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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Clever Idea For Saving On Hanging Baskets

 

I’m so excited about this smart idea to share with you! A PPP reader shared that they had read you could use burlap to replace coconut liners in hanging baskets, which seems to me like it would totally work. If you’ve tried it, let me know, and check out this post to see what it looks likeLove it!

Amazon actually carries Gardener Natural Burlap that might be worth checking out.  You can also see how we created beautiful hanging baskets for a fraction of their regular cost last Spring by creating them ourselves. Happy Planting!

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That Time My Husband Had A Heart Attack.

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Get ready for a long post. If you’re here just for the deals (I TOTALLY, really do get that), scroll waaayyyyy on down.  UPDATE ~ I tried responding to all your sweet comments tonight and realized I was just exhausted and you all would understand. THANK YOU MORE THAN YOU’LL KNOW for taking the time to be such blessings to me – I am so so thankful for you!

 

13 days ago my husband had a heart attack. 

 

My 45-year-old-mostly-healthy husband had a heart attack. (For the record I’m 40 ~ no reason for you to think I’m quite 45 yet, right?) 🙂

 

My heart still hurts.

 

He’d had some chest pain about six months ago and had done a stress test to make sure everything was okay. The stress test came back negative, and we assumed everything was fine and went on about our lives.

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Our bunch just 4 weeks ago, on our way to ski for a week in CanadaWhile he’s always been a little overweight, James has stayed the same weight since we were married twenty years ago, and is as strong as an ox. He plays sports hard with our kids, and is in general a pretty healthy guy. He doesn’t smoke or drink, but did have slightly elevated cholesterol and some family history of heart issues at an early age.

On Wednesday almost two weeks ago, he started having pain in his arm while driving all over Ohio for work. He called home around 3 and said he really wasn’t feeling well, then finally made it in at 5 that night.

 

Because I’m a horrible (read – awful, terrible, pitiful) not-ever-meant-to-be-a-nurse-wife, I told him I didn’t know what he should do, but if his chest hurt he should go to the ER. (Honestly, I wasn’t all that compassionate about it ~ we had 3 kids going 3 directions and I had no time for this craziness. Like I said, I’m an awful, terrible, pitiful wife!)

 

A few minutes later though I looked at him the way I should have looked at him the minute he came home, and realized he looked awful. He headed to the ER, and I headed out for evening carpool duty.

 

An hour later he called and told me that while his EKG was fine, his blood work came back with some issues and they were transporting him to a nearby hospital for testing the next morning. Remember we’d just moved here two years ago, so while we definitely have a few people we could call on in a pinch, our kids weren’t all that comfortable with folks they didn’t know so well (my oldest is 16).  I left the kids at home around 7:30 PM and headed to the ER to see what was next.

 

I don’t know anything medically, but by the time I got there the second EKG had changed, and the ER doctor seemed pretty concerned. He let us know that a cardiologist would meet us immediately at the hospital, and when the ambulance came to transport James (they said he wasn’t stable enough for me to drive him even though he looked pretty good), I ran home to get a few things and then planned to meet him in the hospital.

 

It didn’t happen like that. 

 

I arrived at the larger hospital’s Emergency Room and was immediately taken past dozens of people in the waiting room to a small waiting room with a night chaplain. She wasn’t allowed to tell me anything, just sat with me as I waited. (I couldn’t figure what on earth had happened ~ just a few minutes ago we’d been laughing together in the original ER?)

 

About 20 minutes went by, and the cardiologist came out to tell me that my husband (yes, the 45 year old seemingly healthy one), had a mild heart attack. He had 100% blockage in one artery (thankfully only 20-30% blockage in other arteries), and they’d put in a stent to fix the blockage. He was doing well, but his life would change.

 

He wasn’t kidding.

 

Thankfully, because he was basically healthy his heart had used “collateral arteries” to repair the problem as much as they could on their own (which masked the heart issues in his initial stress test.) We found out a few days later that despite everything he had absolutely no heart muscle damage, and I’m guessing it’s partly due to those collateral arteries taking on the extra load.

 

(Isn’t it crazy that God makes your body to DO things like that?) 

 

I was allowed to see James who honestly looked great considering everything he’d gone through. I think we were both just in shock ~ and totally unaware of what this meant for our life. (Two weeks later, we’re still pretty unaware.)

 

Around 1:30 in the morning I left him in the ICU to come be with our kids and try to sleep, and his sister (she’s a doctor and was completely a lifesaver through this!) headed up to be with us just to get us through the first through days. (His other sister also came up for the weekend ~ I can’t even begin to tell you what a gift they were to me those first few days!)

