How To Survive Survival Week: 7 Days To Spend Nothing?



Okie dokie folks . . . anyone ready to really change their grocery budget this week? 


We’re taking on the challenge to SURVIVE SEVEN DAYS TO SPEND NOTHING, and I’d love for you to join me too.


Now, we’re all at very different places in our lives and finances, so this is going to look different for each of our families.  I’ll share how it’s going to look at our house, and I’d love to hear how you’d like it to look in your home too!


Here’s what you need to do to join me:

1) Decide if you’re going to do a complete no spend challenge or “partial” no spend challenge (like our family is doing.)

You may have enough in your kitchen that you can survive an entire week without a single purchase. (If that’s you, WOOHOO!) Or, if you’re like me, you may need to stock up on a few basic pantry staples ~ that’s totally okay too.

2) Take stock of what you have already, and what you really (REALLY) need.

Now, you may have everything you need, but if you don’t, take stock of what you absolutely must have to survive a week. Here are the essential items on our family’s list (they definitely may vary for your family):

  • eggs
  • milk
  • loaf of bread
  • flour
  • sugar
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • fresh fruit & veggies

Because I’ve been doing the 21 Day Fix (watch for details coming soon ~ I’d love for you to join me in February!), I had to tweak this a little bit from what we would normally do. While we have plenty of meat in our house we were almost out of chicken (again?!) so I did re-stock at Fresh Thyme yesterday when I saw it on sale for $1.67/lb.


This list may look very different for you. You may be able to make it without those items, and you may absolutely need more items on your list! Tweak it to fit your family, just don’t go buy an entire week’s worth of groceries when you shop ~ only stock up on things you absolutely need to get you through the week.

3) Get ready to bake.

(and cook.)

(but I like baking more.) :)

If you’re out of something that your family thinks they need, baking (and cooking too!) can will save you in a pinch. If you run out of store bought snacks, make some muffins (these or these are great).


If there are no Oreos left in the cupboards and your family can’t survive (ahem), bake up some cookies from scratch.


Your family will love it (and you’ll save so much time eating out and going to the grocery store that you may actually have time to bake!)

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4) Think outside the box.

All out of bread? Bake a loaf from scratch. No hamburger buns to use with barbecue? Make loaded barbecue stuffed potatoes.

Get creative and see what ways you can use what you have on hand to come up with a meal.


Not sure even where to start? Here are our favorite what-to-eat-when-there’s-not-much-left-meals:


5) Really use what you up what you already have.

Do you have a roast that’s been hiding at the bottom of your freezer for 6 months? This is the week to use it.


That pasta that hasn’t been cooked since you stuffed it in the back of the pantry a year ago? Time to eat it up too.


If you’re not sure of what to make with the ingredients you have on hand, I highly recommend All Recipes ingredient search – you literally can type in the few items you do have at home, and in just a few seconds hunt down a delicious meal!





As for how this is going to look for us this week, I’ll be honest and say that we’re still going to eat lunch out after church on Sunday (because it’s just one of those things we do.) I did run to the store yesterday to grab the staples we absolutely had to have, but still saved a bundle on a full grocery trip!

Here’s what I bought. . .


  • 3 gallons milk $1.49 each (I love that price!)
  • 2 dozen eggs $1.39 each
  • Total = $7.25


Fresh Thyme

  • 10.32 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast at $1.67/lb = $17.23 (I hated to spend so much, but didn’t want to run out and that was too good a price to pass up)


  • 5 pounds potatoes $1.50
  • Granny Smith Apples $3.99
  • 2 bags organic carrots $.99 each
  • 2 bell peppers $.99 each
  • 4.73 pounds bananas at $.37/lb (I was so excited about that price!) = $1.75
  • (also in pic above – Organic Salad Blend from Kroger ~ $3.99)
  • Total = $30.99




TOTAL GROCERY SPENDING IN JANUARY, INCLUDING WEEK 1WEEK 2  and WEEK 3 = $323.25 or $80 per week for our family of 4 ~ and our pantry is still pretty packed!


Would you like to join me? I would so love for you to enjoy a few days off of spending too ~ I promise you’ll be amazed at how much you can easily save! Leave a comment HERE if you’re joining us ~ I love hearing from you!


