shop a local Aldi store while traveling for extra groceries on the road.

  • savings: up to $60 depending on the amount of groceries you purchase

3. Take advantage of Restaurant.com gift cards for nicer restaurant meals.

  • savings: typically $25 off a restaurant $50 gift card – be sure to note that they typically require a minimum amount spent so you’ll want to read the fine print prior to ordering, and be sure to check out extra discount codes before you purchase (usually available on their main page)

4. Eat a meal at Sam’s or Costco if you have a membership.

  • savings: $20-$30, depending on the size of your family x 2 = $60

5. Pack breakfast bars and eat lunch early to skip buying a full meal for breakfast. 

  • savings: $25 x 2 = $50

6. Pack drinks for the road instead of buying them at restaurants or gas stations.

  • savings = $30 per day x 5 days = $150

7. Take advantage of kids eat free restaurants (find restaurant options HERE and HERE)

  • savings = $10 per meal x 3 = $30 
Save on Hotels

8. Check Priceline to get the best prices on hotels each night, or VRBO if you’re staying in a condo. (May also want to consider staying instead in a hotel like Hampton Inn that offers complimentary breakfast, which would save around $25 for a family of 5.)

  • savings: up to $50 off each night, estimated savings based on $25 per night = $125

9. Visit a friend or relative while traveling and spend the night with them

  • savings = $100 per night x 1 = $100
Save on Gas

10. Use the Gas Buddy App to find the best price on gas in your area.

  • savings: up to $4 per tank of gas x 6 = $24

11. Take advantage of fuel points at Kroger or Giant Eagle (or other stores) with their summer fuel perks programs.

  • savings: up to $1 off per gallon or $17 per tank of gas x 2 = $34

 

Save on Entertainment

12. Instead of visiting expensive museums or aquariums, take a family friendly hike (find family hiking options HERE),

visit state capitals along the way, 

check out college campuses to give your kids a peek of college life, 

or tour local factories that offer free tours. 

  • savings = $100, depending on cost of museum

 

13.  Check out Groupon in the town you’re visiting and see if they’re offering any special discounts on activities you’d like to do.

  • savings = $25 (will vary by offer)

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14. Pack “treat” bags for the road using Dollar Tree items to help your kids manage longer driving distances

  • savings = $20 compared to purchasing things along the way

and skip souvenirs and buy postcards instead to create a souvenir booklet or let your kids pick up free local maps at rest areas to remember where they’ve visited

  • savings: $10-$15 per souvenir x 3 kids x 2 = $90

 

Save on Miscellaneous Extras

15. Get books and DVDs from your local library to read on the trip.

  • savings: $45 on reading materials for your trip

16. Take sample size laundry detergent with you so you don’t have to purchase it while traveling (great way to use up those free sample size items!)

  • savings = $10

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TOTAL SAVINGS = $1008  . . . it really adds up!
Do you have any other tips on saving while on a road trip? I’d love to hear them ~ leave a comment to share!
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20 Items You Need To Buy At Aldi (And What You Should Skip At Your Aldi Store Too)

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Do you have an Aldi in your area? If so, there are so many items that you can easily save on, but definitely some things you should never (ever?) purchase while you’re there. Watch the video to get an idea, then read through the list and share your comments too.

 

Here are the 20 items you need to buy at Aldi . . .

1. Produce included in their sale ad each week. Most of Aldi’s produce prices are very reasonable, but the items included in their sale ad are where you’ll see the best deals. Make sure to check to the quality of the produce before purchasing (it’s definitely hit or miss at some stores), but I’ve been pleased with most of the produce I’ve found at our local Aldi!