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Us out on a short hike last week while playing hooky 🙂 

So here I sit, almost two weeks later, still just in a small state of shock over all this. James wasn’t allowed to work last week, so we kind of played hooky all week. We visited every plant nursery in a 30 mile radius, ate meals at fancy restaurants (he’s supposed to eat salmon and I haven’t yet learned to cook it), and even went to see a movie at 10 o-clock in the morning just because we could. (We were the only people there besides an older couple in their 70’s. I’ve never ever seen a movie at 10 o’clock in the morning!)

 

You know what though? I’m still kind of terrified.

 

I’m afraid of how I’d do life without him.

 

I’m afraid of what we would do if our finances really changed because of an illness. (We are so so blessed financially thanks to years of penny pinching, but fear of the unknown still scares the crud of me.)

 

I’m afraid of my kids not having grandparents for *their* kids. (Y’all, I am seriously jumping the gun on this worry thing. I know. I’m nuts.) 

 

I’m afraid of what my life would look like if he wasn’t right here next to me.

 

He’s always been my one. 

 

I don’t know that I believe that people have just one person out there made just for them, but, for me, he’s been my one.

 

He’s the one I just feel safe and cozy with. The one who likes me even though I’m a mess. And more than anything he’s the one who completely cheers me on each and every day. 

 

The thought of something happening to him terrifies me beyond what I can even express. 

 

And honestly, the thought that’s filling my head right now is that something could happen to him, and in just a few short years my cute kids will be gone. And this awful crushing fear of just being without them kind of terrifies me.

 

But as I was muddling through all that in my head today, I remembered that long before I was James’s wife, I was chosen by Him.

 

And way before I ever dreamed of being Jackson & Caroline & Reagan’s momma . . . I was His child.

 

And I was reminded that the same God who has held me through so many difficult things along the way, loves me enough to hold me through this not-so-easy time too. 

 

Whatever may come.

 

Whatever it takes.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, right now things look good for my sweet husband. (Thank. heavens.) He’s doing an amazing job working to change his diet, is on a mountain of medication to keep this from happening again, and is already heading to physical therapy. His prognosis really is good (in fact, his heart is working perfectly), but my fear still is there.

 

But just this experience has rocked my not-as-firm-as-I-want-it-to-be foundation, so I needed to be reminded that ultimately the One who loved me first holds me no matter what comes my way.

 

 

I have no idea what mountain is in your world right now. I don’t know if your world has maybe been shattered by something so crazy-ridiculous-you-feel-like-you-can’t-even-breathe too.

 

But I do know that the same God who’s holding me? He’s holding you right next to me too.

 

He loves each of us, and desires peace for us, no matter what comes our way.

 

Know that I’m praying for you today. And I’d so love your prayers too as our hearts adjust to this new season too. God’s plan is bigger and better than ours ever is, and I’m so crazy-ridiculously-overwhelmingly thankful for peace that comes when we choose to find rest in Him today.

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

 

(On a quick side note ~ thank goodness I have some amazing workers here on PPP who totally have kept things up and running while I’ve been way more frazzled than normal. I don’t *think* any of this should have any long term impact on PPP except that I need to spend a little more time preparing meals and a little more focused on my family (I so appreciate you  understanding!) Right now we’re trying out the Mediterranean diet, so those are the recipes I imagine you’ll see here for a bit while we figure things out. Thanks so much for your kindness and support ~ so so thankful for you.)

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When You Need Rest.

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(our bunch just a few weeks ago on vacation ~ crazy to think we’re here when we were just there. ugh)!

folks, we have had just a so unexpected hard most unbelievable two days.

 

I’m not going to share all the nitty gritty details (don’t worry, at least for now everything really is okay, just blindsided by a crazy health scare), but . . .

 

my heart hurts. 

 

 

Thankfully I have some incredible girls who do so much here on PPP so that I can work on bigger projects, the site is totally up and running. (Thank you Shannon, Cheryl, Nicole & Misty ~ you guys are the best and a crazy blessing to me!)  I’ve been able to just take care of my bunch, manage a few emails and Facebook, and plan for my baby girl’s 9th birthday in the midst of this craziness.

 

{Because I am absolutely nuts. And we are determined to give this girl a party after postponing it several weeks. A momma’s got to do what a momma’s got to do. crazy.}

 

But last night, after the second night of being up all night just consumed with worry, I finally remembered Whose I am

 

Whose this life of mine is.

 

Whose my husband’s life is. Whose my kids lives are.

 

That we are all His.

 

And for about an hour from 5-6AM today, I finally fell asleep in His rest. 

 

I don’t know what crumminess may be going on in your life today.

 

I have no idea if you’re having an amazingly grace-filled happy day or a few days like mine where you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus.

 

But I know Whose you are. 

