Gretchen $49 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan



2 Dillons dozen Eggs – $1.25 each

1 gallon Dillons Milk – $3.09

2 Vidal Sassoon Hair Styling Cream – Marked down to $2.24 each, used 2 $2/1 coupon from the 12/7 RedPlum insert – $0.24 each after coupons

4 cans Del Monte Green Beans – $0.50 each, used $0.40/4 coupon from the 11/9 SmartSource insert – $0.40 each after coupon

1 Frosted Flakes – $2.99 (A request from my husband)

1 loaf Nature Valley Bread – $2

1 Turkey Hill Ice Cream – $2.99, used $1/1 printable – $1.99 after coupon

2 Kroger Peanut Butter – $1.50 each (I’m planning to make Christmas cookies this week and will need lots of peanut butter!)

1 Kroger Cottage Cheese – $1.25

1 Bottom Round Steak – Marked down to $2.36

1 Bottom Round Steak – Marked down to $2.53

1 bag Kroger Baby Carrots – $1.69, used $0.40/1 mailer coupon – $1.29 after coupon

1 Romaine Lettuce – $0.99

1.25 lbs Tomatoes @ $1.99/lb – $2.49 (These are SO expensive right now!)

Total with tax: $30.74


2 cans Lindsay Olives – $1 each, used $1/2 printable (doubled) – Free after coupon

2 Hefty Plates – $1.50 each, used $1/2 coupon from the 11/16 RedPlum insert (doubled) – $0.50 each after coupon

4 cans Del Monte Green Beans – $0.59 each, used $0.40/4 coupon from the 11/9 SmartSource insert (doubled) – $0.39 each after coupon

2 boxes Ritz Crackers – $1.88 each, used $0.75/2 coupon from the 12/14 SmartSource insert (doubled) – $1.13 each after coupon (I’m using these to make this AMAZING cookie recipe here.)

2 Kraft Cheese – $1.67 each

1 Farmland Bacon – $3.49, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – $1.49 after coupon

2 Keebler Crackers – $2, used $1/2 coupon from the 12/7 RedPlum insert (doubled) – $1 each after coupon

1 Chinet Napkins – $2, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – Free after coupon

1 Cucumber – $0.69

Total before coupons and sales: $53.92

Total with tax after coupons and sales: $14.91


I also ran into Walmart to price match a couple of fruit items from other stores I wasn’t going to make it to this week.

2 Pineapple – $0.99 each (Price matched to Save A Lot)

1 (4 lbs) bag Navel Oranges – $1.68 (Price matched to Aldi)

Total with tax: $3.93

My husband also got a deer this week (yay!) and after processing it we now have over 40 lbs of ground venison and roasts in our freezer! :) I will be substituting ground venison for ground beef in most recipes for the next several months.

Total for all grocery items: $49.58

Menu Plan for This Week


Cereal, Oatmeal, Homemade Granola, Toast & Juice


Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Scrambled Eggs/Bacon & Fruit, Fruit/Veggies/Crackers/Cheese, Leftovers, Baked Potatoes


Steak, Toast, Green Beans, Tossed Salad

Sour Cream Enchiladas, Steamed Broccoli, Fruit Salad

Spaghetti, Biscuits, Grapefruit

Homemade Pizza, Breadsticks, Steamed Carrots

Baked Chicken Drumsticks, Rolls, Fruit Salad

Sloppy Joes, Homemade French Fries, Veggies

Dinner with family (I’m bringing fruit.)

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Simple Ways We Saved This Week: Creating art, using the library, puzzles, and why you shouldn’t put egg whites in your coffee!


The girls have been doing lots of painting and drawing this week — mostly abstract type art pieces. I love to see them being creative and having so much doing it!

Bonus: it’s such a frugal activity — especially when they use art supplies we already have on hand.


My sweet friend, Victoria, sent me this Craft Night in a Box — complete with a Starbucks gift card! It made for a free night of entertainment and relaxation for me.

I had so much fun working on it last night and am planning to finish my project tonight. If all goes well, I’ll share the finished results tomorrow.

{Isn’t this SUCH a great gift idea? If you know a crafter or a wanna-be crafter, this might be a great last-minute gift idea!}


The kids have been enjoying some books and this drawing DVD we got at the library last week. Have I mentioned how much we love the library?

If you haven’t visited yours recently, you should take some time to do so — it’s like having thousands of unexplored worlds and ideas at your fingertips, for free!


