Letting you in on a secret we’ve been keeping…

I hinted around about it last week, but the cat’s officially coming out of the bag tonight. And I couldn’t be more thrilled and excited and, well, a little scared, too. :)

But it’s good to step out of your comfort zone and do things that scare you a tiny bit, right?

So, here’s our big news: my team and I are currently developing a line of organizational and inspirational products!

If all goes as planned, we’ll be launching this product line in-stores nationwide in 2015! It’s a little bit mind-blowing to me at this point how all of this has come together — especially because it’s the realization of a long-time big, crazy dream of mine!

We’re working with an amazing company on this and I cannot wait to tell you more about this company, their commitment to giving back and making a global impact, and the story of how this product line came to be.

Would You Fill Out This Quick Survey?

We want to do our best to meet YOUR needs with this product line, so we’d love your input. Can you take a few minutes to fill out this simple survey for us?

All answers are anonymous. Feel free to skip any question that you don’t know the answer to or would prefer not to answer.

Click Here to Fill Out the Survey

Thank you so very much! And thank you for being on this journey with me and for all of your support over the years. You all bless me each and every day.

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Ask The Readers: Frugal Toddler Clothes?

ask-the-readers-blue
Today’s questions is from Sara:

What is the best, most frugal store or website to buy new toddler clothes?

I’ve been blessed to have a friend supply nearly all of my daughter’s clothes through hand-me-downs, but now that friend is moving away, and I’ve been caught off guard.

I have tried shopping clearance sales and thrift stores, but everything is out of season at this point, and we’re headed quickly towards cold weather with only three long-sleeved shirts. I am employed out of the home full time, so time is a precious resource as well.

Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask Money Saving Mom® readers? Read the submission guidelines and submit it here.

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This Week’s $103 Grocery Shopping Trip + Menu Plan for 5

This Week's Grocery Shopping Trip

ALDI Shopping Trip

Bananas — $0.44 per pound — $3.42 (Got $0.25 back from Checkout51.)
2 packages of  Multi-Colored Peppers — $2.49
2 bags of mixed veggies — $0.99 each
Butter — $3.49
3 bags of Gala apples — $2.99 per bag (Got $0.25 back from Checkout51.)
Avocados — $0.99 each
Bag of onions — $0.99
2 cucumbers — $0.49 each
2 boxes of shredded wheat — $1.99 per box
Peanut butter — $1.69

Total with tax — $38.23

Kroger Shopping Trip

2 dozen eggs — $2.99 per dozen
Italian sausage — $4.99
Sliced cheese — $3.49
Travel sized toothpaste — $1
Travel sized body wash — $1.09
Half & Half — $2.69
1 gallon of milk — $2.99
Smoked turkey — $26.63
2 lbs. ground sirloin –5.99 per pound
Total with tax: $65.35

Total for all groceries: $103.58

Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Bacon & Eggs or Oatmeal

Lunches

Sandwiches or Leftovers (We had Protein French Toast and Pumpkin Protein Pancakes for lunch on Sunday.)

Snacks

Popcorn
Fruit/Veggies
Cheese
Apples with Almond Butter
Pumpkin Pie Smoothies
Healthy Cake in a Mug

Dinners

Dinner with our small group — We did a salad bar this week and we brought hard boiled eggs, chopped peppers, salad dressing, sunflower seeds, and avocados.
Leftovers
Italian Sausage and Sweet Potatoes
Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Dinner Out

What’s on YOUR menu this week? Tell us in the comments!

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How I Saved Today: How we got a 15% discount just for asking!

How I Saved Today

My Sunday afternoon: At Jesse’s softball game, taking time to soak in a beautiful fall day, and enjoying perusing some magazines and reading a little from this thought-provoking book. (So far, I’m disagreeing with some of the premise of the book, but am being inspired to have more quiet in my life and to take time to engage in activities that really fill my soul.)

We had such a wonderful weekend! I was mostly offline — which was a needed change after spending most of the last few weekends completely focused on book-writing.

Jesse took the kids geo-caching for the first time and they loved it. They are already begging to go again! :) If you’ve never tried this fun activity before, they highly recommend it. I can’t wait until I can go with them!

We spend Sunday afternoon at the ball park for Jesse’s softball games. I got in a little reading and soaked up the crisp fall day and wonderful sunny weather!

My How I Saved tip for today is to always ask for a discount. We were shopping for clothes for some of the kids this weekend. As we went to check out, the cashier asked us if we’d like to open up a credit card with the store we were at so we could save 20% off our purchase.

We said no, but then Jesse asked lightheartedly, “Could we still get the discount?”

We expected the cashier to smile and say no. But instead, she said, “Well, I can’t give you 20% off, but I CAN give you 15% off.”

It never hurts to ask for a discount!