 

If you need some rest today.

 

If you need some peace like I do.

 

Rest in His arms with me, okay? 

 

Prayers sure appreciated as we scoot through this next few weeks ~ and if you have something I can pray for even unspoken leave a comment in the comment section and I’d love to cover you in some prayers too.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

 

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The Greatest Coupon

This is a guest post that I’ve shared before from a friend of mine (who knows the value of a coupon!)  May you know the love and peace of Our Manufacturer all year long. 🙂

 

No deal is perfect. Everything has a cost. Many things come at a high price, yet thankfully most can be discounted. Some things can even be free with a great coupon!

 

The greatest coupons still have problems. Most will eventually expire. They are “void where prohibited.” There is a limit on how many people can use.

 

Some people don’t take advantage of great coupons though. Why? Maybe some don’t even know about them. Even if they do, they might defiantly refuse to use them. Some people don’t believe they are really worth anything. But every coupon has worth in our eyes, right? Maybe non-couponers would cash in on the offers if they were just taught how. We couponers should share the good news!

 

So here’s the gist of how to reap the benefits: 1) Seek out something you love. 2) Find a coupon, maybe from the manufacturer. 3) Pay the price for the item. 4) Once the coupon has been redeemed, celebrate how much you saved! 5) Tell everyone you know about your great deal. Happy shopping!

 

 

 

No one is perfect. Our sins have a cost. Many sins come at a high price, yet thankfully they can be discounted. We can even be free with the “Greatest Coupon.”

 

The Greatest Coupon has no problems. It will never expire. It is never void or prohibited. There is no limit on how many people can use it.

 

Some people don’t take advantage of the Greatest Coupon though. Why? Maybe some don’t even know about it. Even if they do, they might defiantly refuse to use it. Some people don’t believe they are really worth anything, but every person has worth in God’s eyes. Maybe non-Christians would cash in on the offer if they were just taught how. We have the opportunity to share the Good News!

 

So here’s the gist of how to reap the benefits: 1) God sought out someone he loves—you. 2) We have a coupon from our Manufacturer. 3) Jesus paid the price for our sins. 4) Since our sins have been redeemed, we can celebrate as we have new life. 5) Tell everyone you know about the Greatest Coupon. Happy Easter!

 

 

My prayer for you this Easter is that you mayt know salvation from the One who values you so greatly that He willingly gave His life for you. It truly is the greatest gift we’ll each receive, and allows us freedom that comes only from Him. As my son reminds me each Easter morning, “Christ is risen!” He is risen indeed.

 

Photo courtesy of billaday on Flickr.

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How Do You Stock Up On Meat?

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Note from Laurie ~ we’ve never been able to purchase meat in bulk because of limited freezer space, but I love Shannon’s tips and am hoping we can find someone here in Ohio who sells meat this way! Would love to hear what you think too . . . 

 

Okie dokie folks, I’m going to share something about me that not many people know. 😉  I think I’m a closet-wannabe-vegetarian!  I really don’t love meat (other than steak.)  But my family loves (*loves*) meat!  They think bacon is the best thing (yikes! can you see the heart blockage now?), and they love steak too.  But finding deals on meat is hard, so here’s what we do.

Grilled Ribeye Steaks & Onions

About 3 years ago while having a budget discussion with the husband I realized that I couldn’t keep my grocery budget at its current amount and buy very much meat.  So, I asked around about buying meat from someone and found a couple from our church sells grass-fed beef. Since then we’ve bought 1/6 of a cow, which lasts us about 9 months.  It comes out to about $4.99-$5.49 per lb, which usually includes enough for:
  • 2-3 roasts
  • 15 lbs. of assorted steaks
  • 30-35 lbs. of ground beef
  • a couple other cuts of meat 

 


When we eat the steaks I always tell my kids to feel really blessed because it is a luxury that we enjoy eating like that. 😉 If you’re planning to buy a part of a cow it definitely helps to have an extra freezer because it definitely takes up some extra space ~ we have an extra fridge and my mother-in-law is sweet enough to store some of our extra meat in her deep freezer.  (She’s pretty awesome.) 😉

 

For us, we’ve found that grass-fed meat is a wonderful option ~ it tastes better and smells better when making it, and is much less greasy. I still do occasionally buy meat from the store though, and we pick up chicken at Target on clearance or when Kroger has their BOGO boneless skinless chicken breast sale.

 

I know that paying a few hundred dollars up front to stock up on meat may not work for everyone ~ but you can still save on meat at your local grocery store! Visit Target and see when most of the “sell-buy” dates end.  Then make another a trip a day or two ahead of that, and most likely you’ll find peelies for that meat (which you can take home and freeze.)
  