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Top 10 Grocery Budget Busters


Feel like you’re spending more at the grocery store than you want, but aren’t sure where that extra moo-lah is going? Here are the top 10 Grocery Budget Busters that can quickly ruin your grocery budget.

1. Pre-cooked meat or chicken.

Folks, if you purchase items pre-packed you can spend a bundle without meaning to. For example, I love having grilled chicken handy for a quick salad or taco in a hurry. But paying for convenience can ruin your grocery budget.


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The container on the left in the picture above shows how much chicken is in a Tyson Grilled & Ready package (a little over 1 1/4 cups) which costs around $4. On the right is what I made myself for $4.09 after stocking up on chicken breast at Fresh Thyme while on sale ~ almost 5 cups of chicken!


Here’s the math:

  • 1 1/4 cups Tyson = $4
  • 5 cups chicken that I grilled myself = $4.09
  • 1 1/4 cups Tyson ($4) X 4 to get 5 cups = $20

To get the same amount of Tyson I would spend over $20. Craziness.


(UPDATE: if you absolutely love having chicken pre-cooked for you, you’ll love what I found out at Costco last week.) :)


2. Uncrustables.

You are paying a bundle for convenience here. It really doesn’t take all that much time to make a pb&j, so take a few minutes to do it yourself!

Here’s the math: 


Soap Scum Remover - PINTEREST


3. Certain cleaning supplies.

If you have dish soap, lemon juice, baking soda, peroxide and vinegar in your home most of your cleaning can be taken care of. Here are a few homemade cleaners to try:

Best Homemade Window Cleaner

4. Fabric softener.

Don’t want to pay a high price for fabric softener? Try vinegar instead. Add 1/2 cup to your load before washing.


5. Refrigerated & frozen convenience foods, as well as pre-cut fruit or veggies.

Walk down the refrigerated & frozen aisle at your grocery store and you’ll see a ton of processed foods ~ everything from mashed potatoes to macaroni and cheese to frozen pizzas.


You can make just about everything from scratch yourself in these aisles, and you’ll save a bundle! And, cut your fruit and vegetables yourself. You’ll pay a pretty penny to have someone else do the cutting up for you.

6. Food you won’t really eat.

Every time I walk past the fresh fish counter at the store, I am so tempted to purchase some because I know it’s good for me. And, a few times I’ve actually gone and ahead and bought it.


However, our family just isn’t doesn’t eat much fresh fish (my husband and I do like salmon), so to spend money on food that won’t really get eaten isn’t worth it. If you know you’re not realistically going to cook it for dinner, skip those foods.


7. Name brand stuff.

So often folks feel like they need a certain brand to get a good product, but nowadays store brands are fantastic. They’ve come a long way from the Malt O Meal cereals I remember as a kid (Malt O Meals are even pretty good these days!), and many stores carry store brand foods that are manufacturered in the same facility as their brand name competitor.


There are times when it’s actually cheaper to buy a name brand when it’s on sale (especially with a coupon), so watch for those deals when they pop up. But, be open to trying the name brand because you really can save!


8. Expensive toiletries.

High end toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, razors, soaps, etc.) can quickly bust your budget. If you have extra wiggle room in your budget each week that’s fine, but if you’re really trying to save, shop the generic brands at your grocery store and watch for coupons to get the best prices.

11 Easy Ways to Save on Organic Food
9. Certain organic foods.

Organic foods cost a bundle, and can quickly bust your grocery budget if things are tight in your home. Some fruits and vegetables have “thicker skin”, so you may opt to purchase the non-organic version of those foods. See more on the Dirty Dozen HERE to know what’s really worth paying more for, and find tips on how to save on organic food over HERE. 


10. Deals that are “too good” to pass up.


Sometimes I come across a deal (or two, or three?) that I think is just “too good” to pass up. And when there’s lots of room in my budget that’s fine, but usually (because we like a tiny grocery budget at our house) that can end up ruining my budget plan for the week.


If you see a deal that you just can’t miss, buy enough of it to last your family the next 6 weeks, because in that amount of time it will almost always go on sale again (promise.) Don’t spend too much of your grocery budget on things you don’t need right now, because those deals really do come around again!


