Brigette’s $71 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

It’s been gorgeous weather here in the South the past week! I ended up not making several of the meals on my menu plan last week so that we could grill out. In January.

With this being only my second winter here, and having spent the previous 6 winters in Detroit – this still blows my mind. I love it! This wasn’t an amazing grocery week as far as the sales went, but I did stockpile chicken and bread. And I jumped way out of my comfort zone and bought toilet paper at Aldi. :)

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Aldi

1 24-oz package Zucchini – $1.99

1 bunch Bananas (3.12lbs @ $0.44/lb) – $1.37, plus receive $0.25 back from Checkout 51 – $1.12 after rebate

1 head Cabbage – $1.29

1 large bag Kale – $1.99 (I have never liked kale until recently – and I cannot get enough of the stuff now!)

3 6-oz containers Yogurt – $1.17

2 3-ct packages Romaine Hearts – $3.98

1 16-oz package Baby Carrots – $0.99

1 3-lb bag Tangerines – $1.99

1 3-lb bag Gala Apples – $2.99

1 3-lb bag Golden Delicious Apples – $2.99

1 1-lb package Ground Turkey – $1.89

1 head Cauliflower – $1.99

1 16-oz carton Strawberries – $1.49, plus receive $0.50 back from Checkout 51 – $0.99 after rebate

1 8oz package Mushrooms – $1.29

1 can Baking Powder – $0.99

1 gallon Milk – $3.39

1 12-double roll package Toilet Paper (Buying toilet paper at Aldi is a first for me…but there were no good sales that I saw at other stores and we needed it! :)) – $4.99

Total after Tax and Rebates – $36.38

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Harris Teeter

1 gallon White Vinegar – $2.59

2 Chex Mix (B1G1) – $2.79, used $0.50/2 printable (doubled), plus $0/50/2 evic, plus$0.50/2 SavingStar – $0.79/2 after coupons

2 packages Mariani Dried Cranberries (B1G1) – $3.39, used 2 $0.50/1 Mariani Dried Fruit Snack, exp. 1/31/15 (SS 11/23/14) (doubled) – $1.39/2 after coupons

1 16-oz can Lite Coconut Milk – $1.50

2 5.5oz bags Riceworks Chips (B1G1) – $2.99, used 2 $1/1 Riceworks Product, exp. 1/24/15 (SS 12/07/14 #2 R) – $0.99/2 after coupons

2 1-lb bag Carrots – $1.00

1 16-oz can Kraft Parmesan Cheese – $4.29, used $0.75/1 printable (doubled), plus $0.75/1 evic, plus receive $0.55 back from Snap by Groupon – $1.49 after coupons and rebate

1 18-ct carton Egglands Best Eggs – $2.77, used $0.50/1 Eggland’s Best Eggs, exp. 2/2/15 (SS 11/02/14) (doubled), plus receive $0.50 back from Checkout 51 – $1.27

5 bags (2.5lbs each) Frozen Chicken Tenderloins (B2G3) – $21.98

Total after Sales, Coupons and Rebates – $33.00

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Flower Foods Bakery

9 packages of assorted bread (sliced sandwich bread, bagel thins, hamburger buns), reduced (4/$1.00) – $2.25

Weekly Total: $71.63

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Oatmeal x 3

Eggs and Toast x 2

Gluten Free Apple Oat Muffins (adapting this recipe) and Yogurt

French Toast (Saturday)

Lunches

Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches, Bananas, Carrot Sticks x 2

Macaroni and Cheese, Strawberries

Build-Your-Own Salad with Tuna, Hard Boiled Eggs, Sunflower Seeds, Dried Cranberries and Fresh Veggies x 2

Leftovers x 2

Dinners

Chicken and Veggie Fried Rice (I make it like this but use vegetables my family eats), Tangerines

Venison Roast in the Crockpot (Yay for a hunter friend who shared some meat with us!), Creamy Milk Rice, Roasted Carrots

Hamburger Vegetable Soup, Easy Potato Bread

Spaghetti (using ground turkey and frozen homemade spaghetti sauce), Tossed Salad with Parmesan Italian Dressing, Steamed Broccoli, Leftover Easy Potato Bread

Fried Egg Sandwiches (meatless meal), Sautéed Zucchini, Apples

Chicken on the Grill, Parmesan Grilled Cauliflower, Apple Cranberry Tossed Salad

Leftovers

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Walgreens: Deals for the week of January 25-31, 2015


Here are the best deals at Walgreens this week, with thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help with compiling these:

Balance Reward Points

Buy 2 Suave Shampoo or Conditioner at $2.99, Get 2,000 Balance Rewards Points
Use $1/1 coupon from the 1/24 SmartSource insert
Pay $1 after coupon and Balance Reward Points