Have you purchased a portion of a cow before, or come up with other ways to save on meat? Leave any tips you have in the comments section ~ we’d love to hear them!

 

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Target Clearance Bins: Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Fun Finds

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I ran to Target yesterday with my girls, and we were so excited with what we found in the clearance bins!

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Target has their Valentine’s candy marked 30% off still, but a lot of their Dollar Bin items were marked down to 50% off, as well as Valentine trimmings and decor. So, we did our first Operation Christmas Child Shoebox shop! Here’s what we bought . . .

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2 cute kids girls coloring sets 50¢ each

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4 pairs of kids socks 50¢ each

 

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1 truck board book and 4 packs of Play Doh just 50¢ each

 

Total spent = $5.50 for 11 items to add to Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes next ChristmasLove that!

 

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Have you started to watch for deals on next year’s items to pack? As you’re looking, check out this list of 50 Best Items to Pack in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox. We love this ministry, and by looking for deals throughout the year we can stock up on a budget.

 

I’d love to hear if you’ve found any bargains this year ~ leave a comment to share!

 

 

 

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The Ultimate Guide To A Better Grocery Budget Part 3: Don’t Turn a Mega Sale Into A Mega Mess.


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New to this series? See Part 1 & Part 2. 

It’s week three of our four weeks to a better grocery budget series, and we’re focusing this week on how to not allow a “Mega Sale” to turn into a “Mega Mess”.

 

What on earth? A Mega Sale can turn into a Mega Mess?

 

Oh yes, my friends. Indeed it can.

 

Kroger started their Mega Sale yesterday and it was my only option to shop this week due to the weather (watch the video to hear more.) 

 

My normal temptation is to get it all. 

 

To grab all the deals.

 

To not pass by a single thing that has the lovely blue tag screaming “I’m-a-mega-sale-price-so-you-really-need-me.” 

 

Because if the store tells me it’s a deal, it’s deal, right? 

 

However, while I still went over budget (a tiny bit), I did much better than I normally do because I was determined to stick at least a little closer to my budget. 

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So what do you do when you’ve spent too much?

1. Give yourself grace.

If you’ve overspent already, there’s nothing you can do to change it. Give yourself grace, determine to focus more on your total budget the next time you shop, and be thankful you have a nicely stocked pantry.

2. Determine to use what you’ve bought.

Once you’ve overspent, there’s no going back, but you can make a plan to use what you’ve bought (saving money in the long run!)

 

Come up with a menu plan based on what’s in your fridge and freezer, skip eating out because you probably have plenty already at home, and determine to strategically shop the next time you head into a Mega Sale.

3. The next time you shop, be mindful of what the “deals” really are.

An easy example of this was on the Quaker Oatmeal. The Quaker was priced at $1.89 after the Mega Sale. However the store brand was $1.50, and there was a $1/2 Kroger ecoupon on Kroger Oatmeal. Definitely the best price! Next time you shop, be really cautious of the “Mega Sale” deals to make sure they really are your best prices. If they’re not, pass those by (and remember stores like Aldi may offer a better deal every day!)

 

Guys, I’ve said it a jillion times here, but there is no other area in your family’s finances that you have complete control over. You can’t lower your car payment or mortgage or electricity bill today, but you can choose how much you want to spend at the grocery store. 

 

Determine to make 2016 the year that you transform your family’s grocery budget ~ you can do this! 

 

Whew. Hopping off my soap box now. 🙂 

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Okay, ready to see what I bought? (It took two pictures!) Here we go . . .

 