2. Bananas ($.44/lb – will vary by area)

2. Spices and seasonings ($.99)

3. Flour and sugar ($1,99), including whole wheat flour ($2.79), brown sugar ($1.29), and powdered sugar ($1.29)

4. Imitation vanilla ($1.99)

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5. Minced garlic (1.99)

6. Semi Sweet Morsels ($1.59)

7. Yeast 3 pack ($.79)

8. Honey ($4.99)

9. Maraschino Cherries ($1.59)

10. Pancake Syrup ($1.59)

11. Milk ($2.29 – will vary by area)

12. Eggs ($1.49 – will vary by store)

14. Cheese (string cheese, shredded cheese – unless your local grocery store has  a great sale)

15. Flour Tortillas ($1.19)

16. Fruit Gel Bowls ($1.79)

17. Chips ($1.69) & Salsa ($1.89)

18. Hazelnut Spread (aka Nutella – tastes just like the real thing, $1.99)

19. Snack Items – pretzels ($1.29), bagged chips ($1.49), Chocolate Cream Cookies (basically Oreos, $1.69)

20. Gluten Free & Organic Foods. Aldi has been adding a ton of gluten free and organic foods to their stores recently, and their prices seem very reasonable on these. If you shop for those items, it’s definitely worth swinging by to check them out!

 

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So, curious what I don’t think you should buy at Aldi? Here are my top five items . . .

1. Diapers. Pampers were $24.79 for size 3 at my store or 23¢ per diaper. You can easily shop at Amazon where the same size Pampers are 16¢ per diaper when you clip the $3 off coupon in the middle of the page and choose to subscribe and save (see even better prices right now on diapers at Amazon over HERE)

2. K Cups. The Barrisimo Brand K Cups were $4.79 for a 12 pack at my store, which makes them $.39 each. Amazon sells these regularly for $.33 per K Cup, and you may find an even better deal if you wait for a sale at your local grocery store.

3. Pringles. Pringles were $1.45 at my store – you can usually find these on sale for around $1 if you wait for a sale.

4. Coca Cola 12 packs. These were $4.45 for the 12 pack, and I’ve frequently seen them on sale at CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid for less than $3 per pack, or get the generic store brand at Kroger, Publix or your local grocer to save even more!

5. Meat. Although I’ve heard so many folks questioning the safety of Aldi meat, I really believe it is just fine. However, we don’t buy meat at Aldi because I consistently find better prices at my local grocery store, as well as local specialty stores like Fresh Thyme, Sprouts, and Earth Fare.

For me even the Aldi sales aren’t good enough to make me switch over, so I’ll keep purchasing meat at other stores. (Make sure you know what a good price is – get my free stock up price list HERE so you never pay too much!)

 

 

Okie dokie ~ what would you add to the list? My rule of thumb is to never purchase name brands at Aldi because they consistently seem very high to me, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on that one. Leave a comment to share your thoughts and what I’ve missed – I love hearing from you!

What to Buy at The Dollar Tree

Looking for more posts like this? Here you go . . .

 

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My Teensy Tiny Couponing Pet Peeve

 

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Maybe like a few of you out there, I have a teensy-tiny couponing pet-peeve.

 

Over (and over, and over. . .) I hear people complain that they just don’t have time to coupon.  They work, have busy families, spend time driving kiddos to every activity in town, so couponing just can’t happen.

 

I get that.  Really, I do.

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However, I spend one to two hours each week (clipping, sorting, and shopping) to save an average of $60 – $80 each week. Now I don’t know about you, but for me making $30 to $40 per hour for something I have to do anyways is a pretty decent hourly rate!

 

(See an idea of what my grocery trips look like HERE – you can also read more about our family’s 2015 grocery budget HERE.)

 

Now, I don’t work outside of our home, but I do spend more hours than I care to admit sharing deals with you guys. :)  I also have three busy kids, a home to (somewhat!) keep up with, meals to prepare, and a hubby to take care of. (Okay, truth is he doesn’t require much care and he’s an amazing help to me!)

 

Before I started PPP, I spent hours hunting down every deal in town, easily saved 70-90% on every grocery trip and shopped at least 3-4 days a week.  But the reality is, I can’t do that these days, and something has to give.  So, here are a few tips that I use to pinch a penny when I’m also in a pinch for time (which is just about all the time!)

