Brigette’s $62 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

Produce

Produce and Jams from a Friend’s Garden

Aldi

Aldi

2 cartons Oil (@$2.49 each) – $4.98

4 packages Blueberries (@$1.29 each) – $5.16

2 packages Frozen Boneless Chicken Breasts (@$5.99 each) – $11.98

1 package Mini Sweet Peppers – $2.29

1 bunch Bananas (@$0.44/lb) – $1.15

2 bags Carrots ($0.69 each) – $1.38

1 bag Limes – $0.79

1 bag Gala Apples – $3.29

1 package Chocolate Chips – $1.59

1 jar Black Pepper – $1.99

 Total: $34.60

Farmer's Mart2

Farmer’s Mart

4 heads Cauliflower (marked down to $0.99 each)

Total: $3.97

Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter

1 gallon Milk – $2.97

10 bags of Shredded Cheese (@B2G3 free) – $11.98

5 boxes Kashi Cereal – $1.99 each, used 2 $0.70/1 Kashi printable (doubled), plus $1.00/2 Kashi printable - $6.20 after coupons

3 boxes Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese (@$1.00 each) – $3.00, used 3 $0.35/1 Annie’s printable - $0.30/each after coupons

1 carton So Delicious Almond Milk – $2.50, used $0.55/1 So Delicious printable, plus receive $1.00/1 Ibotta rebate - $0.40 after coupons

8 individual Yoplait yogurts (@$0.37 each) – $2.96, used $0.60/8 Yoplait printable (doubled), plus $0.40/6 Harris Teeter evic, plus $0.40/6 Saving Star - $0.96/8 after coupons and rebate

Total after all sales, coupons and rebates – $23.01

Bread

Bakery Outlet

10 packages of assorted Buns (@$0.10 each!! They expire August 30th, so I will freeze most of them)

Total: $1.00

Weekly Total after all Sales and Coupons: $62.58

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Oatmeal x 2, Veggie Omelettes, Scrambled Eggs with Toast/Jam, Cereal x 2, Smoothies

Lunches

PB&J/Carrots/Bananas, Tuna fish Sandwiches/Pepper slices/Apples, Leftovers x 3, Baked Potatoes with Cheese/Oranges, Build-Your-Own Salad Bar/Roasted Cauliflower

Dinners

Taco Salad, Steamed Cauliflower

Grilled Hobo Packets, Easy Whole Wheat Bread, Blueberries

Slow-Cooker Barbecue Sandwiches, Fresh Veggie Tray, Homemade Applesauce

Baked Macaroni and Cheese (meatless night), Roasted Cauliflower, Tossed Salad

Homemade Pizza, Steamed Broccoli

Dinner at a Friend’s House – I am bringing Ultimate Double Chocolate Brownies and Ice Cream

Classic Grilled Chicken, Cucumber and Tomato Salad, leftover Macaroni and Cheese, Blueberries

Brigette's Grocery Shopping Trip

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Sam’s Club vs. Costo: Who Really Has the Best Savings?

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Laurie and Shannon from Passionate Penny Pincher compared prices on dozens of products at Sam’s Club and Costco to discover Who Really Has the Best Savings?

Here’s a snippet from her post:

This might just be both my friend Shannon’s and my favorite post ever here on PPP! Because we’re a couple of penny pinchin’ nerds, we love to see the low-down-nitty-gritty of a good price, and always (always!) do the math to know just how much we’re spending.

So, when I called Shannon on the way home from Costco the other day, we started discussing how fun it would be to price war Sam’s and Costco and see who actually won. I was very surprised with some of the results, but loved seeing them matched up evenly. This is just a small sample of the things we watched for this week, and if you all enjoy it, we may both make another trip back for more.

Click here to read the full post and see how each store compared to the other!

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5 Ways to Save Money on Doing Laundry

Positive young woman doing the laundry at home

Guest post from Sarah of Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style

The laundry room may be one of the last places most people think of when it comes to saving money. The truth is though, it is one of the easiest places to pinch your pennies! Here are some tips for saving money in the laundry room:

1. Make your own detergent.

One of the easiest ways to save money in the laundry room is to make your own detergent. You can do this with just a few low-cost ingredients and it really gets your clothing clean very well! The cost of making your soap is just pennies per load and when you do it this way, you save yourself from needless chemicals as well.