What else would you add to the list? This month as we’re really reigning in our grocery budgets I’d love to hear your thoughts – also check out the Ultimate Guide To Building a Better Grocery Budget. You can do this! :)


Looking for more ways to pinch a penny? Here you go: 

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Upcoming Penny Pinching Coupon Class In North Alabama (1/2/16)

Hoping to start off 2016 on a budget? We’re here to help! Come join us Saturday, January 2nd from 9:30am – 11:30 AM to learn how to use coupons strategically, and save over 70% on your grocery bill every week!



I’m so excited about our upcoming coupon class that Shannon and I will be teaching  Saturday, January 2nd at Southside Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama from 9:30 – 11:30 AMWe’ll discuss how to save money at Aldi, Publix, Kroger & Target, as well as share basic information on drug store coupon policies. We’ll also talk about how to organize your coupons, what all those crazy abbreviations mean, and where to begin if you’re a new couponer.


Here’s a link to the registration form that I’ll leave up on the right side of the site.  If you’re a new couponer (or even have been at this penny-pinching stuff for awhile . . . ) we’ll hopefully teach you a few new tricks, and promise to answer all your questions.

Eventbrite - Penny Pinching Coupon Class
Thanks so much for registering ~ we can’t wait to meet you there!

Not in the North Alabama area?  Check out the list of beginners tips and videos, and as always, feel free to ask questions in the comment section or on the PPP Facebook page.  We’re always happy to help!



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How We Saved (More Than) $2000 By Doing It Ourselves


The foyer is now almost done ~ check out the (almost?) completed project over HERE. 


Goodness gracious, I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to try doing a few things yourself! I’m not going to do a complete update of my husband’s foyer project (watch for that in January when we’re all done), but goodness, just last week in 8 hours he saved over $2000.


And that didn’t include any of the trim work. 


Back in October he decided to add to the trim work in our foyer, and after a few weekends with an air compressor and nail gun he was almost done. So last week, as I determined to have things looking a little more put together before Christmas, I called a painter to come tackle the paint job.

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We’d budgeted money for the project, and as it’s a crazy time of year I knew I wouldn’t have time to paint, and felt like James really didn’t either. 


Until the estimate came back at over $2300. YIKES.


The estimate did include painting and sanding the trim work several times (to make it look like real wainscoting), and it went the entire length of our hallway upstairs as well as on the stairwell. So, in fairness to the painter, it was quite a job, but he estimated it would be done in 3 days.


So we did the math:

24 hours of work ÷ 2300  = $95 per hour

$95 per hour? For painting? Even if that estimated for two people working, it still would come out to $47 per hour.

We just couldn’t justify that.

S0 my sweet husband set out to start painting (which is his least favorite DIY project ever. He’d rather build a fireplace any day.) 

And after about 8 hours of work he’s primed, sanded and painted the entire project.


I think he’s still got another 8 hours ahead of him, but 16 hours of work to save that much money was the best choice for us! 

If you’re looking to hire something done for you that you can realistically do yourself, before hiring it out make sure to just do the math on the hourly rate! Sometimes it’s well worth it hire help for certain projects (I’ve shared before that we have housekeepers who come every other week and I. love. them. They’re worth every single penny to this way-too-busy-working-mom.)

But sometimes the math just doesn’t add up, and if you have a few hours of free time doing it yourself can be oh so worth it. For James it’s meant giving up a few nights of watching football on the couch (he’s been listening to it instead .  . . ) and we’re thrilled to have it almost done.

The best part? I didn’t have to wait for a painter to fit us into their schedule ~ as soon as we decided to start he picked up the paint. I love having control of our DIY projects, and never dreamed it would be almost done before Christmas!

So for us it was worth it on this one. :) Have you tackled any DIY projects in your home? I’d love to hear what you’re up to!


Looking for more penny pinched projects? See how we saved $10,000 on our outdoor fireplace.

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The Ultimate Black Friday Cheat Sheet 2015



Be sure to take advantage of this free list to help make your Black Friday shopping easier! To print the list, you’ll need to use either Safari or Internet Explorer as your internet browser. (I wasn’t able to print it in Chrome.) Hope that helps!

