How I Saved Today: Making Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

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How did YOU save today?

I saved by making my own Pumpkin Pie Spice. I’ve been wanting to make a few different recipes recently that call for Pumpkin Pie Spice. Instead of buying it, I mixed up some of it myself with spices I already had on hand.

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It was so easy to make. Here’s the recipe I used:

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

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Gretchen’s $40 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

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My husband is out of town for half of the week so I’m doing a simple menu based off of stuff in our pantry and refrigerator. We have quite a few random fruits and veggies in our refrigerator that I will be using up. I took this opportunity to buy a few fun snack items and stock up on cheese.


2 Barbara’s Cereal – $2.50 each, used $1.25/1 and $1.50/1 printable - $1.12 each after coupons

1 Yoplait Go-Gurt – $2.79 (My son has been begging me to buy this for weeks now. He was beyond thrilled with this surprise!)

1 Kroger Frozen Orange Juice – $1.59

1 dozen Dillons Eggs – $0.99

Bananas – $1.06

1 Kroger Bath Tissue (12 double rolls) – Marked down to $3.99

1 Green Leaf Lettuce – $0.99

2 Sierra Mist – $1, used $1/2 printable - $0.50 each after coupon

1 gallon Milk – $2.50, used $0.25 Ibotta rebate - $2.25

1 pkg Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs – $3.46

Total with tax ($1.86): $22.48 (And I will get $0.25 back from Ibotta.)

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We recently moved to a new town and there is a Homeland store nearby. I finally got a chance this week to shop there and was excited about the good deals I got. I will definitely be shopping there more often now. :)

2 Horizon Mac & Cheese – $1.25 each, used $1/2 coupon from Summer Mambo Sprouts Savings Booklet (doubled) – $0.25 each after coupon

1 Stayfree Pads – $2.50, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – $0.50 after coupon

1 Pagoda Egg Rolls – $2.50, used $1/1 printable (doubled) – $0.50 after coupon

Buy 10, Get $10 off instantly:

1 Mayo – $2.99, used $0.75/1 printable - $0.49 after coupon and instant savings

9 Kraft Shredded Cheese – $1.49 each after instant savings (I will freeze most of this!)

Total with tax ($1.63): $17.93

Total for both stores: $40.41

Menu Plan for this Week


Cereal, Fruit Smoothies & Eggs x 2, Toast & Juice, Oatmeal


Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Mac & Cheese/Veggies, Tossed Salad, Egg Rolls and Fruit, Leftovers


Italian Chicken, Toasted Hamburger Buns (from the freezer), Tossed Salad, Steamed Carrots

Spaghetti, Green Beans, Tossed Salad

Tacos, Rice, Sliced Oranges/Apples

Pancakes, Eggs, Homemade Applesauce

Hamburger Vegetable Soup, Crackers/Cheese, Peaches (from my canning)

Venison Roast, 30 Minute Rolls, Steamed Broccoli

Dinner with friends

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A quick & easy Crock-Pot Chicken recipe (+ enter to win $5,000 from Crock-Pot!)

If you’ve been reading here for any time at all, you know how much I love my Crock-Pot! It’s a life-saver on busy days when you don’t want to have to think about cooking dinner at 5 p.m.

In the video above, I share one of my favorite quick and easy Crock-Pot dinner recipes. I have detailed written instructions for the recipe I talk about on the video above here. This is so easy I’m almost not sure that it should even be called a “recipe”. :)

Ultimate Crock-Pot CrockStars contest

If you love your Crock-Pot, too, be sure to enter the annual Ultimate Crock-Pot #CrockStars contest. To enter:

  • Visit sometime between October 1-31, 2014 (site goes live October 1, 2014).
  • Submit a 1-minute video of yourself prepping your favorite original slow cooker recipe using a Crock-Pot Slow Cooker.
  • Text your recipe.
  • Be sure to follow these and all contest rules noted on the site for eligibility.

The winner will earn the title of “2014 Ultimate Crock-Pot Crock-Star,” plus $5,000 and be featured on

{This post and video were underwritten by Crock-Pot. All opinions are my own. Read our disclosure policy here.}

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How I Saved Today: Baking homemade cookies!

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

How did YOU save today?

I saved by making homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies for my family. They love home-baked treats and they are less expensive (and usually better for you!) than buying store bought.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used our family’s favorite Freezer-Friendly Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookie recipe. These are packed with fairly wholesome ingredients and so delicious.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

I especially love that they can be made ahead of time and frozen. You can either freeze the unbaked cookie dough or bake the cookies and then freeze them. Or, just eat them fresh from the oven! :)

Your turn: Tell us what you did to save today in the comments!

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Gretchen’s $45 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

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1 lb Butter – $3.49 (I about fell over when I saw this price; then I checked prices at Dillons and it was $5.49! I think I may have to cut back on baking this fall.) :(

1 Cucumber – $0.69

1 pkg Grapes – $1.58

1 pkg Roma Tomatoes – $1.29

1 dozen Eggs – $0.88

Total with tax ($0.57): $8.59

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Health Food Store

2 Grapefruit – $0.69 each

4 Navel Oranges – $0.49 each

1 Silver Hills Sprouted Grain Hot Dog Buns – Marked down to $0.99

Total with tax ($0.31): $4.64

Some friends kindly gave us all this organic meat as they had just ordered a 1/4 of a cow and wanted to share it with us. We have some of the nicest friends! :)


1 Turkey Hill Ice Cream – $2.50, used $1/1 printable - $1.50 after coupon

1 gallon Milk – $3.09

2 Kroger Shredded Cheese – $1.67 each

1 Kroger Cottage Cheese – $2.29

1 Kroger Frozen Orange Juice – $1.59

1 Kroger Sour Cream – $1.69

2 Mission Soft Tortillas – $1 each (I will be freezing these, thanks to a reader’s tip last week!)

1 pkg Heritage Farms Chicken Thighs – Marked down to $3.29

2 Brawny Paper Towels – $1 each, used 2 $0.55/1 printable - $0.45 each after coupons

1 pkg Kroger Unbleached Flour – $1.79

1 Kroger Peanut Butter – $1.79

2 Kroger canned Pumpkin – $1 each

1 Kroger canned Tomatoes – $0.69

1 pkg Kroger Pudding – $0.59

1.09 lbs Bananas @ $0.59/lb – $0.64

1.30 lbs Broccoli @ $0.99/lb – $1.29

1 Romaine Lettuce – $0.99

2 Cantaloupe – $0.99 each

Total after coupons: $31.45

Total for all grocery items: $44.68

Menu Plan for this Week


Cereal, Toast, Scrambled Eggs & Juice, Oatmeal, Banana Muffins & Fruit


Leftovers, Tossed Salad, Baked Potatoes, Cheese Quesadillas, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches


Oven Fried Chicken, Freezer Biscuits, Steamed Broccoli, Tossed Salad

Sour Cream Enchiladas, Tortilla Chips, Steamed Peas, Cantaloupe

Lasagna Casserole, Pumpkin Crescent Rolls, Tossed Salad

Hamburger Vegetable Soup, Buttered Toasted Hot Dog Buns, Fruit Salad

Grilled Steak, 30 Minute Rolls, Tossed Salad, Sliced Oranges

French Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Cantaloupe

Out to eat

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