When the weather is warm, you can also save money by giving up your dryer. Hanging clothes to dry not only saves you money off your energy bill, but might extend the life of your clothing as well because you won’t be using any high heat. Plus, taking a break from using your dryer also extends the dryer’s life!

If making your own detergent sounds like it won’t work for you, (although it really only takes about 15 minutes of your time!) make sure to stock up on sales and use coupons when you can. This last year, I have seen Tide on sale for $3.99 and with my dollar off coupon, it only ends up being $2.99 for a 32 ounce jug.

2. Use less.

This applies to soap, but it also applies to fabric softener. If you feel you need fabric softener, opt for dryer sheets instead of the bar and cut them in half. You still get the great scent and softening of clothes that you like, and this will make a box last twice as long.

Did you know you can make your own scented “dryer sheets”? While they may not have the same effect on clothes to soften them, most people like dryer sheets because of the scent.

To get the same effect, just have a couple rags or make your own wool balls and try this trick.  Drop a couple drops of essential oil onto your rag or wool ball and throw it in the dryer with your clothes. They will come out smelling amazing and each load costs you less than a cent!

3. Only do full loads.

You will be using the same amount of energy to wash and dry a half load as you will with a full load, so make sure each load that you do is full sized. That said, don’t over-stuff your machine as this damages it and could cost you more in repairs.

Doing a half-load doesn’t make much sense when you think about it in terms of saving money.

4. Have fewer clothes to wash in the first place.

Many of us have too many clothes! I know I was constantly doing the kids’ laundry and I wasn’t even sure how dirty it was.

One day, I just got sick of doing it every day. I thought to myself, “There’s no way they could possibly be wearing all these clothes.” Since then, I’ve scaled way back.

Each child is only allowed to have 20 outfits in their room at a time. That is almost 3 weeks of every day wear and more than plenty.

Believe it or not, I sold half of their clothes! I made money AND I don’t have to wash as many clothes!

5. Wear things more than once.

This is a money saver as well as a time saver. Some things can be worn or used multiple times before needing a good washing: jeans, bath towels, pajamas, etc. Even some things like what you wear to church for only one hour can sometimes be worn again before washing.

How do you like to save in the laundry room? Did I miss anything?

Sarah is a stay-at-home mom of two wonderful children. From homeless to well-off, this single debt-free mom is most known for her ability to live well on $18k/year. Sarah loves encouraging others that dreams do come true if they are willing to consistently work for it. Follow her blog: Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style.

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Gretchen’s $55 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

photo (10)

Aldi

2 Cucumbers – $0.59 each (I will get $0.25 back from Checkout 51.)

1 lb Butter – $2.69

1 Honey Bear – $2.99

1 loaf Bread – $0.99

1 Cantaloupe – $0.99

2 Strawberries – $1.25 each

2 Avocados – $0.33 each

1 bag Flour Tortillas – $1.19

1 pkg Kitchen Trash Bags – $4.99

1 can Refried Beans – $0.79

1 pkg Roma Tomatoes – $1.19 (I will get $0.25 back from Checkout 51.)

1 pkg Carrots – $0.99

Total with tax ($1.51): $22.66

photo (11)

Dillons

2 half gallons Milk – $1.34 each

1 half gallon Buttermilk – Marked down to $0.10 (I couldn’t pass this up! I’m going to make buttermilk biscuits and pancakes to freeze. I don’t think I’ve ever bought buttermilk before since I always just make my own so I’m curious to see if it tastes any better with the real stuff.) :)

1 Kroger Cottage Cheese – $1.25

1 pkg Raspberries – $0.99

0.71 lb Broccoli @ $1.59/lb – $1.13

1 Lettuce – $0.99

1 Kroger Frozen Hashbrowns – $1.99

1 Kroger Dishwasher Detergent – $3.49

2 cans Green Beans – $0.44

1 Kentucky Legend Ham Steak – $2.99

1 lb Simple Truth Ground Beef – Marked down to $3.34

2 bags Kroger Shredded Cheese – $2 each

1 pkg Chicken Drumsticks – $5.59

1 bag Life Is Good Coffee – Marked down to $2.25 (I’ve never tried this coffee before. It is normally over $9 but they had all the Life Is Good coffee on clearance. I’m anxious to try it!)