I am so (sooooooo) excited to share this with you! If you’re like me and overwhelmed trying to keep up with who has the best prices on what this Black Friday, this is for you.


In one quick and easy document, here is a huge list (HUGE, folks I’m telling you ~ HUGE) with all the best prices on top selling Black Friday items including tablets, televisions, video gaming systems, video games, printers, appliances, housewares and so. much. more. The list is still being updated as more stores Black Friday ads come out, so keep checking back over the next few weeks to plan your trip well.

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Because Amazon doesn’t offer a traditional sales ad, I’ll continually update those like I normally do, as well as highlight any awesome deals that I see as well. But, I wanted to give you this guide to keep you on top of things! Bookmark this page, print it (although it will be a lot to print?), or keep it handy on your phone so you know exactly where to find those best prices.



Go HERE to access it, and let me know what you think. I hope this makes surviving the Holiday season a little simpler in your home, so you can enjoy the things that matter most this Christmas!


Kohl's 7-Piececomforter sets

And don’t miss all the great deals going on at Kohl’s Black Friday deals that have already started online: 



blackfridayshoppingLooking for more Black Friday Shopping tips? Go HERE to check out these 10 Secrets You Need to Know about Black Friday Shopping 



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10 Secrets You Need To Know About Black Friday Shopping


Good gracious folks, Black Friday is just 3 weeks away from today (crazy!) So, to get you ready I thought I’d put together my most important tips for shopping Black Friday well.




(Nope, me neither, but we’re going to tackle it anyways.) :) Let’s get started.


1. Many stores offer a few “Black Friday deals” all month long . . . 

. . . and honestly, they go in full force on many online sites the Sunday and Monday before Black Friday. Kohl’s came out with their big door busters last year Sunday night, so my bet is that will happen again this year, and online retailers everywhere will start offering great prices.


For most deals though, you really don’t need to leave your home at all, so be sure to watch PPP for the very best deals each day. (You can even sign up for once daily updates, delivered to your inbox over HERE.)


Do know that many of these deals go quickly, so you’ll want to visit a few times throughout the day and follow on Facebook as well to keep up.


To take advantage of Amazon deals, sign up for a free month of Amazon Prime if you haven’t tried them out before ~ you’ll get free shipping on everything you order for the entire month! 


2. Newer Apple products don’t often go on sale at deeply discounted prices.

You may see a few discounts on iPads and iPhones, but don’t expect seriously deeply discounted prices (if you find savings of $50 – $100 off you’ve done pretty well.)

ipad Mini

However, Walmart already has their iPad Mini2 on sale for $199 right now, which is a pretty incredible price. Because it’s not the newest model you’re getting some significant savings, so watch for discounts on older model Apple products is definitely a great way to save Black Friday.


(Amazon does usually offer incredible deals on Kindle products though this month, and have already started discounting their Kindles for Amazon Prime Members!)

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3. Televisions are great to buy on Black Friday.

One of the best times of year to buy televisions is Black Friday, but if you’re not in a hurry you may want to wait until the Super Bowl to purchase one in January.  If you’re looking for a higher end television you probably want to wait for January, however the Black Friday deals on smaller TVs usually can’t be beat.


. . . and video game savings are huge on Black Friday as well.

There are a ton of video game and video game console deals that come out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well. However, those deals are already starting on some sites now, so watch the price of the game and console you’re looking for to guarantee the best price.


A peek at last year’s Kohl’s Black Friday deals

4. Buy all your kitchen gadgets on Black Friday.

Kitchen gadget savings will be huge on Black Friday and really throughout Black Friday “week” and Cyber week too. 


So what kind of items to watch for? Usually we’ll see the best prices of the year on Kitchenaid Mixers, Ninja Blenders, Cookware, Pyrex Sets, and just about anything else you’ll need in the kitchen. These are usually my favorite deals of the Holidays, so I’ll be watching right with you!

5. These stores are just a few that offer price matching.
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Best Buy
  • Lowe’s
  • Staples
  • The Home Depot
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Sears
  • Toys R Us

Take advantage of price matching at several stores to get a great price, in case the item you’re looking for isn’t in stock at your store. If you can bring proof of the price in a physical ad to show to your cashier. (Although most will accept these ads from your Smartphone, having the real ad in hand may make price matching even easier.)