 

 

  1. Determine the very best store to use coupons at in your area.  Believe it or not, you don’t need to hit every drug store, grocery store & supermarket in town to coupon well.  I typically shop each week at Kroger, and supplement my trips with a quick Fresh Thyme, Aldi’s, Sam’s Club run for milk & fresh produce, but that’s it.  (I really do love a good CVS or Walgreens trip, but only do those when the deals are fantabulous!) :)
  2. Learn exactly where things are in that store, and organize your coupons before you shop.  If you send me to a grocery store other than my normal Kroger (even another Kroger in town!), my stress level goes way up. Seriously.  I also tend to save less, because I’m not sure where things are at, and am tempted to look at things I don’t need!  By knowing your store well, you’ll find deals you need, skip over the ones you don’t need, and get through the store pretty quickly (a huge time saver!)  And, most items go on sale at a decent price on a 6-8 week rotation at all grocery stores, so if it’s on sale this week at Kroger and you’re a Publix or Meijer shopper, odds are that deal will come to those stores next week!
  3. Use good coupon matchup websites!  As you probably know, there are zillions of coupon blogs and websites out there for you to choose from.  Trying to coupon on your own without help is just crazy when so many folks do hours of work for you!  Choose your store (click on “Store Deals” at the top of PPP), find the deals on your favorite coupon site (I hope it’s Passionate Penny Pincher!), and make sure to read through all the deals at your favorite store before you shop.
  4. Print your coupons.  My coupon binder is a mess right now.  There are coupons everywhere, I have at least 15 inserts that need to be clipped, and I’m not sure there will be any time to fix it real soon.  But I also have a home that needs some Christmas decorating, a few children that need dinner, and a to-do list that’s a mile long.  So to make my life easier, I take advantage of our 10 Minute or Less Printable coupon list (we have them for Target, Kroger and Publix), and head to the store. It’s an easy way to manage my love of saving even with limited time, and really works for me (which is why Shannon works so hard to put them together for all of us to use!) Also, be sure to take advantage of e-coupons as those are just an easy way to save.
  5. Recognize your limitations.  For the longest time when I started using coupons, I was incredibly competitive and wanted to coupon better than anyone else. (I don’t even know who I was comparing myself to!)  Over the last few  years I’ve realized that my time is valuable too, so if I save $50 in an hour (or almost $47, like I did tonight), that’s enough for me.  If I spend an extra hour or two running all over town to save an extra $2-$3, my “per hour” rate goes way down, which just isn’t worth it to me at this point!  So, determine how much time you want to spend, save as much as you can during that time, and LET. IT. GO. (Really!)
  6. Decide to do it.  I know that there are some of you out there who truly don’t have an hour to spend stressing over coupons each week, and if that’s you, I really do understand.  But, if you do have an hour or two each week to shop, go ahead, decide to save, and do the best you can with the time you’ve been given.  (You’ve got to go to the grocery store anyways, so why not do it with a plan in place?) If all else fails, determine to really shop the sales ad. (That alone is a huge savings!)
  7. Don’t get overwhelmed because other folks on TV do it better than you.  Do the best you can do.  Save what you can save, and don’t worry about what anyone else does.  A penny saved truly is a penny earned, whether it be $20 worth of pennies or $200 worth of pennies!  (And, much of what you see on TV isn’t “reality TV” in any way:  so do not compare yourself to that.)
Are they ever going to put me on TLC’s Extreme Couponing (or heaven forbid, Extreme Cheapskates? Yikes!)  
Nope.  Do I care?  Absolutely not!  I saved 69% on my grocery bill, got items that we really do need, and did it all in an hour.  I’m pretty happy with that!  And yes, it’s definitely fun to have one crazy amazing grocery coupon trip.  But, my bill was $21.49 tonight, I saved $46.93, and it took me an hour.  Woohoot!

 

So, now that my rant is over (aren’t you glad that’s through?), I’d love to hear how YOU did saving at the grocery store this week.  I promise, after years of penny pinching it is so worth it!

 

New to couponing? Start out by checking out all our store coupon matchups over HERE, and also take a minute to visit my beginners series over HERE.

 

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No Spend Challenge: Final Update

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Okie dokie, we survived one more weekend of our No Spend Challenge, which brings us right up to Spring Break starting next week! While we didn’t stick to our plan perfectly, we did stay pretty close on things, and goodness, it was so eye opening to see where our money really goes each week.

