The Ultimate Guide to a Better Grocery Budget Week 2: Coupons, Sales and Resourcefulness

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Note: this is a four part series we’re doing each week this month ~ go HERE to start with week 1. 

 

Are you tackling your grocery budget this month with me?

 

I’m so glad I’m not alone! 🙂

 

The biggest thing I discuss in coupon classes that I feel is so very important and absolutely need you to hear today is this:


There is no other area in your family’s finances that you have such control over than your grocery budget.

 

You can’t change your car payment. (At least, not easily.)

 

You can’t drop your mortgage by 50% this month.

 

You can’t skimp on your health care costs. Or your utility bill. Or how much you pay for your cell phone.

 

But every single week, you decide how much you spend at the grocery store.

 

You know what I love about that?

 

you. have. control.

 

{I like control.}

 

{ahem.} 😉

 

You decide where you want to shop and exactly what you want your money to do every single time you shop.

 

I just love that. 

 

So, start off with last week’s tips.

 

And then?

 

Tackle these two strategies too.

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1. Use a coupon AND a sale.

Please, please, PLEASE hear me on this one!

While coupons can save a ton of money, your goal is to use a coupon almost exclusively when it’s combined with a sale to see the largest amount of savings at the grocery store.  (Remember, the secret is in the sale!)

 

So, if you have a $3 off coupon, you want to WAIT TO BUY THAT ITEM until that item goes on sale.

 

Did you hear that?

 

Honestly, 30%-50% of my grocery savings comes from shopping the sales ad ~ not just using coupons. While a $1 off coupon is pretty amazing, a $1 off coupon combined with a 50% off sale makes for some smokin’ hot deals.

 

Note: the only store I don’t think this is true at is at Walmart who doesn’t tend to have sales that are significant at all. When you shop there, ALWAYS use those high value coupons!

So ~ print your coupons, organize your coupons, and then watch the ads for the very best sale on what you’re looking for. (See all the PPP store sales included over HERE.)

 

You can do this.

 

And #2.

 

This is huge.

 

Are you ready?

 

2. BE. RESOURCEFUL.

 

Folks, this tip alone could save you $20 this week.

 

Don’t believe me? 

I spent just under $100 this week for enough groceries to make 6 meals at home (plus scored an extra roast since they were Buy One Get One Free this week!) 

 

Let me show you how.

 

Yesterday I went to the store with my Eat at Home Cooks grocery list (remember, these go up in price tonight, so order soon if you’re interested.)
While I love her lists, there were a few things there that aren’t regular purchases for me and would have been  pretty large expenses on my grocery budget this week, so I got a wee bit creative. First, I looked through her list and checked my pantry, fridge and freezer to see what I already had in stock (easy, right?)

 

Then, I did this while I shopped: 

 

1. on the list ~ cranberries (not in season and only found in the frozen aisle or as whole cranberries in the dried produce aisle.)

Because I was determined to only spend $100 this week, and a big bag of whole cranberries would cost me $8.99 (eek!), I grabbed a 6 pack of small Craisins that happened to be on sale for $1.50.

Now, they won’t be the same as cranberries (but I couldn’t find them at my store anyways), and for $1.50 instead of $9 I’m pretty sure our Pork Chop, Veggie and Cranberry Sheet Pan will taste just fine. (Honestly, I could have probably omitted them completely but it just sounded so good!)

 

2. on the list ~ cajun seasoning ($6.99 ~ eek!)

Many spice blends can be made at home, and since we don’t use that one all that often it’s way cheaper for me to use what I already have at home. I looked up this Cajun Spice Mix on All Recipes, and sure enough have everything in my spice cabinet I need to make that one pretty easily.

 

3. on the list ~ 2 tsp sesame seeds (also $6.99)

I really struggled with this one (because I knew the sesame seeds would last through several recipes), but I realized that in 20 years I can’t remember even once cooking with sesame seeds, so they aren’t a necessary staple at our house. I also knew that my kids aren’t big fans of sesame seeds, I could care less whether they’re there or not, and my husband would never know the difference.

 

Honestly? I’m like this every time I shop, and with just about everything we use. 

