25 Days of Frugal DIY Day 3 ($10 Or Less)

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This idea is so clever! Head on over HERE to see how the Lemonade Makin’ Mama created a chic jewelry holder out of just a few simple items.

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Such a great way to DIY on a penny pinched budget. 🙂

Stop back tomorrow night for a new penny pinched idea ~ happy penny pinching!

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

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Ready for another slow cooker recipe? If you’d like ribs but don’t want to fire up the grill, these are a simple way to make them inside. So good, and you only need five ingredients . . . love that!

 

I think I’ve finally figured out ribs in the slow cooker (WOOHOO!)  After reading through a few suggestions on how to cook ribs in the crockpot, I made these today and they were perfect. 

 

And EASY. 

 

What more could a girl ask for? 🙂

 

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Here’s the trick:  do NOT just put the ribs in the slow cooker.

 

(I know, I know . . . that takes a little of the fun out of slow cooking, but I promise spending a few minutes to prepare those ribs in the morning will reward you with some fall-apart-heavenly ribs!) 

 

Allow just thirty minutes in the morning to pre-bake them in the oven, and then let your slow cooker to the rest of the cooking for you.  These were so good that my family declared them better than Logan’s Roadhouse, and liked them as much as our favorite rib recipe for the grill.

 

 

Yup, I was a rockstar at our house this week. 

 

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to be a rockstar today too. 🙂 

PRINT RECIPE

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Barbecue Sauce (we used Sweet Baby Rays)
  • 3-4 lbs. Pork Long Country Style Ribs, or Pork Sirloin Chops

Instructions

  1. Season ribs with salt, pepper and garlic salt.
  2. Bake at 350 in oven for 15 minutes, then turn ribs over and bake another 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer ribs to slow cooker (you may need to cut them to fit into Mrs. Potts!) 🙂
  4. Pour bottle of barbecue sauce over top of the ribs.
  5. Cook for 6-7 hours on low.
  6. Serve along with extra barbecue sauce (optional).

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Looking for more slow cooker recipes to add to your menu plan this week? Here you go . . .

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Stamp Out Hunger Is May 14th (Time To Clean Your Pantry!)

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Don’t forget that this is tomorrow!

Here’s a great way to help those in your community! Take a few minutes this week to clean out your pantry and gather up items for Stamp Out Hunger! The USPS Stamp Out Hunger Is May 14th, so if you’re not sure where to give in your community, you can just leave your donations in your mailbox and your mail carrier will deliver them to a local pantry for you. (I love that!)

If you’re new to Stamp Out Hunger, it’s a program where for one day (May 14, 2016), you can leave food at your in your mailbox, and your mail man will deliver it to a local food pantry for you. (Isn’t that fantastic?) I usually donate most of ours to our church’s food pantry (because that’s where we normally give), but if you’re unsure of where to give in your community this is a great way to get involved and donate locally to help those in your area.

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If you take any pictures of your great deals to donate, I’d LOVE for you to email them to me so I can share! Send me an email at contact@passionate penny pincher.com (leave out spaces) . . . I can’t wait to see how you’re giving. 🙂

 

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22 Items You Should Buy on Amazon {AND 13 Things You Shouldn’t}

Sign up HERE to get access to my 10 secrets to saving online (that no one else is telling you) and learn more insider Amazon shopping tips!

   amazonshouldshouldnt1 22 Things You Should Buy on Amazon

Do you love shopping Amazon? 

 

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

 

I love that. 🙂 

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

So, curious what things I always watch for at Amazon before shopping elsewhere? Here you go:

 

1. Android apps (FREE)

2. Auto Parts

3. Batteries

Try out the Amazon Basics brand ~ excellent reviews and a great price!

4. BluRays & DVDs

5. Books

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6. Coffee Pods

7. Computer Accessories

8. Department Store Make Up

I buy my Estee Lauder foundation there because it helps me skip a trip to the mall!