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Kroger

2 Honey Nut Cheerios Mega Sale $1.49, used $1/2 Kroger ecoupon

2 Kroger Oatmeals 2/$3, used $1/2 Kroger ecoupon

3 gallons milk $2.19

2 bags Chex Mix Mega Sale $.99

5 cans Pringles Mega Sale $.99

Turkey Hill Ice Cream $2.50

Ghirardelli Brownie Mega Sale $2

2 3 pound bags Kroger Chicken Tenders $13.29, on sale Buy One Get One Free

2 Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mega Sale $.99

1 box Lucky Charms Mega Sale $1.49, used $.50/1 Kroger ecoupon

Kroger Marshmallows $.99

Krusteaz Pancake Mix Mega Sale $1.99

Tostito Scoops Mega Sale $2.49

Krusteax Muffin Mix Mega Sale $1.69

Digiorno Pizza Mega Sale $4.49

4 Kroger Peanut Butters $1.50

2 Yoplait Gogurts $1.99, used $.75/2 Kroger ecoupon

Kroger Bread $.88

Kellogg’s Rice Krispy Treats Mega Sale $2

Sunny D Mega Sale $.99

1 1/2 dozen eggs $3.49

2 cans Kroger Green Beans $.69

Bananas $2.60

Kroger Dinner Rolls clearanced $.99

Kraft Dressing Mega Sale $1.49

Steak $5.99

Land O Lake Margarine $1.99

Kroger Shredded Cheese $1.77

Kroger Diced Tomatoes $.73

3 Velveeta Shells & Cheese Cups Mega Sale $.49

Broccoli Slaw $2.99

Organic Salad Blend $4.99

Degree Deodorant Mega Sale price $1.99, use $1.50/1 Kroger ecoupon

Axe Deodorant Mega Sale price $2.99, use $2/1 Kroger ecoupon

Dove Deodorant Mega Sale price $2.49, use $1.50/1 Kroger ecoupon

Sunny D $.99 Mega Sale price, can use $1/1 Sunny D coupon, use $1/1 Sunny D coupon (try zip 03102, if still available)

Buy 1 Colgate Sparkling White $1.89

Buy 1 Colgate Optic White $3.89, use $2/1 Kroger ecoupon

 

 

 

TOTAL GROCERY SPENDING IN JANUARY, INCLUDING WEEK 1  & WEEK 2 = $285.56 (and our cupboards are full.)

 

 

 

Are you joining me in trimming your grocery budget this monthI’d love to hear how you’re doing ~ it’s not too late to start! Leave a comment to share any tips or suggestions.

 

 

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Before you shop, be sure to see how to get 20 items for 22¢ each this week ~ it really is a great week to save as long as you stick to your budget this week! 

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Looking for more ways to save on your grocery budget in 2016? Here you go:

Would you like FREE daily email updates of saving and an email sent out to you with more tips each week during this series? Go HERE to subscribe, and I’d love for you to leave a comment to share your thoughts on grocery shopping on a budget – I love hearing from you! 

 

 

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The Ultimate Guide To A Better Grocery Budget: 7 (MORE!) Strategies to Save (4 Week Series – Week 2)

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Update – see our menu plan this week using the groceries below over HERE. 

It’s week two of our 4 weeks to a better grocery budget series, and I’m so excited to share how we’ve saved this week! 

 

Since starting the 21 Day Fix on Monday (so far it’s been pretty manageable and it feels so good to be eating more fresh foods ~ yay!), I realized we were going to need to stock up on more fruits and veggies each week. So I headed out to Aldi & Fresh Thyme yesterday (I had an appointment and both stores were on my way home), and stocked up.

 

This week I’ll be sharing 7 more strategies to save when you shop, and promise you can do this if work at it this month! Here are the 7 things I want you to work on this week.

1. Don’t buy what you don’t need.

Okay, this isn’t always true, but if it’s not on sale and you don’t need it, wait for a better deal. I was hoping to score a little more chicken breast this week, but it was $2.49 at Fresh Thyme (remember I paid just $1.49 last week), so I decided to wait and hope for a better price.

2. Skip the pre-packaged stuff.

I absolutely love pre-packaged salad and do usually splurge on it if I can find a decent deal at all. (I know that’s terribly lazy, but it’s one of my few guilty pleasures in life – ahem!) 🙂 However when the cost was $3.99 this week at Fresh Thyme (and Aldi didn’t carry a similar brand), I chose to purchase basic leaf lettuce and spinach that I can cut up myself.

The same is true with pre-packed chips, snack packs, and cereal (although this single serving cereal deal is pretty tempting!) But for the most part, skip the pre-packed stuff when you can.

But, sometimes it’s worth paying for convenience. (I know, I totally just flipped my position on that one, huh?)

There are a few things I do buy simply out of convenience. If buying a $4.99 Aldi pizza means we won’t eat out on Friday night (and they’re huge), I just saved myself $20 in pizza delivery. And buying minced garlic pre-minced for me is one of those things that’s just worth my time to make life a wee bit simpler at our house.

3. Shop Aldi.

I cannot say this enough, but shopping Aldi alone can save you a bundle. If you’re willing to make a quick trip there to stock up on basic pantry staples, you’ll slash your budget by quite a bit, every single week!

4. Shop no more than once a week.

Y’all, this is so important. Before you shop, make a very clear list of everything you’re going to need for the following week, so you aren’t tempted to buy extra stuff on a second trip. Before shopping I used my Eat At  Home Whole Foods shopping list, and I love knowing that I’ve got everything I need in my kitchen to make an entire week’s worth of meals!

5. Know your prices.

Go HERE for more info on how to find your stock up price.

6. Shop loss leaders.

Really stock up on those items that are there to get in the door. At Fresh Thyme that was the pineapples, strawberries, pork chops, and carrots, so I stuck to fresh items and skipped the rest of the store.

