Want to save even more? Do without.


Heather from Queen Bee Coupons has a great post up on saving money by doing without. Here’s a snippet:

When I decided to stay home with my kids (seven years ago!) it meant cutting our income by 60%. That’s right, 60 percent. Take $100 and throw $60 of it out the window. What was once $100, became $40 at the grocery store. I wouldn’t change staying home for a second. I wouldn’t trade anything for those extra 60 dollars, but I would be picky in how I spent the money I had left.

For us, this meant – if it wasn’t on sale and/or we didn’t have a coupon – we generally didn’t buy it. It was that simple. If it wasn’t a loss leader in the grocery ad (one of the best of the best deals), we would wait, and do without, until it went on sale.

And now, seven years later, our budget isn’t as tight – but we still live by this principle.

Read the full post.

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5 FREE Budgeting Resources for 2015

Want to get your finances in order in 2015? Here are some free resources to help you get started.

Dave Ramsey

Download a free copy of Dave Ramsey’s Guide to Budgeting.


Set up a free online Mint.com account to track your income and outgo and stick with your budget.

yearly budget calculator

Create a budget for the year and calculate the difference between your budgeted and actual expenses with this free Yearly Budget Calculator from Vertex42.


Work out a proposed household budget with this Household Budget Worksheet from Kiplinger.

Budge Tracker

Get out and stay out of debt with the free BudgetTracker.com.

Are there any free online budgeting tools you use not included in this list? Please let us know in the comments.

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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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