Total with tax ($2.18): $32.72

Total for all grocery items: $55.38 (And I will also get $0.50 back from Checkout 51.)

Menu Plan for This Week

Breakfasts

Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs/Fruit, Toast, Cereal, Smoothies

Lunches

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Macaroni & Cheese, Tossed Salad, Fruit/Veggies/Crackers, Leftovers

Dinners

Baked Chicken Drumsticks (this package will last us 2 meals so I will freeze half of it), Fruit

Beef & Cheese Noodle Bake, Tossed Salad, Peas (from freezer)

Hashbrown Casserole (I will be doubling this and putting one casserole in the freezer), Buttermilk Biscuits, Cantaloupe

Spaghetti with Garlic Chicken Gravy, Green Beans, Tossed Salad

Deer Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Blueberry Muffins

Brown Bag Burritos (I will make the full recipe and freeze half of them), Tossed Salad

Date Night (using a gift card I earned from MyPoints.com)

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The Cost of Raising a Child

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Child?

I told you yesterday that I’d been asked to comment on a media story about the USDA’s prediction that it costs $245,000 to raise a child.

Your comments and thoughts on this topic were so interesting. There were lots of differing viewpoints and perspectives!

The article I was interviewed for was posted today on TheStir.com for those who are interested in reading it. Here’s a snippet:

Before even becoming a mom, one of the most common warnings you’ll hear from other parents is how expensive it can be to raise children. As it turns out, they’re right.

Families who had a baby in 2013 can expect to spend on average $245,340 until the child is 18, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s just-released annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families. That’s between $12,800 and $14,970 a year for a middle-income family with two parents, depending on the kids’ ages.

Angela Hawkins, 33, a mom of three in the suburbs of Houston, is living proof that the numbers don’t lie.

She shared her household budget with The Stir and estimated that she and her husband Shane will spend about $270,000 per child by the time they turn 18.

“The figures can be overwhelming,” Angela admits.

So where exactly does all that money go?

Read the full post here for the price breakdown details on how much this family is spending and some tips from other money-saving folks on how to cut costs (with one on cutting your food costs from yours truly!)

I found the figures she shared interesting and insightful. And, of course, my frugal brain came up with lots of suggestions and ideas for ways to possibly lower those costs. :)

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Does it cost $245,340 to raise a child?

I was asked by a news outlet today if I would share some commentary around this recent report from the USDA on how much it costs to raise a child. Here’s the blurb on it from The Boston Globe:

A message for new parents: Get ready for sticker shock.

A child born in 2013 will cost a middle-income American family an average of $245,340 until he or she reaches age 18. And it’s more in the Northeast, roughly $282,480, according to a report out Monday.

The cost does not include college, or expenses if a child lives at home after age 17.

Those costs that are included — food, housing, child care, and education — rose 1.8 percent over the previous year, the Agriculture Department report said. Adjusting for projected inflation, a child born last year could cost a middle-income family an average of $304,480, the report added.

In 1960, the first year the report was issued, a middle-income family could spend about $25,230, equivalent to $198,560 in 2013 dollars, to raise a child. Housing costs are the greatest child-rearing expense, as they were in the 1960s, but current-day costs like child care were negligible back then. Housing expenses made up roughly 30 percent of the total cost of raising a child.

I found the prices fascinating and enjoyed getting to answer some questions on how to cut costs for this particular media piece. (I’ll let you know if and when it goes live — they may or may not use any of my commentary, but regardless, it was a great exercise to think through.)

What do YOU think? Does it cost $245,340 or more to raise a child to age 17? Have you ever calculated how much you’re spending on raising your kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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