Remember that on some special Black Friday deals retailers may not price match all the deeply discounted deals stores have to offer. To find out if another store is price matching a specific Black Friday ad, call ahead and ask your store management.

6. Don’t forget that many stores also offer price adjustments.

If you purchase an item in a store within a few weeks of a better price during Black Friday sales, check to see if your store offers a price adjustment. While all stores won’t offer that (especially if they have deeply discounted items on Black Friday), it never hurts to (nicely!) ask. Make a quick call to your store to see what they offer.


7. Stores offer huge loss leaders to get you in the door on Black Friday.

Most stores offer a limited number of “loss leaders” which really are your best deals. Stores like Amazon and Walmart tend to also offer these deals in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday, so keep up with PPP as we’ll be here bright and early working to get you the very best deals.


8. Don’t forget the drug stores.

Y’all, my favorite Black Friday shopping ever happens at the drug stores, and what I love is that they typically are best on Thanksgiving morning. Now, I am not one who likes the idea of stores being open on Thanksgiving at all, but because the drug stores supply their customers with needed medications they really do need to be open to serve those in need.

CVS actually offers their new Black Friday ad at 6PM the night before Thanksgiving at any stores that AREN’T open 24 hours, so if you want to sneak in early you can save big and beat the crowds. I go first thing on Thanksgiving morning before my family is awake, then and home and ready to help with Thanksgiving cooking by 9AM. To see what Black Friday looked like at CVS in 2014, go HERE.

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9. Some “doorbusters” just aren’t worth it.

Some deals are fantastic on Black Friday, however some tend to be lower quality items that really aren’t worth it. Make sure that what you purchase is really what you want, and you’re not just picking up something quickly to get a deal that you didn’t really need in the first place. (Read more HERE.)



10. Keep up with PPP for all the very best deals this Christmas season.

Sign up for PPP text alerts and daily emails to get the best deals, not just on Black Friday but throughout the Christmas season. We’ve got a big surprise that’s going to help you out a ton coming out this Monday, and the whole PPP team is working hard to make sure you never miss a deal.


 Here’s how to sign up for free text alerts: 

  • 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


So there you have it, my top 10 tips! I’d love to hear what other thoughts you have on Black Friday shopping too. I’ll be right here behind my computer bright and early on Black Friday (and the days prior to Thanksgiving as well), so be ready to save big this year!


Looking for more tips on how to save at your favorite retail stores? Here you go:

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6 Things You Need to Do Before Christmas Shopping

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Okie dokie folks, time for a little heart-to-heart about that fantabulous (don’t you love my new word?) Holiday just around the corner. . . Christmas. Grab a cup of coffee and a piece of Halloween candy, curl up on your sofa, and let’s just pretend we’re having a chat face to face about how we’re going to handle this one.


In just a few days, the deals are going to be flying fast and furiously at you (including quite possibly a few hundred here on PPP ~ yikes!), so I want you to be prepared. I promise you’ll see deals on Legos and Powerwheels and Kindles and Barbies and just about anything you could ever imagine anyone on your gift list will ever need.


But that doesn’t mean you have to buy them.


Because the deals are out there, my job is to make sure you see the best of everything, and find you as many awesome deals as I can.  However, I do not want you to purchase a single item that you do not need or cannot pay for even if it’s a dealDid you hear me??? I mean it.


So, how do you know where to start with Christmas shopping? Here are six things you need to do before Christmas shopping:


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1. Consider the 4 gift plan that my friend Lynette uses.

I. love. this. Honestly, we didn’t start this when my kids were younger, and I kind of wish we had. Back then our budget was pretty tight throughout the year, and Christmas was our time to “splurge” (within our budget) so we bought kids extra clothes they needed, along with fun toys and more.

However, they get a ton of gifts from family, and I think this is a really (really) smart concept to start when your children are young. If you’re new to this idea, see how Lynette breaks it down over HERE. 

2. Set a Christmas budget meeting with your spouse & decide your Christmas budget.

I cannot tell you how very, very, very important this one is, but trust me on this. To make January 2016 happier in your home, you have got to sit down and talk about what you both really want Christmas to look like, and who’s going to purchase which gifts for who.