9. Diapers & Baby Wipes (including Swim Diapers)

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10. E-Books (FREE)

11. Electronics

12. Electronic Add-ons

13. Board Games

14. Gift Cards (watch for special discounts on these)

15. Household Personal Care Items

16. Magazine Subscriptions

17. Drug store makeup (watch for special savings on these)

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18. Select Cleaning Products – Lysol Wipes, Finish Tabs, Swiffer Dusters

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19. Small Kitchen Appliances

For Example . . . 

20. Snack Foods when on special discounts

21. Toilet Paper

22. Toys

 

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13 Things You Shouldn’t Buy on Amazon

NOTE: ALWAYS (always!) be sure to check the price on Amazon to make sure the item isn’t lower there before purchasing elsewhere. These tend to be things that I’ve noticed are higher at Amazon, but it’s always worth doing a quick price check because sometimes they really do have the best deal!

1. Athletic Shoes* (try 6PM or Zappos)

2. Back to School Supplies*

Amazon does occasionally offer some serious discounts on these, but as a rule I think you’ll get better prices during the back to school season at Staples, Office Depot or Walmart

3. Brand Name Apparel

try local stores using coupon instead ~ Dick’s Sporting Goods for example offers tons of coupon codes

4. SOME Cleaning Supplies

always do your math on these to compare before purchasing!

5. Clothing*

again, try 6PM or Zappos however Amazon does occasionally offer great prices on clothing during one day discounted specials

6. Food

a lot of grocery prices are still high at Amazon ~ you’ll pay for Amazon’s convenience which may be worth it, but know you may be paying more! Amazon does sometimes offer significant special savings, so watch PPP for those price drops

7. Hardware

8. Home Furnishings

9. Pet Food

because these are usually heavy, you’ll get a better deal typically at your local grocery store, Target or Walmart

10. Pet Supplies

11. Photography Supplies*

12. Power Tools*

13. Tools*

*unless special Gold Box Deal

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Crazy about Amazon?  Here are more ways to save:

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whatshouldyoubuyonamazon

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Get free access to my 10 secrets to saving online as well to learn even more ways to save. 

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7 Ways A Fitbit Will Change Your Life

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(Note: these work for me because I work from home, but if you’re in an office all day I’m sure your days look very different than mine! So, think about ways you can force yourself to walk a few minutes each hour while doing office projects, cleaning off your desk, walking to take care of an errand during lunch, etc. I’d love to hear your thoughts!)

 

In response to Shannon’s 7 reasons she broke up with her fitness tracker, I had to share my thoughts on this one too. Like Shannon I’ve had many (many!) days where I’ve let those numbers on my Fitbit drive me nuts, but I’ve slowly come up with a moderated way to let it help me be my best without driving me crazy.

 

While I exercise almost every day (and have for twenty years), as a blogger I sit a lot throughout the day. Once I finish my workout in the morning and get the kids off to school, I usually head to my office and sit down to work 6-8 hours straight without leaving the computer.

 

However, using my Fitbit to remind myself to get moving has seriously changed our home life. Here’s the thing ~ while many of us work on computers every day in our current culture, our bodies just weren’t designed for that. We were designed to be up and moving, so my Fitbit is just a friendly reminder to get that moving in. 

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Curious how it’s changed my life (and honestly our home life too?) Here’s how:

 

1. I complete our laundry. (Every. day.)

Ever hour on the hour between 10 and 3, I force myself to get up and tackle a household chore that helps me sneak in 1,000 steps. The first one I start with each morning is a load of laundry, so my typical routine is to pop a load in the washer as soon as I get showered in the morning, move it to the dryer as soon as I hear it beep, then on my first hourly 1,000 steps I head upstairs, fold laundry and put it all away. 1,000 steps completed (and my laundry is done by keeping up with one load a day!)

2. My house stays tidied up.

During my second 1,000 step round (usually at 11 AM), I walk through the house and pick up anything that needs to be put away. If it needs to go to the basement I take it there, because I’ve got to get those extra steps in and it needs to be put away anyways.

