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How I Cut $80 Off Our Weekly Grocery Bill

Wow! Easily cut $80 off your grocery bill with these simple tips! I love this testimony!

A few months ago, Naomi left a comment on one of posts and said:

“We are also a family of five but we have special dietary issues. My goal this past week was to reduce our weekly food budget to $100 and it was $99! Previously, I thought that I couldn’t save money because of our food restrictions but I wasn’t really ready to try.”

I wrote her back and asked if she could share some specific tips she had implemented. Here’s what she said:

First of all, our restrictions are soy, nuts, and seeds allergies (including their oils). I myself am supposed to eat as preservative-free as possible with high fiber thrown into the mix because of a chronic medical condition. As a point of reference, I was spending about $180 a week on our food.

Here was my strategy:

1) Create a food shopping budget. I based this off of the MyPlate recommendations for food consumption. On my shopping list, I put a dollar amount next to each category that I was shopping. For example, Fruits were allotted $20. Grains were $13 and so on. (My categories are Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy and Protein.)

2) Don’t make a meal plan until I see the local sales. I got this tip from you! I looked all the sale leaflets up online and filled in my shopping list categories, being careful to write down the price of what I was expecting to buy to stay with my category’s budgeted amount.

3) Shop the sales at my local Kroger, Aldi and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. For us, Thursday is “Double Ad Day” at Fresh Thyme, where the previous and coming week’s sales are all up for grabs.

4) I did all my shopping on one day and kept a running total of each category on my shopping list. I knew when I hit $13 for grains.

5) Don’t buy pre-packaged items. A big key for me to make this work for our family was to buy only “ingredient items,” no prepackaged foods. For breakfast this week, we are eating muesli but instead of buying an allergen friendly muesli, I bought the ingredients to make my own.

6) Allow some wiggle room for extras. I gave myself $25 for extras. Fats and sugars fell under this category, along with coffee beans and tea. I used some of this to buy marked down ground beef I hadn’t been planning on purchasing ahead of time. I saved so much, we used some extra money to buy our favorite allergen friendly pizza.

Thanks for inspiring me to try to save! Our pantry and refrigerator are stocked for the week and I feel pleased with myself for saving money.

5 Simple Tips to Find Great Clothing Deals on Amazon

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

Find great clothing deals on Amazon with these 5 simple tips!!

I may be the only person on the planet who loves to find great clothing deals on Amazon and thinks that Amazon is the best place to buy clothes from, but some of my favorite fashion finds have been from Amazon! (Scroll to the bottom of this post for some of my recommendations!)

And I love that most Prime eligible clothing offers FREE shipping and FREE returns! So if something doesn’t fit or I end up hating it, I can just send it right back without worrying about losing money on the purchase.

As I’ve been sharing about some of my favorite Amazon clothing deals recently, some of you have asked how to find the best deals on budget-friendly clothing on Amazon.

Amazon’s search feature is not set up well to find exactly what you are looking for, so you might have to do some poking around.

Here are 5 simple tips to find great clothing deals on Amazon…

1. Be willing to dig.

It’s not always easy to find what you’re looking for at first. Most the time, you have to put in specific search terms to find exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t give up within a few tries; it’s probably there if you’re willing to dig! Use as specific of search terms as possible. If you know a brand name and specific type of what you’re looking for, be sure to include those details in the search terms. Amazon carries a LOT of brands and you might be surprised what you find and the prices they are offering.

What I’ve found works best is to find a few brands that I love and then buy multiple colors of that same item once I know that I love it (because I might be branching out some, but I’m still boring enough to have multiple colors of the same shirt. Hey, if I like it a lot and it fits really well, it’s so much easier to just have the same shirt in different colors!!)

2. Check the related searches.

If you find an item you love, be sure to scroll down on the page to see the “Related Searches” items and the “People Who Bought This Also Bought” selections. In both cases, I’ll often find some great options there that I might not have found just by searching. And both of these tools often turn up some great finds that are in similar styles to what I love!

3. Look for the best reviewed items.

Amazon reviews are a goldmine of helpful information! Often, items will look amazing in the picture, but if you read the reviews, you’ll discover that the quality isn’t great or the sizing is off. I always search for clothes that have at least a 4 star average from 50+ people. To make this easier, you can narrow your search to show only these items when you select 4+ star reviews option on the sidebar.

4. Always check the shipping price.

Many clothes ship free to Amazon Prime members or with a qualified $49 purchase. Make sure you check the shipping price before falling in love with something — because sometimes it won’t be free and might be as high as $5-$6.

If something doesn’t fit, most Amazon clothes purchases can be returned for free, but you have to read the details because different sellers are different. (A general rule of thumb is that if it’s Prime eligible, it usually offers free returns with the free shipping. But be sure to double check!)

5. Look to see where something is made/ships from.

Some of Amazon’s clothing ships from China and takes 4-6 weeks to arrive. Be aware of this when you are looking at items — especially if you are hoping to get them within in a few days.

Want to see some of my all-time favorite Amazon clothing finds?

Fall/Winter

Spring/Summer

What are YOUR favorite ways to get great deals on Amazon clothes? I’d love to hear! Tell us in the comments!

How We Fed A Crowd While On Our Family Vacation (Full Menu Plan for 26 People)

If your extended family is going on a vacation, these are GREAT ideas for a frugal menu plan!

Need some ideas for food to make while on vacation with a crowd? Two weeks ago, my entire extended family (except my brother who is working on the The Wilds camp this summer and couldn’t take time off) went to Bull Shoals Lake.