While my husband and I have always had a Christmas budget, inevitably we both struggle with keeping to our lists (~ahem~). However by going over the plan beforehand it just keeps us working together throughout the frazzled Christmas season.


Set up a budget “date” night and determine exactly how much money you have to spend on Christmas and what to purchase for every single person on your list. (Be sure to include a budget for shipping and gift wrap – those expenses can really add up!)

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Not sure where to start? There are some fantastic free printable gift lists you can print (I like this one and this one and this one), or even use an app like Santa’s Bag to keep track of your list.

Make sure to have a general idea of what the items on your list should cost, and then watch for any deeply discounted savings. In the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out some Black Friday price comparison sheets, so know those “hot ticket” items on your list and watch for savings on them. I really believe just about everything goes on sale during the Christmas season, so be patient and watch for a deal!

3. Decide how you’re going to Christmas shop.

Do you love Black Friday shopping? Is online shopping for you? Whatever you choose, have a general idea of how you’re going to tackle Christmas gift purchasing before you’re bombarded with Christmas deals.

I do about 90% of Christmas shopping online because I’m already here watching deals every day. (Sign up for free daily emails from me with those deals delivered to your inbox every day over HERE.)

While there are some great in-store offers to be had, I’ve found that with all the free shipping and codes available through the Christmas season I can get some incredible deals while shopping in my pjs. Decide what you want Christmas shopping to look like for you, and plan ahead so you’re not stuck at the last minute wondering the best way to get whatever you need.

4. Set a plan for how you’re going to spend.

Using cash will definitely help maintain control of your spending over the holidays, however I know that can be difficult when so many deals are available online. If you shop online, put your budgeted amount into your checking account and use a debit card, and remember to keep a detailed list near your computer so you don’t miss what you’ve spent.

If you absolutely are set on using a credit card to earn points or for other reasons, be sure to write down every single purchase on your list so that you don’t over-spend. As we all know, those credit cards can be a HUGE budget buster!

5. Anticipate how you’ll spend your “savings”. (This is a bone of contention in our home!)

My hubby is one incredibly passionate penny pincher, so he feels that if we get a great deal on an item, those savings should not be spent during the Christmas season. However, I always want to spend the full amount on each person that I budget on my list, so if I find a great deal I’ll buy them more great deals! This is not the greatest way to spend my savings, but we have so many people purchase for our family who are incredibly generous. (And I want to be generous right back!)

However, if your budget is tight this Christmas, don’t spend those savings on more Christmas gifts. Instead, put it right into a savings account. (Wouldn’t it be fun to fund a savings account with extra Christmas spending money because of your penny pinched deals?)

6. Plan what you’ll spend to give to those in need.

A few years ago I shared how just about felt gived out by the time December was over. I realized that much of this was because while I happily said yes to every place to donate early in the Holiday season, by the middle of December I was done: and so was my budget.

Since then my husband and I have an honest discussion about what we want to give together so that we can choose to give to those that we both feel most passionate about. (To see more on giving over the holidays, check out The Advent Conspiracy.)

Ultimately, decide that Christmas is about more than just oodles of gifts under the tree.

I love Christmas presents. 

I love spoiling my kids with fun surprises on Christmas morning.

I am so not against that fun and completely know how magical that time can be.


The gifts are just the icing on Christmas, not the whole cake. Christmas for us is the cooking and baking and decorating and all the wonderful things rolled up into this one just beautiful season.

It’s the giving and music and lights and Silent Night and just the wonder of this special time of year. If you haven’t already, create special Christmas traditions that make Christmas even more precious to your family, no matter the gifts under the tree. Give to someone in need, decorate cookies as a family and let Christmas gifting just be the fun Christmas topper on top of your Christmas tree.


I hope you’ll find some deals here on PPP, and my promise to you is that I’ll only post items I see at their lowest prices or so close to that pricing that I don’t want you to miss it. But, I do not want you to spend one single penny on things that you have absolutely no business buying.

Got that? :) 


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Go get your kids ready for a few days of Halloween festivities, enjoy an extra piece of chocolate for me, and watch for the online deals to go a wee bit crazy here over the next few weeks. But, in the midst of it all, take a deep breath, determine to stay really focused on only what you need to purchase (and even more focused on what this season is all about), and choose to enjoy every bit of the Christmas season as it races its way towards us.