3. Dinner plans get made.

Around 12 o’clock I figure out what’s for dinner, hop off the computer, and get everything I need ready for dinner that night. Today I’m making a slow cooker recipe, so by the time I got my ingredients together, chopped everything up, popped it in Mrs. Potts and cleared the kitchen, I’d almost hit another 1,000 steps. Not only am I getting my steps in, I’m taking care of something I could so easily skip ~ such a win each day!

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when I got 40,000 steps in on my birthday ~ ummm, yes, I was a little obsessed!

4. My plants stay watered & our sinks stay clean.

I am the worst about keeping our plants watered, but every day around 1 o’clock I take a few minutes to get those plants watered. While I’m at it I use Lysol Wipes to wipe down all the sinks in our home, easily eeking out another 1,000 steps.

 

5. The trash goes out & the mail comes in.

As you can imagine around 2 o’clock I’m ready not to hop off the computer with kids coming home all too soon, but I force myself to hop up, walk around to all the trash cans in our home and get all the trash thrown away. While I’m up I force myself to get up to another 1,000 steps  so I grab the mail, and look for anything else that needs to be done while I’m walking around. It’s amazing how much easier it is to keep your home tidy when you force yourself to move each day!

 

 

6. I’m always glad to park far away at the grocery store (as long as the weather’s not bad!)

Stuck with a parking spot way far away from the grocery store? No problem! I easily add an extra 1,000 steps at the store, and those far away spots just help get in a few more steps.

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my personal post on FB last weekend ~ we’ve always tried to walk when we have a few minutes at night, but I loved that someone actually stopped us as we went when holding hands last week!

7. Any chance I get for a walk with my husband in the evenings I take.

We have so many crazy nights hauling kids around to activities, but my husband and I try to take advantage of quick walks whenever we can. He has no idea I’m using them to sneak in those extra steps, but it’s a win-win for both of us.

 

{*BONUS* I’m also way more willing to help my husband with yard work because it helps me add in a few extra steps ~ such a simple way to make ourselves go and do the things we need to do each day!}

 

I no longer sync my Fitbit and do challenges with other people (I realized that made me way too obsessed!) and have never worn my Fitbit as a sleep tracker . . .  I honestly just use it to make sure I’m up and moving throughout the day, because I know my life can be so sedentary. While I’m incredibly fortunate to work at home, even in an office all day consider spending some time just making yourself walk to run an errand, taking a break from your computer every hour for a quick walk around the office, or do something to keep you moving each day.

 

For me, while I have definitely had days where I’ve allowed myself to be consumed with my steps, just using it to keep myself up more often throughout the day has not only helped my health, it’s helped me balance in my life. Having our home kept up with each day is huge and the health factor is just a fun added benefit! I really do believe our bodies were designed to move so much more than they do, so this is such a great way for me to cross a few things off my to-do list each day, and take care of myself too.

 

This is the Fitbit I use if you’re interested ~ I love it and have had it for over a year ~ highly recommend this one if you’re looking for one! I’d love to hear if you’ve seen success from using a Fitbit too ~ leave a comment to share. 

 

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Right now eBay has a sale on the Fitbit HR ~ just $99.99 shipped (which is the best price I’ve seen since Black Friday!) 

 

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In case you’re interested, we’re starting a new 21 Day Fix Challenge group next Monday (May 16th). We have over 100 ladies in the group (several have lost 20-30 pounds+!), and would love to have you ~ go HERE to sign up if you’d like to join us! (Note: this will likely be my last round to start until the fall, so I’d love for you to join us if you’re interested.)

 

 

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

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7 Reasons Why I Broke Up With My Fitness Tracker

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Note from Laurie ~ I’m traveling today with my daughter back from a weekend competition, but loved this post from Shannon! Like her, I was slightly addicted to my Fitbit for about 6 months, but have given it up in the last month after realizing I was a wee bit obsessed with it. I do love using it to make myself move more and think they can be such a great motivator, but like all things, you can go too far. Would love to hear your thoughts on this one too!

 

Have you ever had a break-up that you knew was a great decision?  Not with a person (we ALL have those-haha).  But with something like cable, a car, a bike, a video game system, etc.?  Here’s the story of my recent break-up.
Recently I had phone issues which made me default my phone and re-download my apps.  Sigh!  My Jawbone UP fitness tracker was one of them.  But for some reason when I tried to sync the app to the UP band, it didn’t work.  So I decided to ditch it . . . and I am so glad!