I’m loving reading this Lynn Austin novel I requested used from PaperBackSwap, one of my favorite frugal sources for books!


We’ve been making memories by working on this 2000-piece puzzle that we got from a White Elephant gift exchange earlier this week.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 6.15.46 PM

I got a $5 iTunes gift card with my points on Recyclebank. And I spent it to get some songs from one of my favorite movie soundtracks.

{Oh yes, I know, you might think it’s a little kooky that I love Frozen as much as I do. But here’s the thing: the songs not only make me so happy when I listen to them, but I can relate to many of the themes in the movie because of my own personal journey with being more authentic to my true self in the past few years. So yes, it might be juvenile, but I don’t really care! :)}
Simple Ways We Saved This Week

One way I didn’t save: I could not figure out why the “cream” I was pouring in my coffee this morning looked so watered down. And then I actually read the box. Yikes… Clearly, not all brain cells were firing this morning. Needless to say, I had to pour that coffee down the drain and brew a new cup!

How did YOU save this week?

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How I paid for Christmas this year by selling on Facebook Yard Sale Groups


Traci emailed in this reader tip:

I had been planning a yard sale for months but this summer I decided I didn’t have enough or valuable enough things to make it worthwhile.

About this time, I joined a handful of Yard Sale groups on Facebook and bought a few things through them. After purchasing a few things from others and realizing how easy it was to post things for sale also, I decided to list a few items around the house.

Within minutes — even seconds, sometimes — I had people interested!

I started cleaning out closets and found so many other things that I wanted to get rid of. It felt great to purge and makes some money, too. Items that I have sold so far have been: adult and children’s clothing, toys, kitchen items, furniture, books, and movies.

Money is tight this Christmas, but by selling items on the Facebook Yard Sale Groups, I was able to pay cash for Christmas for my entire Christmas for my family and even had some extra money leftover!
The best advice that I have for selling on local Facebook Yard Sale groups would be consider the time and gas you are spending to buy or sell an item. If you have to travel far, this could be eating your profit or savings.

Post that others need to pick up in your city. I like to try to arrange pickups or drop-offs either in the morning or evening as to not interrupt my daily work, school, and family routine.

I also don’t have strangers come to my home. Remember safety first and it is best to meet in a public place like a shopping center or, even better, the local police department parking lot.

Also remember that people have busy lives and things happen that they have to reschedule a transaction sometimes. With that said, if someone is not being respectful of your time or you are not comfortable with something, don’t meet with them.

I am not stressing about Christmas this year and have not put one thing on a credit card that I will regret having to pay for later! -Traci

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Reader Tip: How I Got Two Free Photo Calendars Shipped From Shutterfly!


Rachel emailed in this reader tip:

Last night I ordered two 8 x 11 photo calendars from Shutterfly for Christmas gifts for Grandparents. The cost was $42.97 including shipping. However, I had received a code from my Kelloggs rewards account in my email for a free calendar from Shutterfly.

I then checked my Pampers rewards account. They have two systems there–the one where you use points to get gifts and the “grow on” program where if you enter a diapers or wipes code at least once a month for so many months in a row you are given a free gift. My free gift was a Shutterfly calendar. They also gave me a free shipping code with that calendar!

Between the two calendar codes and the shipping code, my order was absolutely free!!!!

I thought some people may need to be reminded to check their rewards accounts before purchasing gifts. Even if you have at least 800 points in your Pampers Gifts to Grow account you can get a calendar for free and just pay shipping. Yay! -Rachel

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4 Tips to Get Crafty on a Budget

crafty on a budget

Guest post from SK Bell of Nursing, Naps, Nostalgia

Although I’ve only recently called myself a crafter, I’ve been working on a project of some kind for most of my adult life. I’m a long-time reader and we proudly use a cash envelope system. We recently added a craft fund to our list.

I’ve noticed crafting can be really expensive. The first week, I spent the whole fund on fabric and didn’t get any other supplies I needed. I wasn’t able to work on any projects for the rest of the pay period. That was disappointing since I’ve discovered this outlet is important to me.

I’ve since learned a few tricks to stretching that budget — and I’m sharing them with you today!

1. Price Shop.

I’ve seen Mod Podge at the dollar store. When a local quilting store went out of business, I snatched up three of the most expensive items on my list since their prices had been reduced to less than 50%.

