Grocery Budget Check Up 2015 Week #1


It’s that time of year (I know y’all are so excited!) Time to start talking grocery budgets. I’ve said it so many times before (some of you are tired of hearing I bet!), but there is NO OTHER AREA IN YOUR FAMILY’S FINANCES THAT YOU CAN SO EASILY TAKE CONTROL OF AS YOUR FAMILY’S GROCERY BUDGET.


Woohooo! ;) (I know, I know . . . but it really is kinda fun when you’re able to whittle that grocery budget down ~ promise!)


I’ve had an overwhelming number of requests this last week from people asking how much their grocery budget should be, how to use coupons effectively, and how to really change their grocery budget in 2015. Here are a few (easy!) tips that will hopefully get you started:

  1. Consider what your grocery budget currently is. If you’re new to couponing, plan to decrease your budget by 10-20% over the next three to four weeks, and then determine to slash it by up to 50% in the next 3-4 months.  (Read this post for more tips.)
  2. Choose one (one!) store to shop at and learn their coupon policy really well. Find every website you can sharing information about deals at that store, and look for as much information online prior to shopping each week so that you go in prepared to get the best deals.  (See more on beginning couponing information HERE to get started.)
  3. Look at what’s in your pantry and take a few days off from shopping by using what you already have.
  4. Shop the sales ads. Chicken on sale? Then your family gets chicken tonight. ;) Once you’ve built your stockpile up you’ll have a little more variety, but for now use your stores sales ad as a guide to your menu planning each week.


In 2015, my goal is to spend no more than $90 to $100 each week at the grocery. 

This is substantially more than I’ve ever spent for groceries each week (it wasn’t long ago we only spent $40-$50 weekly!) But, we’re eating more and more whole foods, my kids are getting bigger, we now live in an area where fewer stores double coupons, and we got a dog. :) I’ll continue using mostly only printable coupons will work to help save my sanity, and feel like this is a pretty realistic goal. (We’ll see!)


I get asked pretty frequently what’s included in my grocery budget, so thought I’d share a quick list:

  • groceries
  • toiletries
  • paper products
  • cleaning supplies
  • pet food (new this year!)


If you need to change your grocery budget in 2015, today is a PERFECT day to start, and I promise, you. can. do. this. (really!) Determine today how you want your year to look, set realistic goals, and decide to take control of your finances instead of allowing them to control you.  I can’t wait to hear what your goals are, and am excited to see how we’ll do in 2015 to pinch those pennies even further. You can share your goals by clicking HERE ~ I’m cheering for you!



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


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Free 2015 Dave Ramsey Guide To Budgeting


Love, love, love this! Right now you can download your free Dave Ramsey 2015 Guide to Budgeting, which is a great way to motivate yourself to stick with your budget in 2015! You may want to also check out the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, currently available for $14.88 on Amazon.

And be sure to download my free monthly budget spreadsheet while you’re at it, which is similar to the one we use at our house each month!

Love a bargain? Find more free stuff HERE.

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The Christmas Gift That Could Change Your Financial Future


Seven years ago on my youngest daughter’s first Christmas, her aunt and uncle gave her such a wonderful gift.


Instead of running out to purchase an extra toy for that eight month old (who clearly didn’t need a thing), they asked if they could spend their regular gift money on a savings bond for her instead.


We were thrilled.


The temptation to buy an extra gift for those kiddos is all too easy (even when we know they don’t need it!) And, while splurging on your kids is so much fun when they’re little, it’s amazing to consider what saving a few of those pennies could do to change their financial future.


Did you know that if you chose to invest just $50 today for your child, in thirty years that little $50 would turn into $872.50? (Assuming just a 10% annual rate of return?)


Now, that may not seem all that exciting, but what if you decided to invest $50 every year (4.16 per month) for the next thirty years . . .


Your total investment would be $1500, but in thirty years you’d have $9,905 in that little account.