 

Here are my top 7 reasons I broke up with my fitness tracker:

 

1.  I am no longer obsessed with getting my 10,000 steps in.  

Yes, I am SUPER competitive so I had to get those 10,000 steps plus a few extra thousand in on my running days.  I run 5 miles a day 5 days a week.  It was around 8,500 steps for me after my run. But I had to get around 11,000 – 12,000 a day.  It drove my family crazy that I would walk in place while cooking, folding laundry, etc.  (Yes, it REALLY did drive them crazy, says my husband as he edits this.)

 

2. I can enjoy my off days of running.  

When I had my off days of running I would still think of ways I could get at least 5,000 – 6,000 steps in.  It was so consuming because I was so obsessed with getting steps in.

 

3.  My body gets the rest it needs.  

I get to sit down and rest physically–and mentally since I’m not thinking about my steps–especially on my off days.

 

4. I’m not checking my app…ALL…THE…TIME.

I would check it every time I came home from anywhere I walked, after doing house work, laundry, cooking, anything!  Anyone else battle with this?

 

5. My wrist is free.

I did not have a Fitbit (that has a combined watch) so I wore my UP band and watch on one wrist, and typing was a pain!

 

6. I no longer get the annoying emails.

I would get emails with the worst titles like “You were low this week; try to step it up next week!” UGH!

 

7.  Peace of mind.  

I am back to running and enjoying it again!

 

I know some of you love your Fitbit or UP because it motivates you to exercise, and that is great!  But for me I already love to run so I don’t really need motivation.  I haven’t had my UP on for a week, and I have to say I haven’t missed it one bit.  So this break-up was a great decision!

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How about you?  Do you love your Fitbit or UP band, or do you have a love/hate relationship with it? Would love to hear your thoughts on this one! And, if you’d love to try out a Fitbit but don’t want to pay full price, see how to turn your Smartphone into a Fitbit. Love that!

 

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19 Reasons You Need To Shop Costco (May Edition)

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Here’s an update on Sams vs. Costco prices for May 2016!  Note that both stores have special monthly sales ads which affects pricing (I included this month’s sales in the post, so pricing will vary a little each month.) As always, when shopping these stores please go in with a budget in place because it’s just so easy to overspend at warehouse stores.

 

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I’m such a dork and absolutely love doing posts like this to really do the math and see which store wins. I love finding the low-down-nitty-gritty of a good price, so it’s fun to do the math and see WHO really does offer the best savings.  I was shocked this month to see that Costco completely won the pricing wars ~ they have so many great savings this month. Take a peek and see what you think!

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Cheez It Snack Bags

COSTCO –  Nabisco Cheez Its (45 ct) – $7.99 or $.18 per pack (without coupon $.24 per pack or $10.99 regular price)

SAM’S – Nabisco Cheeze Its (45 ct) – $10.98 or $.24 per pack

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Nature Valley Granola Bars

COSTCO – Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Bars (48 ct) – $9.49 or $.19 per bar (without coupon $.26 per pack or $12.79 regular price)

SAM’S – Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Bars (48 ct) – $12.98 or $.27 per bar

WINNER = COSTCO (even without In Ad Savings)

Costco – Nature Valley Bars (49 ct) – $9.69  or $.20 per bar (without coupon $.26 per pack or $12.79 regular price)

SAM’S – Nature Valley Granola Bars (49 ct) – $12.98 or $.26 per bar

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Hellman’s Mayonnaise

Costco – Hellman’s Mayonnaise (50 oz) – $5.99 or $.12 per ounce (without coupon $0.16 per wipe or $7.99 regular prices

Sam’s –  Hellman’s Mayonnaise (75 oz) – $11.98 or $.16 per ounce

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Frosted Flakes

Costco – Frosted Flakes (61.9 oz) – $5.59 or $.09 per ounce (without coupon $0.12 per ounce or $7.59 regular price)