 

Friday night Caroline had friends over to spend the night (kind of as a very belated birthday – I promised her we’d do something eventually, but we kept pushing it back!) We ordered pizzas with a coupon code, and thankfully had plenty of 2-liters in the pantry (since our kids aren’t allowed to drink them normally but I’d gotten them for just a few pennies several months ago when they were on sale.)  I picked up extra water bottles and some Wyler lemonade mixes at the Dollar Tree . . . those lemonade mixes were a huge hit. (Who knew?)

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We debated a cake since it really wasn’t a birthday party, but she’d been eyeing this one on Pinterest for months. I used frosting and a cake mix from our pantry as well, and picked up mini M&Ms and Kitkat bars at Kroger. The cake was so simple to make, and the kids (of course) devoured it. :)

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For breakfast we had Fresh Thyme strawberries and a triple batch of homemade cinnamon rolls (Caroline’s favorite), and once every one left our family ate leftover pizza for lunch. We grilled out for supper (so thankful grilling season is just about here!), and ended up saving by just choosing to eat home all day. (Weekends are when we tend to go over budget eating out, so eating at home is always a tiny success for our bunch!)

 

After church we had Chipotle (thanks to a gift card!), and ended up splurging on drinks too. (I know, I know – but I was so ready for a diet coke, and since we had the gift card we decided it was okay to enjoy them!) I really don’t know that we’ll stick to water only while we’re eating out in the future, but seeing how much soda is costing our family at restaurants was pretty shocking, so we’ll at the very least choose water more frequently. (I’m really thinking I’ll pick up some of those Wyler’s lemonade packets to keep in my purse – I’ve seen a friend do that and it might just make restaurant water more appealing!)

 

Our total spent for the weekend was $14 at Chipotle and $40 on pizza, + $10 in candy for Caroline’s cake. While it wasn’t perfect, I was thrilled that we were able to stay within our budget and get everything we needed for Caroline’s get together. If you’ve been struggling to get your budget in check, I highly (HIGHLY) recommend you try challenging your family to really reign things in for a few weeks. Deciding as a family to really look at where your money goes can really transform your spending habits.

 

Here’s a breakdown of how our (modified) No Spend Challenge looked these last few weeks:

  • We determined to spend no more than $50 each week at the grocery, primarily for fresh fruit, veggies, and dairy products.
  • We drank only water when eating out (at least until yesterday!) :) My daughter Reagan used the money we saved to go towards missions.
  • We limited ourselves to two meals out per week, using coupons and choosing less expensive restaurants when we did eat out.
  • We cleared our pantry, fridge and freezer by menu planning based on what we already had at home. This was huge, and really helped us save so much (plus forced us to eat up some food that would otherwise go to waste.)

 

I’m heading to Kroger tonight to re-stock on cereal and granola bars while they’re at such a good price in their Mega Sale, but other than that shouldn’t be shopping the rest of this week. So, we just about made it ~ woohooo! 😉

 

 

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And on a completely random side note, a friend brought over dry ice for the kids to play with Friday night, which was a huge success. She’s a science teacher and had some left over from school, so her daughter showed the kids a few experiments using  the dry ice. I couldn’t get over how long they played with it, and my 14-year-old and his friend were just as interested in checking it out! If you have a birthday party with tweenage kids anytime soon, this is a great way to (literally) break the ice. :) (Find dry ice experiment ideas over HERE.) 

 

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Laurie’s Shopping Trip: Aldi & Fresh Thyme + No Spend Challenge Update

I’m so stinkin’ excited about the little fun deals I scored yesterday at Aldi & Fresh Thyme Market! Because we’re sticking to our No Spend Grocery Challenge I really wanted to limit what I spent, but goodness these were just too good to pass up. Aldi had a ton of houseplants that looked great on sale for $1.99 (a good price I think?), and while I’m sprucing up my home for Easter I just couldn’t pass it by. Here’s what I bought:

 

Aldi

  • Italian Seasoning $1
  • Ivy Basket $1.99 (I took the pot out and will re-pot it to brighten up our kitchen)
  • Total $2.99

 

Fresh Thyme

  • Organic Apples $.99/lb $1.24
  • 5 lb bag potatoes $.99
  • 4 packages strawberries 4/$5
  • Total $7.23

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Since I’d spent $41 earlier at Kroger on groceries this week, this puts us right under our $50 per week No Spend Grocery Challenge goalI feel like we have plenty to get us through until next week (I will need to run to Kroger before the Mega Sale ends Tuesday to stock up on cereal, milk and granola bars), but we have plenty of food still in our kitchen to eat at home until then.