 

I constantly think of ways to use less ~ like using rags instead of paper towels, plastic grocery sacks for trash instead of large bags, and cloth napkins instead of paper ones.

 

This has changed some in the last few years as we have a little more money and a lot less time, but when I can, I still try to be resourceful as much as possible.

 

Most seasoning packets, mixes and even cleaning supplies can be mixed up at home, costing you a fraction of the cost.

 

You probably have lots of items already in your pantry that you use before buying one more thing, so this week I want you to constantly think of ways to be resourceful and use what you already have. Remember ~ you have control over what you spend, so see how much you can save with this one simple trick!

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Ready to get started?

 

Use your coupons with a sale as much as possible, and always be willing to think out of the box when it comes to your grocery list. You totally have control of this, and I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!

 

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And don’t forget, today’s the last day to get access to Eat at Home Menu Plans before they go up in price tonight. Head on over HERE and check out Tiffany’s Menu Plans ~ they’re as little as $1.15 per week right now, and I really do just love mine. (Honestly, they’ve saved me at least $100 this week, and our family has eaten well. See a peek of me making yesterday’s meals over HERE!)

 

 

 

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60% Off One Regular Item at Michael’s

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Hurry over to Michael’s to use this coupon for 60% off any ONE item in store, valid through 1/14/17! This would be great to use on an item for the gift closet (my kids love their children’s craft sets) ~ let me know if you score a deal.

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One idea would be to pick up some film for your Fujifilm Instax Camera if you scored one of those for Christmas! Still in the market for an Instax? Check out the deal you can get HERE!

 

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Don’t miss these 7 secrets you need to know before shopping Michaael’s before you head out!

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How To Freeze Fruit + Strawberry Trick + 90% Off Deals!

 

Yesterday I shared how to freeze strawberries, blueberries and bananas over on Facebook live ~ it’s so easy to do and a great way to penny pinch when you find crazy good fruit prices! 

 

Go HERE to print my Free Freezer Printable, and if you happen to find 90% off Christmas clearance at your local CVS I’d sure love to hear about it. Happy Penny Pinching! 🙂

 

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20 Deals You Can’t Miss at Sam’s This Month (Ends 1/29/17)

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Okie dokie folks,  here are a few more items that just started in the Sam’s sale ad which may be worth picking up this month.  Make sure you check with customer service to see if your card has all the instant savings included below on your card.  Some deals are for Plus members only. 

Just like any grocery store, you really do save more at Sam’s when you’re willing to shop their monthly sales ad (which is really just their instant savings deals that run each month.) Here are the items I think are worth grabbing before 1/29/17.

Don’t forget to snag this awesome deal! Right now you’ll get a FREE $25 gift card when you join Sam’s Club, plus a  FREE 16″ Pizza and FREE 18-ct Cookies!

  • 1-Year Sam’s Club Membership
  • $25 Sam’s Club Gift Card
  • 16″ Take ‘n Bake Pizza (Pepperoni or Cheese) ($5.98 value)
  • 18-Count Daily Chef Cookies (Chocolate Chunk) ($5.98 Value)

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Sam’s Best Deals Ending 1/29/17

1. Strawberries (2 lb) – $4.98

2. Go Gurt (32 pk) – $6.98

3. Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner (6 pk) – $8.98

4. Kraft Easy Mac (12 ct) – $8.98

5. Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Treats (25 ct) – $8.62

6. Navel Oranges (10 lb) – $7.98

7. Go Go Squeeze (20 pk) – $9.98

8. Nutri Grain Bars (36 ct) – $9.67

9. Scrubbing Bubbles 4 pk – $10.96

10. Chobani Greek Yogurt (16 ct) – $12.98

11. Clorox Wipes (5 pk 78 ct) – $13.48

12. Finish Powerball Tabs (105 ct) – $14.47

13. Downy Unstopables (36.2 oz) – $14.98 

14. Glad Trash Bags Forceflex (120 ct) – $16.77

15. Members Mark Paper Towels (15 roll) – $16.76

16. Tide Laundry Detergent (170 oz) – $20.48

17. Charmin Toilet Paper (30 Mega Rolls 308 sheets per roll) – $20.98 

18. Members Mark Toilet Paper (45 mega rolls) – $20.48

19. Huggies Diapers Size 2 (186 ct) – $39.98

20. Pampers Diapers Size 1  (192 ct) – $39.98

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Curious what else to buy at Sam’s? Check out this list of my favorite What to Buy at Sams Club every single day. Here are a few more posts you may want to check out:

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The Ultimate Guide To A Better Grocery Budget: Week 1

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Anyone else ready to tackle their grocery budget this month? 