Spend $20, Get 5,000 Balance Rewards Points

*Deal Idea*

Buy 4 Tide Detergents – $5.99
Use 4 $2/1 coupon from the 12/28 P&G insert or $0.50/1 coupon from the 1/25 P&G insert
Pay $15.96 out of pocket, Get 5,000 Balance Reward Points
$2.74 each after coupons and Balance Reward Points

Register Rewards

Buy 1 KY Jelly at $6, Get $6 Register Rewards
Use $1/1 printable
$1 plus overage after coupon and Registera Rewards

Buy 1 U-Be-Livin-Smart General Health Chews (30 ct) at $10, Register Rewards
Free after Register Rewards

Buy 1 Kraft Homestyle or Skillet at $2, Get $2 Register Rewards
Free after Register Reward

Buy 2 Crest Toothpaste, Mouthwash or Toothbrush at $3, Get $3 Register Rewards
Use $0.75/1 coupon from 12/28 P&G insert
$0.75 each after coupon and Register Rewards

Buy 1 Scope Mouthwash at $2.99, Get $1 Register Rewards
Use $1/1 coupon from the 1/25 P&G insert
$0.99 after coupon and Register Rewards

Buy 2 Colgate Toothbrush, Toothpaste or Mouthwash at $3.50, Get $3 Register Rewards
Use $0.75/1 printable or $1/1 coupon form the 1/18 SmartSource insert
$1 each after coupon and Register Rewards

Other Deals In Ad

Purex Laundry Detergent (24 -33 Loads) – $2

Pepsi Products (12 pk) – $2.50 (when you buy 4)

New to shopping at Walgreens? Be sure to head over and check out Walgreens 101 where I explain in detail how to maximize the mileage of your money at Walgreens. See the full list of deals at Walgreens this week over at Passionate Penny Pincher.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Walgreens deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Walgreens deals post will be deleted.

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Rite Aid: Deals for the week of January 25-31, 2015

Here are the best Rite Aid deals this week, with thanks to Shannon for her help in compiling them. If you are new to shopping at Rite Aid or have questions about their coupon policy, click here.

Ensure Active Muscle, Heart Health, and Clear, 4pk – $6.99
Get $3 UPR
Limit 3
Use $3/1 printable
Stack with $1/1 RA Video Values, Jan
Free after coupons and UPR

i-cool Menopause Supplements – $16
Get $16 UPR
Limit 1
Use $3/1 coupon from the 10/12 RedPlum insert
Free plus overage after coupon and UPR

Cheez-It, 6-7oz, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, 6.6-8oz, Monster Energy Drink, 15-16oz, or Snapple Tea – 2/$4
Use $1.50/1 printable
$1 after coupon

Get $2 UPR when you buy 2 (Limit 4)

Axe Deodorant or Body Spray, 2.7-4oz, Shower Gel, 16oz, or Shampoo – 2/$9
Use $2/1 coupon from the 1/25 RedPlum insert
$1.50 after coupons and UPR

Dove Men+Care Body Wash, 13.5oz, Shampoo, 12oz, Deodorant, or Shave Gel – $4
Use $2/1 coupon from the 1/25 RedPlum insert
$1 each after coupons and UPR

See the full list of deals at Rite Aid this week here.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Rite Aid deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Rite Aid deals post will be deleted.

 

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CVS: Deals for the week of January 25-31, 2015

Here are the best deals at CVS this week, with a big thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help in compiling them:

Buy 1 Beano+Dairy Defense (12 ct) at $4.99, Get $4 ECBs (Limit 4)
Use $1/1 printable
Free after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 PayAnywhere credit card reader $9.99, Get $9.99 ECBs (Limit 1)
Free after ECBs

Buy 1 Colgate MaxFresh Toothpaste or Toothbrush at $2.99, Get $1.50 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $0.75/1 coupon from the 1/4 SmartSource insert
$0.74 after coupon and ECBs

Buy 2 Sundown Naturals Gummies (50-120 ct) at $5.50, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $2/1 printable or $3/1 coupon from the 1/4 RedPlum insert
$1 each after coupon and ECBs

Buy 2 Irish Springs Bar (3 pk), Softsoap Hand Soap (7.5 oz) at $2.50, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $0.35/1 coupon from the 1/18 SmartSource insert
$1.15 each after coupon and ECBs