 

At Aldi the price on bananas this week was fantastic, so a great time to stock up on those as well!

7. Sometimes it’s worth paying more if it helps you not to make an extra trip.

I’m betting I could get a better deal on dish soap and even pasta at Kroger or another grocer if I had a few coupons, but to save myself an extra trip to the store I grabbed everything I needed at Aldi and Fresh Thyme. To make an extra trip to a store to literally just save pennies isn’t worth it each week!

 

 

Ready to see what we bought? Here we go . . .

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Fresh Thyme (have I mentioned lately I love that store? If you have a Sprouts in your area it’s very similar.)

  • 3.56 lbs Boneless Pork Chops $2.99lb. = $10.86
  • 4 packages strawberries $6
  • 4 lb. navel apples $1.99
  • 5 lbs potatoes $1.50
  • 1.49 lb tomatoes $1.03
  • bundle green leaf lettuce $.88
  • green onions $.49
  • 4 1 lb bags organic baby carrots $.99 each = $3.96
  • 3 pineapples $.99 each = $2.97
  • spinach $.1.49
  • Total = $30.97, saved $28.65

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Aldi

  • 4 4 packs Fruit Bowls $1.69 each
  • 3 dozen eggs $1.39 each (that is a great price – I haven’t seen them that low in ages at Kroger!)
  • 2 carton reduced sodium broth $1.39
  • 1 package Mac & Cheese $.39 (for my 15 year old as a quick dinner when heading out the door)
  • 3 gallons skim milk $1.89
  • White bread $.85, submitted for $.50 Mobisave rebate
  • mini marshmallows $.79
  • 2 bags powdered sugar $1.29 each
  • 2.45 pounds bananas $.29/lb = $.71 (GREAT price – I haven’t seen that in ages!)
  • Instant brown rice $1.49
  • Aldi take & bake pizza $4.99
  • 2 applesauce cups $1.49
  • 2 flour tortillas $1.19
  • big bag lemons $.99 (I didn’t really need these but couldn’t pass them up – I love having them on hand to freshen my sink disposal!)
  • 2 cans black beans $.59
  • Canola cooking spray $1.49
  • Penne Pasta $.99
  • Minced garlic $1.99
  • Fit & Active Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing $1.29
  • Dish Soap $189
  • Honey mustard $.99
  • Cheese ravioli $3.99
  • Cinnamon $.99
  • Total = $54.69

 

TOTAL FOR BOTH TRIPS = $85.66

 

TOTAL GROCERY SPENDING IN JANUARY, INCLUDING LAST WEEK’S TRIPS = $172.10 (and our cupboards are full.)

 

 

 

Are you joining me in trimming your grocery budget this monthI’d love to hear how you’re doing ~ it’s not too late to start! Leave a comment to share any tips or suggestions.

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Looking for more ways to save on your grocery budget in 2016? Here you go:

Would you like FREE daily email updates of saving and an email sent out to you with more tips each week during this series? Go HERE to subscribe, and I’d love for you to leave a comment to share your thoughts on grocery shopping on a budget – I love hearing from you! 

 

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The Ultimate Guide To A Better Grocery Budget: 7 Strategies to Save (4 Week Series)

 

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So often people ask me how I really spend $100 a week or less on groceries for our family of 5, and goodness, I have to tell you it really (really) can be done. 

 

So, I decided this month to show you exactly what our family really buys (the good, the bad, and the ugly), so that you can see how we really make it work. Honestly, I don’t have tons of time to clip coupons (and I have seen more and more processed food coupons pop up, which don’t always work for our family), so this series will share how we do it without too much time clipping coupons.

 

I’m telling you what, the secret really is in the sale. 

 

Now, my friend Shannon rocks her coupon trips each week, so if you’re looking for crazy savings they definitely can happen. But, if you’re pressed for time and realistically that’s not going to happen in your home, you can still (easily!) save big for your family.

 

I promise. 

 

Don’t believe me? 

 

Here’s my my exact process, step-by-step this week so that you can join along too! I know it may seem overwhelming at first, but I promise, you can do this. 

 

Ready?

 

Let’s get started. 

Before Shopping . . .

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#1. Make a menu plan and grocery list. (I used Eat at Home Cooks Menu Plan and grocery list this week and *LOVED* it. 

While I’ve always made a menu plan and grocery list, using Eat at Home Cooks Menu Plan was new to me. But after one week I’m hooked and highly encourage you to try it out. (Her special sale ends tonight and is $10.50 for a 3 month subscription – hurry before it’s gone if you think it will help!)

 

Normally I make my own menu plan which takes a solid 30-45 minutes, and I love that she did all the work for me. (Especially for $3.50 per month or $.87 per week – well worth $.87 to save myself 45 minutes of time!)