 

Have you scored any great deals on whole foods lately? I’d love to hear what you’ve gotten, and if you’d like to share your picture with others send me an email with your purchases and I’ll post them here for other folks to see! You can also post them over on the PPP Facebook page to show off your savings. :)

 

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No Spend Challenge: Days 13, 14, 15, & 16

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We survived another weekend in our No Spend Grocery Challenge, and while it isn’t as hard as I’d expected, I’m amazed at how quickly money can get spent even when we’re working to really stick to a tight budget!  With a family of five there are just a lot of expenses (eating out is huge), but we’re sticking with our decision for the month and didn’t do too badly this weekend.

 

Friday night Jackson and Caroline were out for the night so we just had Reagan with us. We spent Friday afternoon working to finish up our taxes (bleck – not a great way to spend a Friday afternoon), and by the time we finished we were famished. We’d promised Reagan we’d go see Cinderella though (it was so good!),  but the next showing was too soon for us to sneak in dinner. We ended up spending a small fortune on popcorn and drinks,  and by the time it was done it was too late to even get dinner! Between the tickets and popcorn we spent $45 (Y.I.K.E.S.) but it was worth every penny. We all loved the movie (I highly recommend this one!), and my sweet seven-year-old even shed a tear or two. 😉

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don’t judge – some days  you just need a butter burger :)

Saturday we headed to Culvers with coupons in hand and spent $12 for lunch for the three of us, and after church yesterday all five of us had pizza for $17. Honestly, drinking water while eating out saves a ton, but goodness if I’m being truthful with you it’s hard to do! We don’t go out all that often, and my kids only drink water and milk when we’re at home, so they’re really missing those sodas.

 

We did the math with them though yesterday, and the same $12 that we could easily shell out for drinks for the five of us would purchase 3 salads, 3 orders of breadsticks or 3 orders of wings. Right now we’re adding that money to donate, but it’s a good lesson in how much those drinks can do to bust your budget!

 

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I made a trip to Kroger to get some groceries (we were out of milk), and by the time I re-stocked on some produce and dairy products (as well as half gallons of milk – they’re $1 per half gallon this week in our area!), I’d spent $41. As long as I stick to my budget throughout the week we’ll still be on track (our goal was no more than $50 per week), but it definitely reminded me that every time I step into the store I’m likely to spend a little more than I’d planned. (Which is why skipping shopping completely is often my favorite way to save!)

 

So, our total including today that we’ve spent is $70 during the last four days. (I’m not counting our Cinderella splurge – because it was really entertainment and not eating? ahem.) We’re finishing up our challenge at the end of the week as we near Spring Break, but it’s definitely been so worth keeping track of where we’re at to know where our money really goes each month.  I so fought the idea of taking on this challenge, but am loving staying on track in what we spend on food, so we can enjoy splurging on the things we really love! Here’s where we’re at for the month so far:

  • Day 1, 2 & 3 = $5.17
  • Day 4 & 5 = $15
  • Day 6, 7, 8, and 9 = $67.89 (this included several meals out while I was out of town – we knew we would go over for those few days)
  • Days 10, 11 & 12 = $48.34 (including $30.34 in groceries)
  • Days 13, 14, 15 & 16 = $70
  • Total = $206.40 for all groceries and several meals out

 

I’d love to hear if you’re joining us this month how it’s gone for you, as well as any other tips you have to stay on track. Leave a comment to share your thoughts!

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No Spend Challenge: Days 10, 11 & 12

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We survived a few more days of our No Spend Challenge this week! While we’ve had a few small splurges we’ve (mostly) stuck to it, and it’s been really good just to really see where our cash goes each week.