How Did YOU Save Today?

Leave a comment on this post telling us how you saved today. Just for fun, I’ll choose one winner and send them a $25 iTunes gift card.

The winner of the Papa John’s gift card was Amber {minimouse216@}

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When You’re So Proud of Your Friends (+ enter to win a copy of God Made Light)

God Made Light

I’ve been acquainted with Jessica and Matthew Paul Turner for a few years, but it’s only been since we’ve moved to the Nashville area that I’ve really gotten to know them well. And let me tell you, these two are the real deal.

They’ve loved on us, invited us into their home multiple times, asked us to come with them to events, listened to us, and gone out of their way to truly welcome us to Tennessee. Their friendship has been a gift to us and has been an answer to many prayers we’ve prayed for authentic friendships and community.

You know how there are people who just make you feel so special and loved and cared for? That’s the Turners.

And I couldn’t be prouder of them today as they are launching their brand-new children’s book called God Made Light. They have poured years into this project and have funded it with a significant portion of their savings.

This book is a playful, whimsical adventure through the creation of light. It encourages children to remember that they were created for a purpose — to shine and make a difference in this world.

I am really hoping that this is the first of many children’s books they produce because it’s beautiful and so meaningful. The pictures are very well done and its rhyming lyrics make it so fun to read!

God Made Light

This book would make a great gift for Christmas presents this year. Plus, DaySpring has partnered with Matthew and Jessica to produce a line of adorable products you can purchase in addition to the book. My favorite product was probably the encouragement cards, but my kids thought the puzzle and night light were the best. :)

You can get free shipping from DaySpring if you purchase $35 worth of God Made Light products and use coupon code SHIPLIGHT at checkout.

You can read more about the book, the message behind it, and see pictures of the inside of the book over on Jessica’s blog. Also, be sure to check out Matthew’s post on What Happens When 11 Publishers Say “No”.

To purchase a copy or read reviews from others, you can head over to Amazon here.

Win a Copy of God Made Light!

I know not all of you can afford to purchase God Made Light, so I wanted to buy 10 books to give away to readers here. To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post telling us who you would give this book to if you win a copy.

I’ll choose 10 winners on Thursday and will notify the winners via email.

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How I Slashed My Monthly Vegetable Bill By 53%

vegetable bill

Guest post from Cassie of Vegan Insanity

I’ve been vegan for over a year now. When I first made the switch to a plant-based diet, I spent an enormous amount of money on vegetables. Since I have them with pretty much every meal, I was buying them in abundance, and my bank account was showing that.

I started doing a bit of research and experiments to see if I could save a serious amount of money on my produce – and I did! In fact, last month I gave myself a budget of $30 per week for my produce purchases (at that point I was spending about $60), and came in under budget by $6!

Here’s what I did to save money on vegetables:

1. Check the discount rack.

My local grocery store has a discounted produce rack, and every time I went shopping, I would check it out for veggies that I could use. I often walked away with peppers, eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes (among other things) for 50% off or more!

Some vegetables had to be used right away, some would last a few days, and some of them I would stick in the freezer for later use.

2. Scour the farmer’s markets.

Farmer’s markets were a lifesaver for me last month! I went every weekend, and I always scored a ton of great deals when I was there.

I would usually show up about 30 minutes before closing time, and would ask the vendors for rock-bottom prices on their remaining vegetables. Most of them accepted!

One of the best deals I scored at the farmer’s market was a 10 pound box of bell peppers for just $5! I brought them home, washed them, cut them up, and popped them in the freezer. Now I have months’ worth of peppers in the freezer for soups, chili, and more!

3. Pick your own.

If you don’t have a farmer’s market nearby, check to see if there are any farms in your area, and if they offer “pick your own” vegetables.

Many farms allow you to pick your own potatoes, tomatoes, fruits and more – for a lot less cash than what you’d pay at a grocery store.

Plus, a trip to the farm is a fun family outing!

4. Shop in season.

One of the biggest things I did to lower my costs on veggies was to stop buying things I wanted, and instead only purchased the things that were in season.

When produce is in season, it’s not only much cheaper, but it also tastes way better.

Visit Fruits & Veggies More Matters to learn all about in-season produce and when you buy your favorite vegetables (and fruit).

These are the ways that I was able to cut my bill on veggies by 53%. Since this experiment was so successful, I’ve decided I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing.

There are always ways to save on foods that make up a big part of your diet, no matter what they are!

What are some ways that you’ve been able to save money on vegetables?

I’m Cassie – vegan food lover, money-saver, and blogger. I live in Vaughan, Ontario, right near the big city of Toronto, with my husband, our 2 kids, 3 cats, and a dog that thinks he’s a cat, too. I love to cook and share delicious vegan food with everyone I know.

photo source

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