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I chose the Whole Foods Menu Plan because we’re working on a healthier 2016, and the list was pretty simple to follow. (I loved that you got all three menu plan options though for one price!)

 

I did skip a meal that I knew our family wouldn’t eat, but we have enough in the kitchen already to make up a meal or two (and my family could eat breakfast for dinner every single night, so I can always whip up something when I need to.)

 

Even if we really don’t like the menus, I love that just by buying what’s on her list I have a stocked pantry for 6 meals this week. The menu and recipes looked great, but if I choose to make something else I can easily search All Recipes Ingredient Search and find something else in a pinch.

 

If you aren’t using All Recipes Ingredient Search when you need dinner done you have GOT to try it out. It saves dinner for our family at least once a week! 

#2. Shop your pantry.

Before heading to the store, I look over my menu plan & grocery list and determine what I already have in my fridge, freezer and pantry. I also take stock of what we’re low on for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and household items for the week.

 

Since we were almost out of laundry detergent and conditioner I added those to my list this week, as well as milk, salad mix, fresh fruit, and chips for my husband to take to lunch. (Y’all, he loves his potato chips and absolutely will not pack a lunch if potato chips aren’t there. ‘Nuf said.)

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At the Store

3. Shop two stores.

Folks, this is huge and I know may not work for everyone, but is well worth it for our family. I typically shop Kroger each week for major sales and loss leaders, but also make a trip to Fresh Thyme (or a similar store) for meat and produce at least every other week, saving our family a bundle.

 

If you have an Aldi, Fresh Thyme, Sprouts, or even possibly Trader Joe’s in your area, I highly recommend a trip once a week (or at least every two weeks), to stock up on meat and produce. 

 

Their sale prices are significantly lower than anything I’ve seen at local grocery stores (unless your grocery store has a rockstar sale), and it’s pretty easy to get in and out in a few minutes. I don’t shop anything else at those stores at all (really, only produce and meat), but it saves a bundle and is well worth the extra trip at least every other week for our family!

 

(FYI – I don’t typically buy meat at Aldi, because I have the option of Fresh Thyme. I’ve heard people say they’ve been very pleased with it, but I love my Fresh Thyme meat and poultry and you just can’t beat the prices!)

 

4. Shop loss leaders.

I’ll detail this week’s store trips below, but this week when I shopped Fresh Thyme and Kroger I really watched for “loss leaders” – items that the stores put at such a good price you’ll take the time to go to their store. 

 

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5. Don’t be brand specific.

If you need a certain item for a meal this week, buy whichever brand is on sale at the best price per ounce. For example, Del Monte tomatoes were “on sale” for $1.25 this week, but the Kroger brand was just $.73.  From what I can tell, tomatoes are tomatoes (at least when you’re choosing between Kroger and Del Monte), and there’s no way my family will have any idea whether I use the Del Monte or Kroger brand in our recipes this week.

 

Now, there are some items which a certain brand really does seem better, but if you can give yourself a little freedom to try out the less expensive item, you might save quite a few pennies each week just for going with the sale item! And, if you really do love your Charmin or Quilted Northern (toilet paper seems to be one of those areas where people love their brands?)  watch Amazon or the drug stores for a really good deal.

 

Here’s one other example ~ in this trip I needed laundry detergent. Tide was on sale for $4.99 for a small bottle, or the HUGE bottle of Purex with Oxi was $5.99. I’ve been pleased with Purex in the past and it was a MUCH better price per ounce, so well worth it to stock up while it’s on sale! 

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6. Don’t trust the grocery store to tell you the best deals.

The grocery stores (and any retailer, really), are notorious for posting signs screaming *SALE* out loud at you just about every look, however often times those sales aren’t really a fantastic price. If you know that boneless, skinless chicken breast priced at $1.99/lb. is a stock up price and that $3.49/lb. isn’t, you’ll be able to skip a not-so-good deal for a stock-up-price deal simply by waiting for a better sale. (And I promise good sales do come around, so when you can, wait for the best price!)

 

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Fresh Thyme had boneless, skinless chicken breast this week for $1.49 per pound. Clearly it was time for me to stock up! Unfortunately, I thought I was also getting a great stock up price on Organic salad mix, but Kroger actually had it for $.75 less per package. I’ll be watching that a wee bit more closely in the future.

 

7. Watch for easy coupon & savings deals at your regular grocery store (in my case, Kroger.)

Even though we’ve got plenty of toothpaste, I knew Colgate was on sale and there was a $.50 off Kroger ecouponThat coupon ended up making it $.50 per tube, which is my stock up price so I grabbed a tube while I was there.