I made a trip to Fresh Thyme Market and just couldn’t pass up their ground beef price. We still have plenty in the freezer (we don’t eat all that much ground beef), but at $2.99/lb for grass fed ground beef I  just couldn’t pass it by! Since we’ve stayed under the budget for the most part, I decided this might just get us through summertime hamburger grilling. :)

 

Here’s what I bought:

  • 2.35lbs grass fed ground beef at $2.99/lb = $7.04
  • 2.80 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast at $1.77/lb = $4.95 (we didn’t need chicken anyways, but we are getting low on that and $1.77/lb is such a good price!)
  • 3 lbs onions $.99 (turns out we have plenty of onions in our fridge ~ will chop those up this weekend to freeze)
  • 1 lb carrots $.99
  • $.60 lbs cluster tomatoes at $.88/lb = $.49
  • 3 lb bag golden delicious apples $2.99
  • green leef lettuce $.88
  • iceberg lettuce $.99
  • navel oranges 5/$1
  • organic 5 lbs potatoes $2.50
  • 2.76 lb bananas $1.52
  • Total = $24.34

 

My husband also picked up two more gallons of milk at Kroger this week, so our total was $6 for milk. I’m really debating heading to Kroger for some of their crazy good deals, but we only need cereal so we’ll see!

 

 

And, for our big splurge :) my husband and I met for lunch yesterday at Cucinova, and we completely should have split a pizza (they’re not a big pizza but would have been big enough to split) but were both starving so our eyes looked bigger than our stomachs. We both ended up eating exactly half and our kids ate the leftovers last night. We spent $16 on our lunch which wasn’t impressive at all but it’s been weeks since we’ve had time for lunch together so I’m good with that! Next time we’ll remember though that splitting one is more than enough for us. You win some, you lose some. :)

 

So here’s our totals since we started this month. Typing it out now I’m not all that happy with our splurges – but am being honest in how things have gone for us! We’re still definitely lower than we would normally be, so I’ll take that as a success?

  • Day 1, 2 & 3 = $5.17
  • Day 4 & 5 = $15
  • Day 6, 7, 8, and 9 = $67.89 (this included several meals out while I was out of town – we knew we would go over for those few days)
  • Days 10, 11 & 12 = $48.34 (including $30.34 in groceries)
  • Total = $136.40 for all groceries and several meals out

 

Are you joining us in our no spend challenge? Check out these posts to learn more if you’re interested, and I’d love to hear how you’re doing too!

 

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What Really Impresses Me

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Me with one of my favorites – teaching me more about value than anything else!

 

I read a fantastic article this morning, and goodness, it so hit home for me today. As a busy mom who simply doesn’t have time to keep up with the newest trends, who couldn’t care less that her minivan has 160,000 miles on it (it runs great!), and who’s never owned expensive jewelry other than my wedding ring, it just felt good to have those words written out for me.

 

Here was my favorite quote from the article . .

 

“Too often, people pay a premium just for the privilege of become a walking billboard. I am no longer impressed by the logo on your shirt, your purse, or the face of your watch. Instead, I admire those who are confident in timeless fashion and seek to make an impression by their character and their countenance.”

 

I’ve struggled my whole life with feelings of inadequacy (and am betting I’m not alone.) I’ve looked at skinnier girls, dressier-upped girls, oh-so-put-together girls and from my very earliest memories have never felt I’ve even come close to measuring up.

 

And as I’ve gotten older, it’s gone beyond how I look some days to what I have. Folks, we live in an absolutely perfect home. Ridiculously nice, really. But a few weeks ago when visiting a new house in our neighborhood I noticed the home’s perfect mudroom and excessively large pantry.

 

It was beautiful.

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I came home, and all of a sudden the my own mudroom and pantry just felt a little puny. 

 

Did you hear me? I LIVE IN A HOUSE THAT HAS A MUDROOM AND A PANTRY, AND I LET MYSELF BELIEVE THAT WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME? 

 

Jeesh.

 

Wherever you are in your finances, wherever you are in your life, don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of believing more stuff equals more value. 

 

It doesn’t. 

 

And honestly? No matter what you have, someone will always have more, so you’ll never win the if only war.

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Instead, exemplify by your character and countenance your true value, whether you’re checking out at the grocery store or playing with your babies at home. Your value has absolutely nothing to do with your stuff ~ don’t allow this world to trick you into believing anything else.

 

Take a minute to read this post today. 

 

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