Buy 2 Colgate Max (6 oz), 2 in 1 Toothpaste (4 oz), or 360 Toothbrush (1 ct) at $2.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $0.75/1 coupon from the 1/4 SmartSource insert
$1.24 after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Dawn Dish Liquid (24 oz) at $2.99, Get $1 ECBs (No Limit)
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 12/28 P&G insert
$1.49 after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Maxwell House Coffee (8 oz) at $3.99, Get $1 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $1/1 coupon from the 1/25 P&G insert
$1.99 after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Tide Liquid Detergent (19 – 32 oz) at $5.94, Get $1 ECBs (No Limit)
Use $2/1 coupon from the 12/28 P&G insert
$2.94 after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Pampers at $8.99, Get $1 ECBs (No Limit)
Use $1.50/1 printable (try zip code 77477)
$6.49 after coupon and ECB

Buy 1 Charmin Toilet Paper Double Roll (16 – 20 pk) at $9.99, Get $1 ECBs (No Limit)
Use $1/1 printable or $.25/1 coupon from the 12/28 P&G insert
$7.99 after coupon and ECBs

Spend $30, Get $10 ECBs (Limit 1)

*Deal Idea*

Buy 6 Pepsi (12 pks) – $3 (Limit 6)
Buy 3 Pringles – $1.33
Buy 2 Link’s Beef Jerkey – $7.49 (Buy 1, Get 1 Free)
Use $1/3 coupon from the 1/25 P&G insert
Pay $28.49 out of pocket, Get $10 ECBs
$1.68 each after coupon and ECBs

Spend $15, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)

*Deal Idea*

Buy 3 Dove, Degree, Axe Spray Deodorant (3 oz) at $6.49
Use $2/1 coupon from the 1/25 RedPlum insert
Pay $13.47 out of pocket, Get $5 ECBs
$2.82 each after coupon and ECBs

Other Deals

Coca Cola (2 L) – $0.99
Use $0.25/1 coupon printing from the CVS coupon machine
$0.74 after coupon

Hershey King Size, Twizzlers, Ice Breakers – $1.87
Use $1/1 coupon printing from the CVS coupon machine
$0.87 after coupon

Just the Basics Purified Water (24 pk) at $2.44

New to shopping at CVS? Be sure to check out my CVS 101 post that gives you the full scoop on how to get the best bargains at CVS. See the full list of deals at CVS this week here.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your CVS deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your CVS deals post will be deleted.

 

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10 Tips to Build a Successful Etsy Business

etsy business

Guest post from Lauren of Funky Monkey Children

Often times when someone asks the question of how they can bring in extra income while staying home with their children, people respond with “how about setting up an Etsy shop?” While I think that is a wonderful suggestion, and one that I did myself back in 2012, it isn’t really as simple as just building a shop and having customers flow in.

Over the past 2 years of having my Etsy shop, Funky Monkey Children, I have learned some invaluable lessons about running and business. Here are a few things I wish I had known when I started mine:

1. Start by Brainstorming Ideas

What is a skill you have or a product you make that has a wide market of desirability? Are you willing to learn a new skill or craft that could someday turn into a product for sales? Do you have a side hobby that friends keep telling you to sell?

Brainstorming for a product idea is the very first step in setting up an Etsy shop. This may seem obvious, but make sure it is something you like doing. It would be unfortunate to “hit it big” with a product you really have no interest in continuing to make!

It’s also helpful to think long-term with your ideas – are there items you could add for a coordinating set down the road or ways that you could expand that product into a bigger or more complex line in the future?

2. Manage Your Inventory

When I first started Funky Monkey Children, I was open to anything people asked of me. I had no problem driving around to different fabric shops (with my two toddlers!) looking for a certain pattern that someone requested, or running out to the store to pick up a single item to monogram for a specific customer.

I quickly learned, however, that this consumed a huge amount of my time and wasn’t very profitable. I ended up with so much inventory and so many supplies that I wasn’t able to use on a continuous basis.

In order to streamline my business I decided to focus on just a few items (burp cloths, bibs, and shirts) and not expand so wide that I was drowning in inventory (and spending all my profits on more inventory!)

3. Create Specific Goals

When you start a business, it’s important to make very specific goals for the future… as well as a path to achieve those goals.

When I first started, my goal was for this to be a self-sustaining hobby. If I got busy and didn’t have more time to work, I closed my shop for a few days and never thought twice about it. As long as I could make enough money to buy more fabric to play around with in my free time, I was happy.

As time progressed, however, my goals changed in a big way. The goals that I have set for the business now are allowing us to save a 20-30% down payment in the next year to buy a house, which is something I never could have dreamed of a few years ago!

4. Pinpoint Your Market

In order to appeal to your buyer, you must know exactly WHO your buyer is. Once you know who you are appealing to, you can figure out how best to reach them and where to find them.

It is helpful to think in very specific terms; knowing that “women” are your target customers doesn’t really help. Knowing that your target customer is a 25-35 married woman who works outside of the home and lives on the West Coast is substantially more helpful.