 

You’re not alone!

 

After Christmas I always feel like it’s a great time to reign our grocery budget in, so today is the perfect day to start.

 

Each Tuesday for the rest of the month (going right up until February 1st), I’ll be sharing the Ultimate Guide to a Better Grocery Budget, including tips to help busy families transform their grocery budget (even if you don’t have tons of time to clip coupons.) I’ll also include pics of what we actually buy, so you hold me accountable too. 🙂

My biggest tip?

Start with a great menu plan.

(THIS is the one I’ve been use and I. love. it. Highly recommend if you’re looking for one!)

Ready?

Let’s get started . . .

 

 

1. First things first ~ determine your grocery budget.

Before you start really tackling your grocery budget, look at what you’ve spent over the last few months on groceries and decide how much you’d like to cut your grocery budget.  Expect to save about 20% on your grocery bill over the next month as you’re building your pantry with basic staples, and you should see significantly larger savings in the next six months.

 

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2. Decide how much you want to spend each week on “stockpile” items.

Remember that just about every item in the grocery store will go on sale within six to twelve weeks, so purchase enough non-perishable items when they’re on sale so that you won’t have to purchase those items again at full price. When I see a great price on something I’ll purchase as much as my grocery budget can afford, so I’m not paying full price when it’s not on sale. 

 

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3. Know your prices.

Goodness, this is probably my biggest frustration ever when talking to folks who spend too much on groceries!  So many people naively go blindly into the grocery store with a list in hand (or maybe worse, with no list at all), without even considering what’s on sale. This is the easiest way to spend way too much at the grocery store, and you can easily save big if you just put a little forethought into shopping!

 

Can I just tell you the easiest thing you can do EVER to reduce your grocery budget is to know what really is a good price? By determining a stock up price (at the very least just for produce, dairy and meat products?) and only buying items at their stock up price, I’m betting you can cut your grocery bill by at least 1/3 each week.

 

And above all else . . . 

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shop with a grocery list and menu plan. 

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When I’m completely on track, I use Tiffany from Eat at Home Cook’s Menu Plan and love. it. Before shopping I go through her list, shop my stockpile, and mark off what I can by shopping my pantry before heading to the store. It’s quick, easy, and I get my grocery shopping done in record time.

 

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Head on over HERE and check out Tiffany’s Menu Plans ~ through next week they cost as little as 1.15 per week, and I really do just love mine. If you’ve tried them out in the past I’d love to know if they’ve worked for you!

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Here’s what our grocery shopping looked like this week . . . 

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(My big splurge this week was on those pre-sliced apples for $4.98. I know it’s WAY too much to pay, but my kids gobble them down like candy and I love that they have an easy healthy snack ready whenever they need it!) 

I followed Tiffany’s Menu Plan exactly, shopped my pantry before heading out, shopped at Walmart (gasp!) and spent $45.99 for all the groceries I’ll need to make 5 meals + 1 dessert.

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(Note, I’m using the Whole Foods option this week ~ made the Chicken Florentine Quesadillas last night and they were fantastic, and her slow cooker beef tacos are cooking up in Mrs. Potts right now. Success!)

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The prices on the menu plan goes up NEXT week (1/17/16), so definitely order soon if you’re interested.

 

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So, start with your grocery budget, know your prices, and make a menu plan and grocery list ~ I know you can do this. 

 

 

Decide today to really transform what you’re spending, and I promise you’ll see success. Leave a comment if you’re joining us, and (if you feel comfortable) let me know what you’re spending so we can all decide to stick together and transform our finances in 2017.

 

Happy penny pinching! 

 

Looking for more ways to change your grocery budget?

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Ozark Trail Bundle | Instant 10×10 Gazebo + 4 Chairs ONLY $75!