I also picked up orange juice even though we have a bottle in the fridge, because it was $1.49 after the Kroger Mega Sale which is a great price. And I was thrilled to score 2 bottles of Herbal Essences for $.50 each after the Kroger $3/2 Kroger ecoupon – all I had to do was load it to my phone while I shopped.

 

Just taking a few extra minutes to quickly watch for easy deals helped me stock up on things we’ll need all month long.

 

***BONUS TIP.***

Each week there are basic groceries that we need, but we don’t have to buy everything in the store. This week I picked up laundry detergent, conditioner, chicken and toothpaste because they were well within my stock up price.

 

Last month I stocked up on string cheese, peanut butter, cereal, oatmeal, bread and beef when they were on sale, so I won’t likely need those this month. (Except bread ~ we have enough for this week but not tons, thankfully there are some rebates though for free bread right now!) 🙂

 

So each week I don’t have to buy everything because I know my stock up prices well enough that I can stock up when I can easily get a deal ~ and it makes shopping so much easier! If you’re completely new to menu planning and shopping based on the sales this may take a few weeks to get the hang of, but I promise it’s so worth it.

 

WHEW. 

 

(Are you overwhelmed yet?) 🙂

 

Okay, so here’s the low-down-nitty-gritty of how much I really spent at Fresh Thyme and Kroger . . . 

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Fresh Thyme

  • Bought 2.67 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast at $1.49/lb = $3.92
  • Bought 2.13 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast at $1.49/lb = $3.13
  • Bought 5 pounds red potatoes $1.99
  • Bought green onions $.49
  • Bought 3 pound bag green apples $3.99
  • Bought 3 yellow and orange bell peppers $.88 each = $2.64
  • Bought 4 containers strawberries 2/$3 = $6
  • Bought 2 containers organic salad blend 2/$5 (price was $1.88 at Kroger – I hate that!) 🙂
  • Bought 4.86 pounds bananas $.55/lb. = $2.67
  • TOTAL = $30.71, saved $23. 25

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Kroger

  • Bought 1 organic whole chicken $8.71 (this was $1.59/lb and a little more than I like to spend, but the best price I could find this week)
  • Kroger Tomatoes $.73
  • 1 1/2 dozen eggs $3.19
  • Kroger Cornmeal $1.97
  • Kroger Sausage $2.50
  • Kroger Pizza Sauce $1.39
  • Kroger Shredded Cheese $2.69
  • Celery $1.99
  • Tropicana $1.49 after Mega Sale
  • Fresh Broccoli $1.41
  • Colgate Toothpaste $1, used $.50/1 Kroger e coupon = $.50
  • Kroger Honey Mustard $1.29
  • 2 Herbal Essences Conditioner $1.49 after Mega Sale, used $3/2 Kroger e coupon = $.50
  • 1 Purex Laundry Detergent $4.99 after Mega Sale
  • 3 gallons Kroger milk $2.19
  • Kroger Half & Half $1.29
  • Mission Tortillas $1.79 (could have used $.50/1 Mission Tortilla coupon if I’d had it!)
  • Bought Lay’s Chips (for my husband – sorry guys) $2.99 after Mega Sale
  • Bought 4 Armour Lunchables $1 each (keeping it real guys – my kids do some days take lunchables when we’re in a hurry!)
  • TOTAL = $55.03 + $.70 in tax = $55.73, saved $19.84

 

TOTAL FOR BOTH TRIPS = $86.44

 

After getting home I realized I *may* need to run back to the store for extra fruit cups for lunches and eggs ~ I should have checked on those before I left. I’ll probably swing by Aldi for those if I happen to be driving by, and should be able to stock up for less than $10, staying well under my $100 budget.

 

SUCCESS! 🙂 

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve really tracked my grocery spending, so I was curious if I really still had $100 or less still in me. I am thrilled to see we can still easily stick to this budget (and could save even more if I took more time to coupon.) I’ll be sharing our weekly trips this month so you can seehow it really works, and would love for you to join in!

 

If you have questions about how to really change your grocery budget, I would love for you to share those ~ honestly, I love sharing all kinds of deals here on Passionate Penny Pincher, but my number one place that I love teaching folks ways to save is on their grocery budgets. 

 

As I’ve said (a jillion?) times before, there is no other area in your family’s finances that you can so easily control, so choosing to really change your grocery budget in 2016 really can transform your family’s financial future. 

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Are you ready to join me? Let’s get started! 🙂

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Looking for more ways to save on your grocery budget in 2016? Here you go:

Would you like FREE daily email updates of saving and an email sent out to you with more tips each week during this series? Go HERE to subscribe, and I’d love for you to leave a comment to share your thoughts on grocery shopping on a budget – I love hearing from you! 

 

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