Sam’s –  Frosted Flakes (55 oz) – $6.98 or $.13 per ounce

WINNER = COSTCO (even without In Ad Savings)

Gatorade

Costco – Gatorade (28 pk 12 oz) – $10.39 or $.37 per bottle (without coupon $0.46 per bottle or $12.99 regular price)

Sam’s – Gatorade (28 pk 12 oz) – $12.98 or $.46 per bottle

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Naked Juice Smoothies

Costco – Naked Juice Smoothies (12 pk 10 oz) – $10.49 or $.87 each (without coupon $1.20 each or $14.49 regular price)

Sam’s –  Naked Juice Smoothies (8 pk 10 oz) – $10.98 or $1.37 each

WINNER = COSTCO (even without In Ad Savings)

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Clorox Wipes

Costco – Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (390 ct) – $10.69 or $0.029 per wipe (without coupon $0.037 per wipe or $13.49 regular price)  Amazon has them for just 2¢ per wipe right now!)

Sam’s – Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (390 ct) – $13.48 or $0.034 per wipe

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Bounce Fabric Sheets

Costco – Bounce Fabric Sheets (320 ct) – $7.99 or $.024 per sheet  (without coupon $0.31 per sheet or $9.99 regular price)

Sam’s – Bounce Fabric Sheets (320 ct) – $9.98 or $.031 per sheet

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Dawn Dish Soap

Costco – Dawn Dish Soap (90 oz) – $7.59 or $.08 per ounce  (without coupon $0.106 per tab or $9.59 regular price)

Sam’s –  Dawn Dish Soap (75 oz) – $9.48 or $.13 per ounce

WINNER = COSTCO (even without In Ad Savings)

Cascade Complete ActionPacs

Costco – Cascade Complete ActionPacs (90 ct) – $12.79 or $.14 per tab (without coupon $0.18 per tab or $15.99 regular price)

Sam’s Cascade Complete ActionPacs (105 ct) – $14.98 or $.14 per tab

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Scotch Brite Sponges

Costco – Scotch Brite Sponges (21 pk) – $9.99 or $.48 per sponge (without coupon $0.62 per sponge or $12.99 regular price)

Sam’s – Scotch Brite Sponges (21 pk) – $12.98 or $.62 per sponge

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Huggies Diapers

Costco – Huggies Diapers Size 2 (174 ct) – $31.49 or $.18 per diaper  (without coupon $0.22 per tab or $37.49 regular price) Amazon has them for just 7¢ per diaper right now!)

Sam’s – Huggies Diapers Size 2 (186 ct) – $39.98 or $.21 per diaper

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Huggies Wipes

Costco- Huggies Wipes (1160 ct) – $19.99 or $0.017 per wipes (without coupon $0.021 per wipe or $24.99 regular price)

Sam’s –  Huggies Wipes (864 ct) – $19.98 or $0.023 per wipes

WINNER = COSTCO  (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Downy Fabric Softener

Costco- Downy Fabric Softener (170 oz) – $9.59 or $0.056 per ounce (without coupon $0.07 per tab or $19.99 regular price)

Sam’s –  Downy Fabric Softener (170 oz) – $11.88 or $0.069 per ounce

WINNER = COSTCO  (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Tide Laundry Detergent

Costco – Tide Advanced HE Laundry Detergent (170 oz) – $17.49 or $0.10 per ounce (without coupon $0.13 per ounce or $21.99 regular price)

Sam’s –  Tide Advanced HE Laundry Detergent (170 oz) – $20.98 or $0.12 per ounce

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Trash Bags

Costco – Kirkland Trash Bags (90 ct) – $11.99 or $.13 per bag (without coupon $0.166 per ounce or $14.99 regular price)

SAM’S – Member’s Mark Trash Bags (90 ct) – $14.67 or $.16 per bag

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

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Ziploc

Costco – Ziploc Bags (500 ct) – $7.89 or $0.015 per bag (without coupon $0.019 per bag or $9.89 regular price)