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If you have been looking for a good deal on an instant canopy – this one is on price drop AND it comes with 4 camp chairs!

Right now at Walmart.com, pick up this Ozark Trail Instant Canopy + 4 Camp Chairs for only $75 (reg $117)

About this bundle:

The Ozark Trail Instant Gazebo provides a true 100 square feet of cooling shade anywhere in just minutes. Simply extend the one-piece steel frame, attach the canopy top, extend the legs and your done. Adjust the shade as needed throughout the day with the three leg height adjustments. For additional circulation, simply open the two included adjustable canopy vents. Take it anywhere with included wheeled carry bag and included stakes and tie outs.

Relax in comfort wherever you go with the this Arm Chair. This convenient regular foldable camping chair collapses for easy storage and transportation and features a built-in one cup holder. This Folding Camp Chair is made from durable polyester fabric wrapped around a steel frame for long-lasting comfort and convenience. An included carrying bag makes it easy to bring this chair with you most anywhere you go.

Thanks, Swag Grabber! Find more top retail deals.

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19 Deals You Can’t Miss at Costco This Month (Ends 1/29/17)

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

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Just like any grocery store, you really do save more at Costco when you’re willing to shop their monthly sales ad (which is really just their coupon book that runs each month.) Here are the items I think are worth grabbing before 1/29/17.

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Costco Best Deals Ending 1/29/17

1. Pork Loin Chops – $2.59/lb

2. Palmolive Dish Soap (102 oz) – $7.99

  • Use $2/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 1/27/17)
  • $5.99 after coupon or $.06 per ounce

3. Bertolli Organic Pasta Sauce ( 4 pk) – $8.99

  • Use $2.25/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 1/27/17)
  • $6.74 after coupon or $1.69 per jar

4. Jif Peanut Butter ( 2 pk 48 oz) – $9.99

5. Ziploc Bags (4 pk 125 ct) – $9.79

  • Use $2/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 1/27/17)
  • $7.79 after coupon or $.001 per bag

6. Bounce Fabric Sheets (320 sheets) – $9.99

7. Sunshine Cheez Its ( 45 ct) – $10.99

  • Use $3/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 1/27/17)
  • $7.99 after coupon or $.18 per bag

8. Keebler Cookie & Cracker Pack (42 ct) – $10.59

  • Use $2.60/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 1/27/17)
  • $7.99 after coupon or $.19 per bag

9. Frito Lay Baked Muiltipack (30 ct) – $11.99

  • Use $3.50/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 1/27/17)
  • $8.49 after coupon or $.28 per bag

10. Downy Liquid April Fresh ( 170 oz) – $11.89

  • Use $2.40/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 1/27/17)
  • $9.49 after coupon

11. All Laundry Detergent (237 oz) – $15.69

12. Downy Unstopables (36 oz) – $14.99

  • Use $3/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 1/27/17)
  • $11.99 after coupon

13. Kirkland Moist Flushable Wipes (632 ct) – $14.99

  • Use $3/1 Costco Monthly Booklet; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 1/27/17)
  • $11.99 after coupon or $0.018 per wipe

14. Casade Action Pacs (90 ct) – $15.99

15. Bai Antioxident Drink (15 pk 18 oz) – $19.99

16. Bounty Paper Towels (12 Rolls 117 sheets) – $19.99

17. Charmin (30 pk Jumbo Roll or 231 sheets) – $21.99

18. Tide Laundry Detergent (225 oz) – $23.79

19. Huggies Diaper Size 2 (174 ct) – $37.49

Always a deal

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Milk $2.89 per gallon This is the same price at Kroger lately, but my Aldi has milk for $.99 a gallon so if you don’t have a Costco membership you can still easily save.

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Chicken Breast – $2.79/lb

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Eggs 24 ct – $3.59 ($1.79 a dozen) My Aldi has eggs for $.69 a dozen so if you don’t have a Costco membership you can still easily save.

 

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

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

whatshouldyoubuyatcostco

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Stitch Fix Box Review

Here’s a peek at what’s in my Stitch Fix Box this month!

love how easy this process is ~ I put in my style profile, share what types of clothes I like, how things fit me, and share an idea of what I’m looking for on my profile. I also include a link to my “cute outfits” board on Pinterest, so my stylist has a pretty good idea of what I love.