We’ve been doing this trip together as a family since before I was married. The number of people who come each year has slowly grown as my siblings have gotten married and we’ve had babies. We’re now up to 26 people total (My parents, my six siblings, plus their spouses and kids!)

On this trip, we stay in cabins that have kitchens so we bring food and make it there for all but one night. We all pitch in to help with meals, ingredients, cooking, baking, and clean up. This way, there’s not too much work on any one person’s shoulders.

Many of you asked for details on what we cook and how it works, so I’m posting our entire menu plan so you can get ideas. 🙂

My sister planned the menus based upon what she knows that everyone would like/eat/would give some options for those on special diets or who have food allergies and then she put together a sign up form on TakeThemaMeal.com for everyone to sign up for what they wanted to bring.

I know that this might not work in some families, but because of the dynamics of our family, this works really well for us. It’s also nice because then everyone can sign up for what types of food they like to bring or what meals they’d prefer to help make.

My sister set up the sign up sheet so that every menu item was on a different line and if you signed up for something, you were responsible to get the ingredients for it and make it for that meal.

Some of the items were really easy things, like bringing a jar of pickles or a bag of tater tots. Others were a little more time intensive, like making bread or mashed potatoes or a main dish.

Here was our menu plan:

Breakfasts

Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon, Juice
Ice Cream Soaked French Toast, Eggs, Bacon, Juice
Baked Oatmeal, Sausage, Eggs, Juice
Brown Sugar Biscuit Twists, Eggs, Bacon, Juice
Cold Cereal

Lunches:

Salad Bar, Leftovers, Snack-y Foods (everyone brings some snack type foods to contribute and share)

Dinners:

  • Spaghetti Pie, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Lettuce Salad, Fruit
  • Papa John’s Pizza (we had a gift card and there was a 30% off coupon, so we ended up getting a LOT of pizza for very little out of pocket!)
  • Grilled Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Lettuce Salad, Fruit, Biscuits
  • Hamburgers/Hot Dogs, Watermelon, French Fries, Corn on the Cob, Veggie Tray, Steamed Veggies
  • Chicken Bean Burritos (topped with lettuce, sour cream, and salsa) Fried Rice, Fruit

And that’s that! I did want to mention that some of the meals were more allergy-friendly than others, so on a few of the nights where they weren’t as allergen-friendly, those with food allergies made some other for the main dish.

Saturday’s MEGA DEALS Shopping Trip at Kroger!

I stopped by Kroger on Saturday to pick up some of their deals — and I was so excited with what I got! (And I’m sorry that I’m just now getting this posted. I had plans to post it earlier in the week so you could take advantage of some of these deals, but I’ve been in India and haven’t had as much time to write blog posts as I’d hoped!)

Here’s what I bought:

Saturday Kroger Shopping Trip

Jesse also stopped by Sprouts and picked up 2 watermelon for $1.98 each (they were running a 3-day weekend sale!).

Have you gotten any great deals recently? I’d love to hear about them! Tell us in the comments!

Alpha Omega Publications: Get 20% off the LIFEPAC homeschool curriculum + enter to win a LIFEPAC prize package!

(Note: This post and giveaway are sponsored by Alpha Omega Publications. Read our disclosure policy here.)

Did you know that Alpha Omega Publications offers print curriculum in addition to their popular Monarch online curriculum?

AOP’s print curriculum, LIFEPAC, was actually their very first curriculum and it’s been a trusted curriculum among homeschoolers for over 40 years!

The LIFEPAC curriculum recently got beautifully redesigned, and the content is now presented in an age-appropriate way for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

LIFEPAC is really unique because the full year of curriculum is broken up into 10 worktexts — which are portable, easy-to-use sections that combine textbook lessons with workbook exercises. This allows kids to learn at their own pace, build confidence gradually and consistently, and gain a sense of accomplishment every 3 to 4 weeks as each worktext is completed.

The LIFEPAC curriculum comes in a variety of subjects: Bible, History & Geography, Language Arts, Math, Science, and Electives. (And there are tons of choices for Electives, including Health, Literature, Geology, Computer, Astronomy, Spanish, and so many more!)

Plus, each LIFEPAC comes with a removable self-test for review, a teacher’s guide, answer keys, and practical tips for teaching your children.

Get 20% off LIFEPAC products!

If you’re interested in LIFEPAC homeschooling products, Alpha Omega Publications is currently offering an exclusive discount to MSM readers to get 20% off!

No coupon code is required. Just go here and you’ll see the discount reflected in the sale price listed.

Choose from complete 5-subject sets or individual subjects for each grade level!

Win a LIFEPAC Prize Package!

Want to try LIFEPAC for your kids? I have great news!

Alpha Omega Publications is giving away one LIFEPAC prize package to a lucky MSM reader!

The prize package is a $350 value and includes:

  • LIFEPAC 5-Subject Set
  • Blanket
  • Inflatable Globe

The giveaway ends on August 15, 2018.

Go here to enter the giveaway for your chance to win!

Free Eat At Home Tonight Challenge!

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

With the busy back to school season on the horizon, are you trying to get back in the groove of eating dinners at home?

If so, you’ll definitely want to sign up for the FREE Eat At Home Tonight Challenge! It runs today, August 8th, through next Tuesday, August 14th.

When you sign up, you’ll get a FREE meal plan, grocery list, and recipes from the Eat At Home Tonight cookbook. You’ll also be able to join a private Facebook community for encouragement and inspiration!

I’ve participated in the Eat At Home Challenge multiple times and absolutely loved it! This is also one of my favorite cookbooks!

Sign up here for the FREE Eat At Home Tonight Challenge.