5. Make Prototypes

You have to have something to advertise in order to get started. One of the best ways to get more traffic to an Etsy shop is to increase the number of items you have listed.

When I was starting out, I made tons of gifts for friends. Since I primarily make baby items, and I have young children myself, I had no shortage of people around me with babies.

With each and every item I made, I took a picture and listed it as a listing for sale. Eventually customers would ask for variations of the same product (different colors, fabrics, applique, etc) and each time I would take a picture of that item and list it separately.

There is a rumor around Etsy that 75 listings is the “magic number” to really increase the traffic flow to your shop. I’m not sure if that is true, but I can say that the amount of traffic to and subsequent sales in my shop increased substantially with more listings.

6. Price Your Items Appropriately

Make sure you aren’t under-pricing your items! In addition to making people think the item is less valuable than it really is (or cheaply made), if you don’t add in a profit for yourself you are doing a lot of work for no reward.

Another thing to think about is the time involved in each item. When I first started, I priced each item the same. Every shirt had a certain price, every burp cloth, etc. Now when I price something I take into account the amount of time that particular item takes to make.

Since I can only do one item at a time, it doesn’t benefit me to sell an item that takes an hour and an item that takes twenty minutes for the same price.

7. Learn about Tags and Titles

Titles and tags are huge on Etsy. Learning about the basics of SEO (particularly as it relates to Etsy’s relevancy formula) will be extremely beneficial to your shop.

While Etsy brings in a lot of traffic on its own, there are millions of Etsy shops open today, so you need to set yourself apart to see success.

8. Take Good Photos

This is something that is incredibly hard to do when you are first beginning, and something that I continue to struggle with in my own shop. Since Etsy is a very visual platform, clear and bright photographs are a must for any successful shop.

Learning the basics of a good quality camera is helpful, as is finding a consistent light source (whether that is outside or a lightbox). Amazon has some inexpensive and decent quality lightboxes that can be very helpful if you don’t live in a particularly clear climate.

Having consistent product placement and the same background in every picture also helps to build your brand and have a cohesive image of your shop as a whole.

9. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Etsy customers expect top-notch customer service. Because Etsy started as a strictly “handmade” platform for selling (it has since evolved beyond that), a typical Etsy buyer is expecting a more personal interaction than they would get from a traditional store.

This means that often times, buyers will message you for more information, ask lots of questions, and generally expect a dialogue about the product or service as they go. Providing good customer service goes a long way in developing a loyal fan base.

10. Learn Your Limits

This has been one of the toughest lessons for me as my shop has grown and sales have increased. Because Etsy provides a more personal platform for interaction between sellers and buyers, there can be some unreasonable requests at times.

It isn’t totally unheard of for people to message asking for a discount, for overnight shipping at no extra charge, to make an item and ship it out by today, or even for totally free items just because.

As someone who very much wants to make the customer happy, it is hard for me to say no. However, I also have learned to value my time and recognize that the time that I am working is time that is taken away from my family.

Through the years of doing this I have had to find a balance between providing excellent customer service and also not being “on-call” to answer messages, send emails, and jump up and make an item for a customer at all hours of the day. Learning this limit will go a long way in keeping your family on board for your new Etsy venture!

Do you (or have you) run an Etsy business? If so, do you have any other tips to add to my list?

Lauren Keplinger is a part-time working mommy of 2 young children who bring joy and chaos to her life. Her hobbies include sewing, running, cooking and reading, but she spends most of her “free” time now working on her Etsy shop, Funky Monkey Children.

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Amazon Prime membership just $72 on Saturday only!

Amazon Prime for just $72 on Saturday

This Saturday only, you can get a membership to Amazon Prime for just $72! Here are the benefits of having an Amazon Prime account:

  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous U.S. and other shipping benefits. For more information, go to Amazon Prime Shipping Benefits.
  • Prime Instant Video: unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes for paid or free trial members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to About Prime Instant Video.
  • Prime Music: unlimited, ad-free access to hundreds of Prime Playlists and more than a million songs for members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to About Prime Music.
  • Prime Photos: Secure unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive. For more information, go to About Prime Photos.
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: access to members in the U.S. For more information, go to Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
  • Kindle First: Early access for members in the U.S. to download a new book for free every month from the Kindle First picks. For more information, go to Kindle First.
  • Membership Sharing: Prime members may invite up to four eligible household members living at the same address to enjoy the shipping benefits of a free trial or paid Prime membership at no extra cost. If you purchase a Prime membership as a small business, you may invite up to four co-workers to shop with this corporate account. For more information, go to Share Your Amazon Prime Benefits.

And don’t forget to sign up for Swagbucks so you can earn free Amazon gift cards!

Thanks, For the Mommas!

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