Now, let’s just say you go really nuts, put it all out there, and decide to give up a meal or two out each month to add $50 to that account every single month for the next 30 years (that’s $12.50 per week. I’m betting you can do that?) 


That little $50 each month ~ maybe just two meals out a month ~ would come out to a ridiculous total of . . .


{Are you ready for this???}




For real. 


Your total money invested would be $18,000, but you’d earn a whopping $91,000 in interest.




So, are you heading out Christmas shopping for that cute kiddo of yours today? :)


You might want to consider what pinching a few pennies instead could do to change the direction of their financial futureAnd, if you’ve not started investing yet for your own future, it’s kind of fun to take a few minutes to consider what just a small investment can do.


Check out this investing calculator to see just how strong the power of investing is ~ I love that it allows you to see how adding just a few dollars each month has the power to completely change the direction of your long term financial goals!


Take a minute to step away from the hectic holiday hoopla and contact an investing Endorsed Local Provider. They’ll help you determine exactly how much money you’ll need for retirement, and guide you in choosing the best investment options for your family. You’ll get a chance to start planning for the future and an opportunity to focus on your family’s long term financial goals.


Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Provider program is also a great place to find tax help or a local real estate agent, or get insurance advice!

To get more information on how to invest wisely, click HERE and decide how to best plan for your family’s financial future.  Spend a few minutes getting information on investments from someone who understands how investing works, and change the future of your family’s finances today!


This is a sponsored by Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers, however all opinions are my own.



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

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

Bought 2 Kroger Cereal Bars $1.67

Bought 1 Kroger Grahams $2

Bought 1 Kroger Whip Topping $2.19

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

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

Bought 1 Kroger Pudding Cups $.89

Bought 1 Kroger Fruit Bowl $1.99

Bought 1 Kroger Cheese $3.79

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

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

Bought 1 Kroger Hot Dog Buns $1

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

Bought 1 Kroger Turkey Breast $3

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

Bought White Rain Hair Spray $1.29

Bought 2 lbs Bananas $.55/lb $1.11

Bought Bag Potatoes $2

Bought 2 Kroger Tomatoes $1.09

Bought 2 Ball Park Franks $2.99

Bought Cannelini Beans $1

Bought Kroger Condensed Soup $1

Bought Kroger Sour Cream $1.69

Bought Kroger Beans $.69

Bought 3 gallons skim milk $2.77

Bought Carrots $1.49

Bought 2 pounds grapes $1.69/lb.

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



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


(I’m all about easy – aren’t you?) ;)


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1. Watch the price per ounce.

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


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2. Look for in-store sales.

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


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


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

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

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


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4. Use a coupon when you can. ;)

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

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

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


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



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



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


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What’s On Your Top Ten Grocery List?


Earlier this week when I talked about the “secret” being in the sale, a few folks emailed an commented that they’re just not sure whether or not something really is a good price. To make life easier, you can easily download my stock up price list, but that varies some by area (and the prices are my stock up prices, after coupons which makes a huge difference!)


I started thinking though, that anyone can determine to learn their best prices by just putting a little time into research each week before shopping. Instead of trying to figure out a HUGE stock up price list, for the next few weeks make a list of ten things that you regularly buy – just the basics – and watch them each week in the sales ads for one month. Then you’ll at least really know on those ten staples, and next month can pick another 10 items to work with.


Do it for a few months, and my bet is that by Christmas you’ll have a pretty good idea of most of the best prices on items your family regularly buys!  For me, I like to know my stock up prices on a few things my family uses every day ~ here’s my top ten:

  • Milk $2.79/gallon (I’ve seen it lower at Costco)
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast $1.79-$1.99/lb.
  • Ground Beef $2.49/lb.
  • Bananas $.49/lb.
  • Some kind of fruit for the week ~ Apples ($.99/lb.), Strawberries ($.99/pint), Grapes ($.99-$1.49/lb.)
  • Cereal $1-$1.50 per box (after coupons)
  • String Cheese $.20-$.25 per piece
  • Shredded Cheese $1.99/8 oz (less if there are coupon deals)
  • Peanut Butter (we eat a lot of this one here!) $1.49/16 oz
  • Paper Towels $.50 – $.75 per roll


Don’t forget you can also search ALL the weekly sales for stores we cover here on PPP over HERE, so if there’s something you need now you can easily find where it’s on sale. 