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I really really loved everything in this box, and so struggled with what to keep. Here’s how the prices stack up:

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a. Romolo Necklace $34 ~ $25.50 if I keep the whole box and get the 25% off entire box discount

b. Papermoon Lucasta Knit Top $38 ~ 28.50 if I keep the whole box and get the 25% off entire box discount

c. Kut from the Kloth Boyfriend Jeans $78 ~ $58.50 if I keep the whole box and get the 25% off entire box discount

d. Pixley Waffle Knit Cardigan $48 ~ $36 if I keep the whole box and get the 25% off entire box discount

e. Brenyn Split Next Blouse $37 ~ 27.75 if I keep the whole box and get the 25% off entire box discount

 

So what am I keeping? I’ve been so on the fence about this one because I really did love everything there at least a little (except the cardigan – it really isn’t my favorite), but after thinking it through I’m only going to keep the jeans and the necklace.

 

(The necklace is such a silly splurge but it’s so much better quality than I normally would buy!)

 

I really thought about keeping the entire to get the 25% off discount (total box would cost $176.25), but don’t really think I’ll wear the tops or sweater enough to make it worth it, so my total will be $112. (I really like those jeans and they run $89 normally, so I feel like they’re worth it and I know I’ll love them.)

 

If you dress up frequently for work and don’t have time to shop, I really think Stitch Fix can be a fantastic option (I have loved my previous boxes, and the quality of clothing is much nicer than what I normally wear), so it may be a great option for you. 

 

If you’d like to try out Stitch Fix, here’s exactly how it works:

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

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Check out my review of previous boxes HERE, HERE and HERE, and let me know what you think! 

 

 

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21 Day Challenge Starts January 16: Join Me!

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Oh my stars.

 

I’m just so excited about this, and think you will be too.

 

If you struggle with your weight, you are not alone.

 

If you’ve hung out here on PPP for awhile, you know I’ve struggled most of my life with weight issues.

This was me as a junior in high school when I was probably around 190 pounds – it was all I could do not to Picmonkey this picture to make me look just a little better but I’m keeping it real here ~ yikes! I topped out at 225 as a sophomore in college.

And while I lost a pretty amazing 75 pounds way back in 1995 (and have kept it off for twenty years, 3 babies and all), I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food. 

 

To keep off that weight, I’ve always exercised (at least 40 minutes to an hour, 4-5 days a week), and for the most part I’ve eaten reasonably calorically. (Thanks to working out I could eat a little more ~ my motto has been I exercise so I can eat!) 🙂

 

But I never really got down to my “dream” weight, and still hovered at the highest end of a healthy weight for my height. 

 

And in many ways, I’ve stayed a little obsessed with food.

 

I’ve gone along with our culture’s model of what’s okay to eat, and chosen foods that just aren’t right at all. 

 

2011 at the Alabama Governor’s Ball – the only time I’ve every worn a formal dress other than my wedding. 😉 

 

 

 

So last January, after gaining a few too many Christmas pounds, I decided to try out the 21 Day Fix.

 

It worked.

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Results after two rounds ~ I lost 13 pounds in 6 weeks, success!

One year later (and even after Christmas!), I’m still down the 13 pounds I lost (with about 6 more I’d love to lose), and goodness gracious, I promise if you follow this program it will work.

 

There’s no magic to it.

 

Nothing fancy at all.

 

You eat regular, healthy foods that you find at the grocery store, exercise every day, and lose weight. 

 

You just have to decide to start.

 

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It’s HARD to find pictures of us before because I was pretty cautious about what I allowed to get on camera – eek! This hopefully gives you an idea though . . . 

Curious what I’ve found after sticking to the 21 Day Fix (for the most part at least) for an entire year?

1. I have way fewer headaches.

I used to wake up with a headache almost every. single. day. Apparently that was somehow related to eating way too many carbs, because I don’t think I’ve had a single headache since starting the fix (which is crazy to me?)