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Can You Shop Aldi Only? How To Make Aldi Your One Stop Store


Could you shop Aldi only? I shop Aldi occasionally for produce, milk, spices and eggs, but have never gone to the store expecting to buy my entire grocery list there.


However, yesterday when I was shopping I noticed that they really do have everything. And the because they don’t have so much of everything (for example 101 types of cereal in the cereal aisle like our local Kroger and Meijer do . . . ) I can get in and out without spending hours perusing the aisles.


As a busy mom, spending way too long at the grocery store drives me nuts, and I love that Aldi is small enough that I can quickly get in and out of the store. And, if I forget an item at the checkout lane it doesn’t take me too long to run back through the store to get what I missed.


So I started looking closely and questioning if you could buy absolutely everything there? Here are the things I noticed . . .

Aldi has an abundance of snacks, including gluten free options. They also carry Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (priced at $1.85 – I usually only buy them on sale at Kroger for $.99, so that’s pretty pricey for me but their store brand is priced at $1.49 per package at least?)


Aldi has tons of baking products. I tried to see if there was anything they were missing, but couldn’t find anything  we would need that wasn’t there. They have olive oil (for just $2.99!), real vanilla, cooking spray and spices.

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I tested their Aldi brand semi sweet morsels (for research purposes of course . . . you’re welcome.), and honestly they taste almost identical to Nestle Morsels. At $1.79 per bag that’s a pretty incredible price (they rarely go below $2 at the grocery store), so I may switch over to buying them completely. (Which is saying something, I’m pretty picky when it comes to chocolate chip cookies!)


Aldi has a  huge selection of bread products. I was shocked at the price of English Muffins there – I’ve paid as much as $3 for them at the local grocery store, but Aldi had them for just $.99!

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They also have gluten free items, and be sure to watch for discounts on bread as well. My store had a huge bin of discounted bread for $.25 per loaf (several different types, including whole wheat and low calorie breads, which was all incredibly fresh when I checked it.) I asked the cashier about it and he said their policy is to not let it get closer than 5 days out from their sell by date, so definitely watch for those deals when you’re there!


Aldi has a huge selection of dairy products, including eggs, milk, cream cheese, real butter, and even coffee creamer. The best price I noticed was on their store brand cheddar cheese (16 oz. for $3.29), and I’m pretty sure you could find everything your family would need when you’re there.

The toughest one for me to buy of course at Aldi is . . . meat. I have never bought meat at Aldi (I’m just funny about that!), but when I asked my cashier he shared that most of their chicken comes from the Tyson distributor, and even looking at the packages they had Butterball Turkeys and Appleton Farms Hams. The prices were decent (although I have seen better prices occasionally on sale at my local grocery store), and Aldi allows you to return items if you’re not pleased with them so their meat might just be worth trying out.


(I’ve had several friends buy meat at Aldi and they’ve been pleased with their meat ~ I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve purchased meat there!)


Aldi has paper products and cleaning supplies, however you won’t find the jillion items you might see at a larger grocery store. We’re almost out of toilet paper (gasp!) so I bought some of their store brand TP and while I don’t love it quite as much as Quilted Northern, it wasn’t too bad. :)


They do carry some name brands (like Tide laundry detergent), but the price on that at Aldi is high. If you love name brand items at all I wouldn’t recommend shopping Aldi because even though they carry a few of those items they just don’t have great prices on them, but if you’re willing to try Aldi store brands you can easily save!

Aldi also has pet food, a few pet treats, and kitty litter. I had no idea they carried pet supplies at all, but my dog loved the treats I brought him home yesterday. :)
Aldi does carry a very small selection of toiletries, including personal care items, shampoo, and soap. I also noticed sunscreen, razors and even batteries, so you might really be able to make Aldi your one stop shop!


When I asked the cashier about things he’s heard people complain about missing at Aldi he mentioned shaving gel and bug spray ~ so you might have to head to another store every once in awhile. But, as I went through the store I realized they really do have just about everything we use (just packaged as Aldi brands), so I’m seriously considering trying a month to see how switching would effect our grocery budget.