What’s your top ten list of items your family uses, and how do your prices compare? I’d love for you to leave a comment to share!


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


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How to Save on Medical Expenses


If you’ve been trying to figure out how to save on medical expenses, here are a few ideas worth trying out! Just last month as I was picking up a prescription I reminded myself that I needed to try a few of these out again as well, and I’d love to here your suggestions also.  Here are a few ideas:


  1. Use generic prescriptions when you can. Many prescription medications are available in a generic form, and it can help you pinch quite a few pennies by opting to use the generic form instead of the brand name prescription.
  2. Search the internet for coupons on regular (non-generic) prescriptions. Just this morning I googled one of the prescriptions we regularly purchase, and found a coupon for $15 off each prescription for the next six times I pick up this certain medication. While that doesn’t sound all that exciting, that’s a whopping $90 off ~ not too shabby for two minutes worth of searching!
  3. Find which stores offer your prescription at the most discounted rate. Some medications are less expensive at warehouse stores such as Sam’s or Costco, so it’s worth finding what the price is on your medications there rather than overpaying at a local pharmacy.
  4. Consider trying out CVS. Right now CVS has some fantastic bonuses for filling your prescriptions there, and if you’re a regular CVS shopper you can really benefit from these since you’re filling prescriptions anyways.  Basically, fill 10 prescriptions at CVS and get $5 ECBs, plus find out more ways to earn extra care bucks which are definitely worth checking out.
  5. Ask for a discount on your bill when you pay it off in full. I received this great tip from a reader yesterday who had to pay a fairly large medical bill to her local doctor’s office. Oh a whim, instead of just paying the amount, she asked if they would give her a discount for paying it in full immediately when calling to make her payment. Sure enough, they gave her a 10% discount which saved $50. It never hurts to ask, and it might help you save a little extra money!


Your turn now! What tips do you have for saving money on medical expenses? I’d love to hear your ideas, so take a minute and leave a comment to share what’s worked for you.


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Help! What (Penny Pinched) Suggestions Do You Have For A Week In Orlando?

I received a question from a reader, but I’m not sure how to help her out so am hoping you’ll have some great ideas! Here’s her question. .  .
We’ve been offered the use of a friend’s timeshare in Orlando, and our lodging would be practically free for a week! However, we are on a VERY tight budget and can’t really afford park tickets. My boys aren’t really into Disney, but I wondered about Universal or other “NON” disney parks down and if you knew of any tips to get discounts?
Any suggestions? Leave a comment to share . . . I can’t wait to hear what you all come up with!
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Upcoming Coupon Class In North Alabama (5/16/14)


I’m so excited about our upcoming coupon class that my friend Shannon and I will be teaching THIS Friday, May 16th at Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, Alabama from 6:30 – 8:30 PM!   We’ll discuss how to save money at Aldi, Target, Publix & Kroger, 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!


A donation of $5 for the coupon class is requested, and can be paid at the door.  A portion of all money received will benefit the Northeast Alabama Fellowship of Christian Atheletes.  We’d also love if you would bring a canned food item to donate to Asbury’s Food Pantry!  There’s a link to the registration form that I’ll leave up on the right side of the page.  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.  We can’t wait to meet you there!
Eventbrite - Penny Pinching Coupon Class
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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Saving. Giving. Living Abundantly.

piggy bank images

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ~ John Wesley



Recently I heard a great theory on finances from John Wesley that Dave Ramsey mentioned. (Have I shared lately how much I love the Dave Ramsey Channel on I Heart Radio?)