2. My skin is so much better.

I’ve always had awful skin, and had horrible acne as a teenager. (Add that to a 225 pound body, and you can imagine high school wasn’t fun for me!) As an adult my acne for the most part has cleared up, but I’ve continued to have really large pores that have driven me crazy.

While they’re still noticeable, they are drastically less noticeable than they were 21 days ago. Honestly this has been the biggest surprise, and I never would have guessed it!

3. I’m really not hungry.

I expected to starve most of the time during the 21 days, but honestly haven’t struggled with that one?

Apparently I need way less food than I thought I did, and by choosing the right foods I think my body is so much more easily satisfied than it was before. Apparently your body really does like protein that consists of something other than Nutella. (Who knew?)

4. I need carrots. Or broccoli slaw.

cannot believe how much carrots and broccoli slaw fill me up. They’re amazing. Even though it hasn’t been easy, when I’ve really just been hungry I’ve reached for those instead of chocolate chips. (truth.)

I am so much fuller, and can’t believe the difference choosing the right foods has made.

5. Eating the right foods and exercising the right way changes your shape more than just eating fewer calories does.

Even though I’ve been at the weight I’m at in the after picture before, my body feels a little stronger and looks a little better because of choosing the right foods and exercising correctly. I love that. 🙂

And, I love that I’m exercising just 30 minutes each day.

Sooooo ~ will you join me as I finish out to my goal? (Please please please say you will?) 

 

Guys, I do not ever promote things like this.

 

But right now, Beachbody (the program that runs the 21 Day Fix) has a crazy amazing offer, and I think you’re going to love it. 

 

It’s basically Netflix for fitness.

 

Get UNLIMITED ACCESS to HUNDREDS of workout videos for as little as $99 per year.

 

And get access to a private Facebook group.

 

This is so worth it ~ every single penny.

 

If you’d like to try Shakeology and the entire meal plan system including containers and diet plan (which is what I used this last year), you’ll pay $199. (I know it’s not cheap, but goodness, it’s so worth it!)

 

 

Here’s what’s included:

1) ME as your coach. 🙂

2) Access to our private Facebook group for support and encouragement

3) 1-Year Membership to Beachbody On Demand (BOD) with all content included…fully unlocked, plus new future releases coming in 2017. Yes, this means you get the NEW Core De Force, Country Heat, CIZE, 21 Day Fix, T25, INSANITY MAX:30, P90X and many others AT NO EXTRA cost.

4) Shakeology (choice of 30-day supply on Home Direct)

5) Portion Fix (includes 7-piece portion control container set, eating guide, large blue container & shaker cup)

6) VIP membership to save 10% off all products going forward (like my fav pre-workout Energize)

7) New Coach Sign-up fee is waived and get your Business Starter Kit included. (This is like my extra coupon for you: If you sign up as a coach…in month 2, your coach discounts kick in and save 25% off the shakes, totally optional!)

You get all of this for $199 for the entire year (12 months) and there is NO monthly fee.

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TOTAL COST = $199

 

OR, if you’d prefer to try it out without Shakeology AND WITHOUT THE MENU PLAN/MEAL CONTAINERS, you’ll get this: 

1) ME as your coach. 🙂

2) Access to our private Facebook group for support and encouragement

3) 1-Year Membership to Beachbody On Demand (BOD) with all content included…fully unlocked, plus new future releases coming in 2017. Yes, this means you get the NEW Core De Force, Country Heat, CIZE, 21 Day Fix, T25, INSANITY MAX:30, P90X and many others AT NO EXTRA cost.

 

You get all of this for $99 for the entire year (12 months) and there is NO monthly fee.

TOTAL COST = $99

We’ll start one round of the official 21 Day Fix program on January 15th (which gives you plenty of time to order your supplies), and I KNOW you will get results if you commit to this.

 

And I’d love for you to see success with me as we commit to this. 

 

Join me?

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When Christmas doesn’t look quite like the Christmas card

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Sit back, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and get ready for a little random rambling (it’s been awhile!) If you’re here just for the deals (I TOTALLY get that), scoot right on past to the next penny pinched post. (This has been heavy on my heart this week . . . so here we go.)

 

Last night I saw one of my dearest friend’s precious (and pretty perfect looking) family pics on my Facebook feed, and my heart for the teensy-eensiest second felt a twinge of jealousy.