Sam’s-  Ziploc Bags (500 ct) – $7.89 or $0.019 per bag

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

Reynolds Aluminum Foil

Costco – Reynolds Aluminum Foil (300 sq ft) – $10.59 or $0.03 per sq ft (without coupon $0.05 per sq ft or $13.89 regular price)

Sam’s – Reynolds Aluminum Foil (360 sq ft) – $15.96  or $0.04 per sq ft

WINNER = COSTCO (Costco wins this month because of In Ad Savings)

TOILET PAPER

Kirkland Toilet Paper (30 pk 425 sheets per roll) – $15.99 or $.53 per roll or $.001 per sheet

Sam’s – Member Mark Toilet Paper (45 Roll 220 sheets) – $17.86 or $.40 per roll or $.001 per sheet

WINNER = TIE

 

PAPER TOWELS

Kirkland Paper Towels (12 roll 160 sheets) – $15.69 or $1.30 per roll or $.008 per sheet

Members Mark Paper Towels (15 Roll 142 Sheets) – $16.48 or $1.09 per roll or $.0077 per sheet)

WINNER = Sam’s

Other Deals:

Eggs

COSTCO – Eggland’s Best (18 ct) – $3.39 or $.19 per egg

SAM’S –  Eggland’s Best (18 ct) – $4.72 or $.26 per egg

WINNER = COSTCO

COSTCO – Grade A Eggs (18 ct) – $1.39 or $.08 per egg

SAM’S –  Sun Ups Eggs (18 ct) – $1.98 or $.11 per egg

WINNER = COSTCO

Milk

COSTCO – Gallon of Milk – $1.39

SAM’S –  Gallon of Milk – Skim – $2.39

WINNER = COSTCO

Produce

Costco –  Organic Spring Mix/Spinach – $4.49

Sam’s –  Organic Spring Mix/Spinach – $4.47

Costco – Bananas (3 lb) – $1.39

Sam’s –  Bananas (3 lb) – $1.39

Extra Costco Deals:

Costco – Bisquick (96 oz) – $3.99 or $.04 per ounce (without coupon $0.06 per wipe or $5.49 regular price)

Costco – Swiffer Dusters (24 ct) – $11.49 or $.47 each (without coupon $0.61 each or $14.69 regular price)

 

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And don’t forget to pick up your Costco chicken while you’re there. Love it and such a great price!

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10 Secrets To Saving Online

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I’m so (so so so!) excited about this!

 

Hurry over HERE to sign up for FREE daily penny pinching emails, and get my secret video, 10 Secrets to Saving Online (that no one else is telling you.) 🙂 Tip #1 is my absolute favorite online shopping secret, and will change the way you shop. (It’s my favorite, and I’m always amazed that everyone doesn’t know about it!)

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You’ll get your free video as soon as you confirm signing up for daily emails, and I hope it helps you save a bundle. This is the first time I’ve actually done a “real” video (with a friend who shot the video, added music, and everything!), and while I was definitely a little nervous making it, I think you’ll love these secret saving tips.

 

Go HERE to get your free video, and let me know what you think!

 

Note – I know it takes an extra step to sign up for emails to get this video, and REALLY appreciate you taking the time to do that. As soon as you add in your email you’ll immediately get an email from me to “confirm your subscription” (email providers require that you do that so they know we’re not spam), and then in the next link you’ll get the free video & tips. THANK YOU so much for taking the time to jump through the steps ~ I promise it’ll be worth it for you!

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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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Aldi Craziness: 89¢ Eggs & Milk (Let Me Know What You Find!)

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My friend Staci just texted me these crazy prices she found at Aldi today in North Alabama ~ I’m thinking I may race to our store in Ohio to see if we lucked into any fun milk and egg prices! And, I just heard from another friend in a different area of the country that they’re seeing 69¢ for a dozen eggs. WOOHOOO!

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Check out the full Aldi ad HERE before you shop, and don’t miss these 22 Secrets You Need To Know Before You Shop Aldi. Leave a comment if you luck into any awesome deals while you’re there!

Thanks so much Staci for sharing ~ I love that! 🙂 

 

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