From what Dave Ramsey said (I couldn’t find an exact quote), John Wesley had the following beliefs on how to order your finances:

  • Give 10 percent.
  • Save 10 percent.
  • Live on 80 percent.


How simple (although not always easy) is that? Depending on where you are financially, that may sound like way more than you can imagine saving and giving right now. . . or it may be less.  But I love the idea of a very concrete, simple way to plan your finances, and know that it makes such a difference in how we handle our own finances when we put a plan of action into place prior to spending.  Even if giving and saving 10% sounds overwhelming at the place you’re at right now, consider trying to save and give just 5%, and slowly moving up towards your goal in the course of the next year. . . I promise the fruit of your labor will be abundantly blessed!


Do you have a pre-determined plan for every dollar in your family’s budget each month, or have you seen changes in your budget when you’ve chosen to give and save first?  Whether you have a ridiculously organized budget (like my sweet engineer-of-a-husband organizes), or even just a simple plan of attack each month, simply choosing your financial priorities before spending a dime can have a significant impact on your finances.  I’d love to hear your thoughts. . . please take a minute and leave a comment to share!

Be sure to also read this post including tips on how to invest wisely ~ it’s made such a difference for our family, and I know it can change your family’s future too!

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Are You Investing Wisely?

I talked with my husband earlier this week about writing this post, and when I asked why he thought it was important for people to invest wisely, he quickly replied “So you don’t have to use coupons forever!”


Ahem.  Clearly he doesn’t realize we’ll be clipping coupons until the day we die.  Even if we have a billion dollars. (Sorry, honey.) ;)
However, in a tiny way he’s right. Back when my  husband got his first “real” job out of college, he immediately opened an investment account for retirement. At that point he didn’t have any debt, and knew just enough about investing to understand that starting early could change his financial future.


Because that’s the way he started, it’s what we’ve always done. We’ve always known that a certain portion of our income was untouchable, and it’s automatically gone towards retirement savings from the very beginning.


I realize though that we were incredibly fortunate to start things out early that way. The fact that he was out of debt from day one gave us so much more freedom to save for retirement. He was also incredibly fortunate to receive wise financial council from the very beginning (which I’m so thankful for!) However, not everyone is in that boat, and you may be someone who just doesn’t know where to even start.


Whether you have a little money or a lot of money to save towards investments, every penny you save now towards retirement will be worth it. My dad talks a lot about the “Rule of 72″ when we talk about investing (he’s smart like that), and while it’s not perfect advice, you can bet within reason that on average, every seven years, the money that you’re investing now will double.


Double. Every seven years. Did you hear that?  


Over the course of time, that doubling can really add up, and while it can be difficult to choose to put money into savings when you’d rather spend it else where,  watching your own money grow over time can be some great motivation to keep at it!  Check out this Investment Information from Dave Ramsey that I thought was invaluable . . .


Even if you’re 40 or 50 and don’t have a retirement account, it’s never too late to start. If you are 40 and save just $2,000 a year in a 12% mutual fund, you will have nearly $334,000 by age 65—or more than $425,000 if you wait until 67 to retire! While you won’t have the most luxurious retirement, you can draw a decent yearly income—about $34,000 if you account for 4% inflation—from the interest by leaving that money alone.


So, where do you start? If you’re new to investing and just don’t know how to begin, contact one of Dave Ramsey’s Investment Endorsed Local Providers today. There are so many things you can start investing for, but you’ll never make a dent in your financial goals if you don’t get started.


Take a few minutes today to find out how to get started investing (and learn if you’re investing enough), by talking to a local, trusted advisor.  Go HERE to contact an Investment Endorsed Local Provider in your area, and find out what you can be doing to change your financial future!


Don’t forget you can also talk with one of Dave’s Endorsed Local Providers to help you save on your taxes, homeowners insurance, long term care insurance, and even to find a realtor.  Contact your local ELP to make sure you’re investing wisely, and change the outcome of your finances today! 



This is a sponsored by Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers, however all opinions are my own. 


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