 

Now this is a friend I know well, whom I completely adore, and I quickly remembered there’s more on her heart than that perfect pic could tell.

 

It was a huge wake up call for me, and  I was reminded that as I scroll through Facebook seeing gorgeous families and wonder why their lives look so perfect . . .

 

when mine just doesn’t . . . 

 

that sometimes those perfect pictures don’t tell the whole truth.

 

And that when we open gorgeous Christmas cards where children smile radiantly in clothes so perfectly coordinated ~ well, that doesn’t always tell the full story either.

 

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2016 has been quite a year in our home, but it hasn’t felt anywhere near as perfect as our Christmas card might just portray.

 

PPP has grown more than I could have ever imagined.

 

(That is completely because of YOU. You have no idea how much that means to me!)

 

We’ve doubled our email subscribers.

 

Grown a few hundred thousand folks on Facebook.

 

Earned a few new Instagram and Pinterest followers too.

 

And I feel like I’ve hung out with a bundle of you a little more in “real life” by cooking, baking, and DIY’ing over on Facebook live.

 

(For any of you who don’t know me well, Facebook live is VERY uncomfortable for me, and I have to completely gear myself up for it every single day. I have notes reminding me to smile, stand up straight, and talk a little slower. Yikes.) 

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In fact, if you’re looking from the outside-in, you might just for a second think this girl has got her act together. 

 

Eek.

 

In real life though, my heart’s been heavy.

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My husband had a heart attack back in April. (Yes, that cute one right there ~ that was him a few months before his heart attack. He’s only 45. Read more HERE ~ if you’ve been through this my heart goes out to you because I had no idea what an emotional roller coaster this would be.)

 

We’ve had a few other not so easy things creep up throughout the year too.

 

We’ve had some extended family worries that just make life a little more difficult some days.

 

We’re still adjusting to life in Ohio.

 

(Y’all, I wish I could just get. over. that. ugh. If the sweet folks down in Alabama hadn’t been just so sweet it might have made this move a wee bit easier! It is getting MUCH better just still hard some days ~ I’ve heard 3 years is the magic mark, so crossing my fingers on that.) 🙂 

 

And.

 

good.

 

gravy.

 

We’re raising two teenagers at the same time. (Clearly that makes us superheroes, right?)

 

To top it all off we’ve got one way-too-confident-God-bless-this-kid-we’re-going-to-have-to-hold-on-tight-for-the-next-ten-years-nine-year-old.

 

Double eek. 

 

But looking from the outside-in, it would be easy for someone to look at our Christmas card (in black and white to hide the wrinkles, mind you), and think our mess of our family has our act together too.

 

 

But here’s the truth.

 

We’re a mess.

 

We have bad days. We get tired. We holler sometimes. We get plain old g.r.o.u.c.h.y.  

 

but from our pretty Christmas card pic and what you see online, you might just think our life looks okay.

 

And honestly?

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While we have some really hard things surrounding us right now, we are crazily blessed with an abundant life I never even imagined I’d see. 

 

But some days life is just hard.

 

And oh so messy.

 

And not as perfect as we (ummm, I) might like to portray.

 

Here’s what we so easily forget . . . 

 

No matter how cute someone looks on Facebook . . .

 

No matter how incredibly their Christmas card arrives at your door . . .

 

No matter how darling that friend’s home is over on Instagram . . .

 

They likely have struggles too you’ll never know from this side of the screen.

 

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Remember this today.

 

Right this very minute.

 

Your life.

 

The one you’re living right now today.

 

It’s the most perfect gift you’ve ever been given. 

 

Take today.

 

Take this Christmas.

 

Choose to make it beautiful and memorable and perfect ~ with whatever cards you’ve been dealt, and exactly the people you’re with,

 

and don’t compare yourself to anyone else even one last time.  

 

okay? 

 

And whatever mess you’re in. 

 

Whatever struggle that’s covering you up and maybe just clouding your vision from how wondrous this Christmas season is,

 

know that it it’s in His hands (thank. heavens.) today.

 

Praying God’s peace, rest, and hope for you this Christmas day.

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“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

 

 

 

 

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