I am signed up for text coupons through Michael’s and JoAnn’s. Those, mail coupons, and coupons at the door/cash wrap will help get you through when you combine with sale prices.

2. Go Used!

My favorite and first stop is the thrift store. I recently paid $.50 for enough fabric for two projects already on my list.

Thrift stores have inexpensive shelves and picture frames for painting and re-purposing, fabric remnants, linens, already-cut sewing patterns, embroidery hoops, yarn, half-full jars of glitter, etc. etc.

3. Research First.

I recently found inspiration from an Instagram account, @DollarTreeCrafts. I often see cute, affordable crafts on other blogs that I’d like to try for myself and save a picture to a folder on my computer.

I am constantly finding free or very inexpensive Pinterest projects (like the wood pallet bookshelves we’re working on for our children’s room and many kid crafts using recycled items!) The library also has a lot of great books (some sewing books even come with patterns on a disc).

If I have an idea of my own in mind, I’ll draw it and brainstorm it, talk to my husband or a friend about it, and see if their fresh perspective might remind me of a less expensive item I can use, a cheaper way to do it, the best place to buy the materials.

4. Take Your Time

This one is easy for me at the moment, since I’m chasing a toddler around all day and rubbing my tired, pregnant belly in the evenings… but there have been times I found myself burning the midnight oil to finish a project I was excited about.

Now, I allow myself a little optional crafting time every day, and then I move on so a project lasts longer. Sometimes taking a break gives me new perspective any ways!

I’m curious… what are your tips for crafting inexpensively?

What have you made recently that fulfilled your crafting need but didn’t break the bank?

SK Bell is a happily married mother who enjoys traveling, crafting, and doing both frugally. She blogs positively about marriage and parenthood at Nursing, Naps, Nostalgia.

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Why I Won’t Be Out Shopping on Black Friday

Why I Won't Be Out Shopping on Black Friday

It might surprise you, but I don’t go shopping on Black Friday.

I know, I know. That statement might sound a bit antithetic to my usually frugal, money-saving ways, but it’s true.

Here’s why: The Black Friday deals online are just as good, or even better, than the in-store deals.

Yes, seriously. And I’ve proven this theory throughout the past few years by meticulously comparing the prices online versus the prices in-store. In almost every case, the online prices were better than the in-store prices.

Plus, you don’t have to wait out in the cold for three hours, and you can avoid all the stampeding and shoving crowds at the stores. Instead, you can get up a little early on Friday morning, sit in your PJ’s, sip your cup of coffee, and browse online.

There are other perks to shopping online for Black Friday:

1) You Have More of a Selection When Shopping Online

Typically, online sites are stocked better and have more variety than you’re going to find in-store. However, do note that the deals still sell out fairly quickly online. So if you see a deal ahead of time you’re particularly interested, you may want to wait up until midnight to go ahead and get it, as it may be sold out by the morning.

2) You Don’t Have to Drive to Multiple Stores

One of the biggest headaches of Black Friday shopping is strategizing where to be when and how you’re going to be multiple places in time for the great sales. Save gas and time by just clicking your way to savings.

Tip: Set up an account the day before on the sites that have hot sales that might not last long online on Black Friday. That way, when you order, you can just login and go through checkout quickly.

3) You Can Use Online Coupon Codes

Many online sites will have coupon codes available for free shipping or 15% off that you can stack on top of their fantastic Black Friday sales. Before placing your order, check to see if there’s an online coupon code available for the site you’re ordering from.

4) You Can Get Cash Back

Set up a free account with cash-back sites like Ebates and Mr. Rebates and click through their site and search for the online site you’re shopping with before placing your order. You’ll usually get anywhere between 1% to 15% cash back for each online purchase. While it might only be a few dollars per purchase, these trickles add up to a nice check every three months!

If you love the thrill of the hunt and enjoy long waits and big crowds, be my guest and go out shopping on Black Friday. As for me, I’ll be snuggled up under a blanket with my mug of coffee and my laptop on Black Friday morning getting great deals from the comfort of my living-room couch!

Psst! Want to shop from home, too? Be sure to stop, where I’ll be live-blogging the best online Black Friday deals and coupon codes as they become available.

What about YOU? Are you planning to stay home on Black Friday or do you love the thrill of going out and bargain-hunting?

Trying to Decide Whether You Should Stay Home on Black Friday?

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to stay home on Black Friday, you can check out the links to some of the most popular Black Friday store ads below:

You can see all the latest Black Friday Ad Scans at

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