I won’t try to make the switch until January (the grocery store sales during November and December are too good to miss!), but maybe we’ll try out a January-Aldi-Only-Challenge here in 2016. Anyone wanna join me? :)


If you shop only Aldi I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I’d love to know how you’ve saved by shopping there. Leave a comment to share ~ I love hearing from you!


Looking for more about shopping Aldi? Don’t miss these posts!


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The Once A Month Grocery Shopping Experiment Week 4: I Finally Did It!


After failing a bit last week at our once a month grocery shopping experiment, I’m thrilled that this week was a success! I went to the store just once, and spent just $13.80, well under my budgeted weekly bill of $25 that I’d planned during this month for weekly “extras” like produce and milk that just wouldn’t last the full month.

(Read more on my month long plan over HERE)



Here’s what our totals look like so far this month: 


I am planning to head to Fresh Thyme Market this Wednesday to stock up on more produce (they have watermelons for $2 – love that!) I’m also hoping for a decent sale on chicken, because honestly as long as we have chicken at home (we have completely depleted our stockpile), I think we could go another week or two for the most part just cooking up what’s in the kitchen.


I have missed a few sales and may swing by Kroger over the weekend to stock up on those, but in all honesty feel like we’ve spent so much less by having a better monthly plan in place prior to shopping. If you’ve been working to cut your grocery budget I’d love to hear what you’re doing too – leave a comment to share your thoughts!


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The Once A Month Grocery Shopping Experiment Update 3: I Failed.



Sooooo . . .


I kinda failed yesterday.


Yup, yes I did.


I made my shopping list, then took a peek at the Kroger ad (added a ton of Kroger digital coupons to my card), and headed to the store with my cute 8 year old in tow.


Um, we didn’t fair too well on the Once a Month Grocery Shopping Experiment when we shopped.




Here’s why.


There were a ton of things on sale at pretty incredible prices using just Kroger ecoupons, and while I did pass over quite a few deals, there were several that seemed to jump right on into my cart. Y’all remember that we moved to Ohio a year ago, and being a girl who’s lived mostly in the South her entire life the thought of shopping in the wintertime just makes my stomach turn. So, I stocked up on a few things that were just too good to pass up (because really, winter’s coming soon?), and went over budget.




(See how I’m about to justify this trip?)


We are way under budget for the month on food so far. By purchasing most of our groceries at the beginning of the month, I can easily make dinner without an extra trip to the store, so we’ve eaten more meals at home than we normally would have and saved by not making extra trips to the store.




Here’s what I bought for $48.71 . . . 


And here’s what we’re donating to our local food pantry . . .


I just couldn’t pass by the All Detergent for $1.99 (with just an e coupon ~ yay!), and my kids love having muffins for breakfast in the winter. Because I still don’t have a printer connected at home (so hoping that will be done in the next week), I really wanted to take advantage of the great ecoupon offers while they were available.


Here’s what our totals look like so far this month: 


Honestly we are still a little low on produce, but I’d really like to wait until Wednesday when the new Fresh Thyme ad pops up. (Don’t forget Sprouts & Fresh Thyme offer double ad Wednesdays which makes for a ton of great produce savings.) And our kitchen is still packed with plenty of meals to cook, so I’m really thinking produce and milk will be all we’ll need next week (and possibly the rest of the month if we plan things right!)


If I can keep our grocery expenses under $400 for the month of August (which seems very doable to me right now), that comes out to $100 per week for 5 people including a teen and tweenager. So, it may not be perfect but I’m still pleased with it!


Like I shared last week, even if your grocery budget doesn’t look exactly the way you’d hoped, even small steps are progress. While I didn’t stick perfectly to my goal this week, we did much better than we normally do and have definitely shaved some moo-lah off of our grocery bill for the month. If you’ve been working to lower your grocery budget, try determining the number you want to spend and then working to shave off a few dollars each month to reach your goal!


Our pantry, fridge and freezer are still well stocked with plenty of food, and I really think I may be able to lower our bill even further next weekend. So far I really do love the idea of shopping this way, and can’t wait to see where our totals end up at the end of this month!  If you’ve tried grocery shopping like this before, I’d love for you to leave a comment and share how it’s worked for you.


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