Gretchen’s Target Shopping Trip: $25.15 worth of products for $4.17 out of pocket!

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Target Shopping Trip

2 Ban Refresh Cloths – $2.99 each – used 2 Free coupons from the 4/13 SmartSource insert (took off $3.99 each) – Free plus overage after coupons

1 Almay Mascara – $6.98, used $4/1 coupon from the 4/13 SmartSource insert AND $3/1 Target catalina coupon – Free after coupons

1 Market Pantry Frozen Chicken Breasts – $5.99, used $1/1 Target Mobile coupon (Text RECIPE to 827438) AND 5% off Cartwheel coupon - $4.74 after coupons

2 Market Pantry dozen Eggs – $0.99 each, used $0.55/2 printable (no longer available) AND 2 $0.50/1 Target Mobile coupon (Text SPRING and THANKS to 827438) - $0.22 each after coupons

Total before coupons and sales: $25.15

Total with tax ($1.11) after coupons and sales: $4.17

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Couponing Without Sacrificing Your Family’s Health

healthy foods

Emily emailed in the following tip:

My family of 3 eats a 90-100% organic, non-GMO diet… and we spend about $250-300 per month on our homemade meals. After buying as much local foods as we can, and growing what we can in the spring/summer, we use coupons and watch for store deals.

Here are a few sites where I find coupons for natural & organic products:

Mambo Sprouts
Common Kindness
The GreenBack’s Gal
Manufacturer’s websites (i.e. Enjoy Life, Stonyfield, Annie’s, San-J, Organic Valley, Horizon, Applegate, Simply Organic, Zevia)
Manufacturers Facebook pages (i.e. Maranatha, Green & Black’s)

We make our weekly menu, then our grocery list, and then we go online to see which manufacturers offer printable coupons. We also check sales ads on store websites, and then check all the other sites for possible coupons for things on our list.

It takes a little extra time at first, but once you develop your routine, it’s pretty quick, and definitely worth it. We have saved just under 50% on a large grocery trip by using coupons and sales.

Also, don’t forget to check clearance items at grocery stores, too. Sometimes things are marked way down because they’re almost at their expiration date, but are easily preserved.

photo source

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The #1 Reason Most People Fail

Don't Give Up!

In 2004, I started an online business. My long-term goal was to build something that would earn a part-time side income and allow me to stay home while my husband was in law school.

I never would have dreamed that ten years later, I would be running a large blog, writing books, speaking to audiences around the country, and have an amazing team working for me.

Many times, people look at me and only see the accomplishments and success. What people don’t see is the hours, days, weeks, months, and years I worked very, very hard and saw little return on all my investment. They don’t see the many, many times I’ve come this close to shutting it all down from frustration and discouragement.

There have been some gloriously rewarding moments in the process, but there have been many more mundane and difficult seasons along the way.

But I believe one of the greatest reasons this blog has been so successful is not because I’m really smart (I’m not — I struggled in many subjects in school), or because I’m naturally techie, (oh goodness, it’s scary how pathetically non-techie I am!), or because I had a background in marketing (In reality, I didn’t go to college and I was a waitress and a violin teacher in my teen years).

The reason this blog has been so successful is because I refuse to give up.

When my first few online business attempts didn’t work, I didn’t give up. When I only sold a few copies of my first ebooks in the first few months, I didn’t give up. When I about pulled my hair out over technical issues while trying to set up my first few blogs, I didn’t give up. When the articles I submitted for publication were rejected, I didn’t give up. When other people told me I was crazy to pursue many of my ideas, I didn’t give up.

For the first few years, it really felt like I was spinning my wheels and making very little progress. But I kept researching, kept experimenting, kept networking, kept reading books, kept watching what other people were doing, kept asking questions of anyone who had any experience at all with running a business, and kept getting back up when I failed yet again.

And little bit by little bit, the hard work, the long hours, and the effort began to pay off. It didn’t feel like much return at all at first, but those little trickles of traffic eventually turned into a small stream that morphed into a river.

I don’t say all of this to hold myself up as someone who has arrived or has it altogether. Honestly, there are still many days when I feel like I’m so inadequate, I still fail regularly, and I still often have moments when I want to pull my hair out. Instead, I share this to encourage those of you who are struggling to start something right now.

Maybe you’re a few months (or a few years!) into a project or idea and it just feels like it’s not working or getting anywhere. Perhaps you set a goal or dreamed a big dream, went for it, and now it seems like it’s all crumbling right in front of you.

Whatever it is, wherever you’re at in life right now, I want to encourage you: don’t give up. You may need to change your plans, tweak your dreams, or alter your course. You might need to shelve the idea and start a new one. You may need to extend the deadline or revise your game plan. That’s all part of learning and growing.

But no matter what, don’t give up. Winners aren’t quitters. Keep going, keep pressing forward, keep learning, keep experimenting… and someday soon, you will start to see fruit from your effort.

