Gretchen’s $50 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

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Dillons

2 half gallons Milk – Marked down to $1.25 each

2 bags (8 oz) Kroger Shredded Cheese – $1.99 each

4 Gala Apples – $1.98

4 Nectarines – $1.41

2 Chuck Pot Roast – Marked down to $3.36 and $3.92

1 bag Kroger Tortilla Chips – $1

1 Celery – $1.49

1 Lettuce – $0.99 (I bought this and then noticed later that day that the lettuce in our garden was ready to be picked. We have lots and lots of lettuce now so we’ll be eating quite a few salads this week.)

1 lb Simple Truth Organic Ground Beef – Marked down to $3.49

1 Green Pepper – $0.79

1 bag Frozen Strawberries – $3.47

4 Muller Greek Yogurt – $0.88 each

2 Larabars – $1 each, used 2 $0.40/1 printable – $0.60 each after coupons

1 Kroger Spaghetti Sauce – $1.49, received $0.20 Ibotta rebate – $1.29 after rebate

Items a part of the Mega Sale (Buy 5, Get $5 off instantly):

2 Barbara’s Cereal – $1.99 each, used $1.50/1 printable and $1/1 printable – $0.74 each after coupons

1 Goldfish Puffs – $0.99, used $0.50/1 coupon from the 6/14 SmartSource insert – $0.49 after coupon

1 Oscar Meyer Deli Meat – $2.49

1 Cottage Cheese (16 oz) – $1.49

Total after sales and coupons: $40.34 

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Homeland

1 pkg Grapes – $2.13

2 Cucumbers – $0.60 each

1 Challenge Butter – $2.99, used $0.75/1 printable (doubled) – $1.49 after coupon

1 Jolly Time Popcorn – $1.49, used $0.50/1 printable (doubled) – $0.49 after coupon

4 boxes Cheerios Cereal – $1.99, used 2 $1/2 printable (both doubled because they were different coupons) – $0.99 each after coupons

1 box Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Mix – $1.89, used $0.75/1 printable (doubled) – $0.39 after coupon

1 Fiber One Lemon Bars – $1.99, used $0.75/1 printable (doubled) – $0.49 after coupon

Total after coupons: $10.15

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My mom also gave me 4 bags of chocolate chips as well as a bag of frozen blueberries and a bag of frozen mulberries (from their mulberry bush).

Total for all grocery items: $50.49

Menu Plan for this Week

Breakfasts

Toast & Eggs x 2

Oatmeal with Fruit

Cereal x 3

Banana Muffins (I have a few bananas that are going bad from the last couple of weeks so I’m planning to use these up.), Fruit

Lunches

Turkey, Cheese, Crackers, Carrots x 2

Macaroni and Cheese, Tossed Salad

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Celery Sticks

Turkey Sandwiches, Sliced Apples

Lunch at my parents

Tossed Salad, Crackers

Dinners

Roast, Potatoes, Carrots

Dinner with my family (celebrating my sister’s birthday)

Taco Salad

Spaghetti, Green Beans, Tossed Salad

Salad Bar with Grilled Chicken

Chicken Drumsticks (from last week’s shopping trip), Biscuits, Tossed Salad

Leftovers

Snacks

Yogurt, Fruit Smoothies, Banana Muffins, Granola Bars

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Learn How to Take Photos That Stand Out on Social Media (free download)

Update: I thought this was a full ebook, but just discovered that it’s only a portion of the ebook you’ll get as a download. My apologies on incorrectly understanding what this offer was.

If I’ve learned anything about social media and how to market well on social media, it’s that photos make all the difference in the world. Good, eye-catching photos can result in literally thousands more views and clicks on a post.

Which is why I’m excited about this free Photography Ebook to teach you how to take photos that stand out and get more engagement on Facebook and other social media outlets. I definitely am checking it out as I have a lot to learn when it comes to photography!

Go download this free ebook here.

Psst! Find out how to set up your own money-making blog in just 8 simple steps here.

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Do You Ever Think About Quitting Your Blog? (podcast interview)

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I was honored to have the opportunity to record a very authentic and vulnerable podcast on What To Do When You Feel Like Quitting Your Blog. If you’ve ever felt like quitting your blog or something else you’ve poured a lot of effort into, I think this will encourage you.

In this podcast, I share:

  • My journey from pre-social media blogging to a site that has close to 2 million unique visitors a month
  • Why even the most successful bloggers still think about quitting
  • 5 questions you should ask yourself when you want to quit blogging
  • How a snub from Facebook helped me be more at peace with blogging
  • Why I gave herself the freedom to write about everything I was passionate about, even if it wasn’t in my niche
  • How being inspired by someone and trying to copy their success are different
  • When to step back and ask “What is working?”
  • Finding a healthy balance of sacrifice during your journey toward success
  • Practical suggestions for what to do when you are overwhelmed by the urge to quit

Listen to the podcast here.

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How to Make Money as a Proofreader (free 7-day course)

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Looking for a way to make money from home? If you are a detailed and thorough person, proofreading might be a great option to explore!

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A reader wrote in and said: “I just have to say, thank you for posting the pages from Caitlin at ProofreadAnywhere! I did her free course, and her full paid course, and now I have a great work-at-home gig. I’ll probably make the money I paid for the course back in my first full month of proofreading. I’m so happy I found it and thanks for being a trustworthy resource for so many!”

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We Paid Cash: A Debt-Free Summer

We paid cash!A testimony from Sarah

Each summer, our family’s income drops dramatically. My husband is a graduate student, and his funding stops during the summer months. While I am still earning money, it is simply not enough to pay all of our bills and living expenses.

In the past, we have used credit cards to help us through the summer. This year, however, we have committed to paying off our debt, and we refuse to add any more to our credit card bill.

Back in October, we sat down together and examined our finances. We decided that we would need $700 for each summer month (June, July, and August) to be able to pay all bills and live comfortably. That is $2100! That number seemed almost unreachable at the time, but we committed to trying.

Imagine our excitement when we had saved that much by the end of March!

Here’s how we did it:

We Saved All “Bonus” Money

We decided to view any “bonus” money as money earmarked for our summer fund. This included:

  • $500 end-of-the-year bonus from my employer for having an advanced degree
  • $200 gift at Christmas from family
  • $500 from our tax refund

It was tempting to view this money as fun spending money. However, since we were committed to our financial goal, we immediately put it in our summer account.

I Picked Up Extra Work

I am a full-time teacher, and my school asks for staff to tutor in the afterschool program. This program pays $25 an hour, so I decided to work two hours a week.

From this relatively small time commitment, I ended up earning $700!

There were many days when I was exhausted by the end of the school day, but I knew our goal of a debt-free summer was worth the effort.

We Saved Money Leftover from our Budget

Our family has a written weekly budget that we keep a close eye on. We have decided how much we will spend each week on groceries, household items, gas, fun, etc.

We actually have a chart on our refrigerator where we record everything that we spend in those categories each day. Therefore, it is easy to know if we are over or under our budget at the end of the week.

My husband and I decided to take any money leftover from our budget and transfer it to our summer fund. For example, we budget $70 per week on groceries for our family of five. If I spent $65 one week, we moved $5 into our summer account.

I wasn’t sure if it was worth it to save a few dollars here and there, but I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I listened to my husband, because we saved $200 this way!

It was an amazing feeling when we realized that we had reached our goal. We are looking forward to our stress-free, debt-free summer. We’ll be able to enjoy it much more knowing that we will not be paying for it for years to come.

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Sarah is an Orthodox Christian, wife, mother of three small children, full-time teacher, and writer. She blogs about faith, family, and frugal living over at The Orthodox Mama.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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