Don't Give Up!

Note: This post was inspired by Jon Acuff’s post: We want greenhouses but don’t get them.

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10 Healthy and Cheap Vegan Snacks for Kids

vegan snacks for kids

Guest post from Koren of The Little Green House

Feeding children can be tough, huh? Especially between meals when they’re grizzly and starving and demand something to eat right now.

Because you’re busy, right? You don’t have hours to spend slaving away in the kitchen creating kid-friendly snacks that are gobbled down in seconds.

Sometimes it just seems easier to buy pre-packaged snacks, especially for fussy eaters. But actually, if you pick the right recipes, making your own treats can save you both time and money. Plus, you can sneak healthy ingredients into homemade snacks for a secret nutrition boost your little ones won’t even suspect.

Vegan snacks are a great way to up your child’s daily fruit and vegetable intake and can also help youngsters who have troubles digesting dairy products. They’re almost always cheaper to prepare, too.

Here are my 10 favorite fun yet frugal vegan snacks for kids:

1. Breakfast banana pops

This ridiculously simple recipe makes a healthy breakfast fun. Best of all, the popsicles can be frozen and then pulled out on those crazy busy mornings when your family needs to eat on the run.

Breakfast banana pops

2. Homemade muesli bars

Muesli bars make great lunchbox fillers but often store-bought versions are high in sugar and preservatives. Try this simple recipe for a cheap and healthy homemade slice that can even be frozen in small portions for an instant snack.

Homemade muesli bars

3. Healthy rice crispy treats

These gluten-free brown rice crispy treats are a cinch to make and can be thrown together in just five minutes. They’re also incredibly nutritious, full of protein, vitamin E, and fiber thanks to healthy lashings of almond butter, cinnamon, and coconut oil.

Healthy rice crispy treats

4. PeaWee kiwi pops

Up your child’s vegetable intake without them even noticing with these genius bright-green homemade popsicles. Kids love the summer-fresh and nourishing flavors of kiwifruit and orange with little pops of frozen grapes in between. The perfect snack for a warm summer afternoon.

PeaWee-Kiwi-Pops

5. Fruity summer skewers

Sometimes getting kids to eat more fruit can be as easy as serving it up in a more interesting way. These super simple fruit skewers are bright and colourful and travel really well, making them an ideal snack for summer picnics or beach days.

Fruity summer skewers

6. Ants on a log

Use any kind of nut butter or seed butter and some yummy dried fruit to make this fun and protein-rich snack, which can be thrown together in a matter of minutes.

Ants on a log

7. Apple cupcakes

These super cute little cupcakes require zero baking and minimal fuss… yet still taste divine. They’re a great way to enrich your youngster’s daily fruit snack with a little nut butter protein.

Apple cupcakes

8. Choc-peanut brownie balls

If you’re after sweet yet wholesome snacks, try these completely sugar-free brownie balls. They have more fiber, protein, and healthy fats than cookies and cakes but taste so good your little ones will never guess they’re so healthy. You can skip the peanut butter if nut allergies are a concern.

Choc-peanut brownie balls

9. Date and coconut balls

Another easy recipe for delicious yet healthy balls, this option requires only pitted dates and a little desiccated coconut. The recipe makes a big batch that keeps for a week or so in an airtight container.

date and coconut balls

10. Chewy maple cookies

If you can’t live without cookies, these insanely delicious and chewy numbers bake in just nine minutes. The recipe also makes about 4-dozen cookies, so you’ll get a huge yield for minimal effort.

chewy maple cookies

Do you have any favorite recipe ideas for quick and healthy snacks that children will happily gobble up?

Koren is an Australian who likes to eat well without spending the earth. She and her sister, Alana, create simple and cheap vegetarian recipes for everyday people at The Little Green House blog, plus offer inspiration for kind and sustainable living.

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Ask the Readers: How do you lower your water costs?

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Today’s questions is from Lisa:

The cost of water in our town is extremely high. We are always looking for ways to lower it… so I’m looking for any creative ways to keep our water bill down. Does anyone have suggestions? -Lisa

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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Sign Up for the FREE Online Author Platform Summit!

Free Author Platform Summit

Want to write a book or take your writing career to the next level? Sign up for the Author Platform Summit that will be held online from May 15-18, 2014.

During this special free online summit experience you will learn from best-selling authors, publishing industry experts and leading authorities who will share strategies to help authors and anyone with something to say or sell build a platform of success. On May 15-18 you will have free, on-demand access to watch video teachings from each of our speakers. You can watch online whenever you want. Each teaching will share a few specific tips from our experts with a focus on actions that you can take immediately.

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I’ll be sharing at the summit along with a number of other best-selling authors and experienced book marketers. I’m excited about this and can’t wait to soak up all the great information and practical advice that will be shared.

And did I mention this is FREE? Yes, it is. What a great value!

Sign up for the FREE Author Platform Summit here.

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