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How Do You Pronounce Coupon?

A few weeks ago, I asked on Instagram how people pronounce the word “coupon”. The results of the poll were so interesting:

For the record, I say “Q-pon”. I’m originally from Kansas and it seems like most people there say it that way. (At least the people I was around!)

However, when I started doing radio and magazine interviews, I noticed that it always seemed like the people in media said, “Coo-pon”. I started to wonder if I was the one who had always pronounced it incorrectly.

Come to find out, you can pronounce it either way and both are correct, at least according to Merriam-Webster.

By the way, I thought this pronunciation note on was funny…

I guess I follow the American pronunciation and am an “educated speaker”. 😉

How do YOU pronounce coupon? Do you think it’s a regional thing or based on something else? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Inexpensive Ways to Have Fun at Home

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Looking for fun things to do at home with kids that don’t cost a ton of money? Check out this list of great inexpensive ways to have fun at home!

Psst! Looking for more ideas? Check out these creative ideas for family fun at home, these frugal vacation-replacement ideas, and these budget-friendly summer fun activities. And don’t miss our family’s top 5 favorite board games!

fun things to do at home with kids

Guest post from Bella of Bella’s Money Café:

As social distancing recommendations continue, we have found ourselves spending more time than usual at home as a family.

To keep ourselves entertained, we have come up with some fun activities that have introduced quite a bit of laughter into our lives at a surprisingly low cost!

Inexpensive, Fun Things to Do at Home With Kids

If you’re looking for some creative, fun activities to do together as a family while at home, these are our top 5 favorites we’ve really enjoyed lately…

1. Puzzles

We are a family fond of puzzles because we love the challenge!

The sense of accomplishment when we finally finish one and the joy of working together keep bringing us back to puzzles.

If you have little ones at home, you can still get them involved by asking them to find the edge pieces or to help finish the final few pieces of the puzzle.

The best part is that puzzles are fairly inexpensive even if you buy one online. A 1000-piece puzzle typically costs around $20. However, if you shop a second-hand store, you can often find brand new boxes of puzzles for less than $5!

2. Fort Building

My family found a YouTube video that showed us how to build an epic fort with common household items that we already have — such as pillows, chairs, paper clips, and of course, bed sheets. We even brought some Christmas lights into our fort!

Building a fort is SO fun for kids, too! I remember when I was a kid, every opportunity to not sleep in my own bed was an adventure, and I gladly went to sleep in the fort without my parents’ coaxing.

Additionally, since you probably already have all the key elements on hand at home, it’s probably going to be a completely FREE form of entertainment.

Sometimes all you need is a bit of creativity introduce some excitement into your life with what you already have on hand. And I’ll bet if you ask any kid, they’ll say this is one of their favorite fun things to do at home!

3. Growing Plants

We have recently tried growing some simple plants and have been surprised and delighted by the results.

We started out with soybean sprouts and green garlic since they seemed relatively easy to grow and didn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or raw materials.

Some of my friends have also tried growing lettuce from the leftover stem. Similar to green garlic, you only need the stem, a clean glass with the water level covering the roots (about 1/2 an inch), and sunlight. Within a week, you should be able to see some small leaves growing out of the center of the stem. Once that happens, you can decide to either eat the leaves or, if you want to go one step further, plant the lettuce into the soil for a fully-grown edible plant!

Growing your own plants is such a frugal way to have fun at home with kids!

4. Cooking Competitions

Cooking and baking are always a fun thing to do at home, and kids love to join in. And if you want to take it up a notch, you can try a cooking competition!

We loved doing this as a family. The criteria we set were simple. We were allowed to use all resources available, with some caveats: all ingredients must be already available at home, and we must complete the recipes within an hour.

Whoever got the most votes from others would win the competition AND would not have to wash dishes for a week. For someone like me who isn’t fond of washing dishes, it was a huge incentive! 😉

At the end of the competition, we had a nice salad with bean sprouts we grew, fried rice, spaghetti with meatballs, and some warm banana bread cupcakes. Although these dishes were nowhere near the standards of those in an actual competition, we all had plenty of fun and had a good meal to celebrate at the end.

5. Old-Fashioned Games

Nowadays, we spend more and more of our time glued in front of electronic devices. And games are a great way to bring the entire family together for some screen-free fun.

Old-fashioned, simple games like hide-and-seek and scavenger hunt never get old!

Even as an adult, I still find that these activities bring me joy. For example, my dad found a tiny little plastic toy from the back corner of a drawer, and we have been taking turns hiding it in unexpected places for people to find. The toy has been found in the shower caddy, in the closets, on a hat, or even in a bowl in the dishwasher. Every time someone finds the toy, you can hear a wave of laughter and clapping in the house.

Who would have thought that such a simple and inexpensive trinket could deliver so much fun for adults and kids alike!

All of the above inexpensive activities were thoroughly enjoyed by members of our family, regardless of age.

I encourage you to try some of these in your household. You might just discover some unexpected fun!

Do you have any other ideas for fun things to do at home with kids? I’ve love to hear!

Bella Wanana is a writer passionate about personal finance. She is the proud owner of Bella’s Money Café, where she loves sharing her knowledge of personal finance and money-saving tips and tricks.

Jesse’s Advice for Raising Financially Responsible Kids

“I would love for you to do an episode with Jesse sometime on how he’s taught your kids about budgeting, money, setting up a bank account, etc.”

This request came in a few weeks ago, and I knew it would be a perfect podcast topic!

So, in this week’s episode of The Crystal Paine Show, I interview Jesse on how has has instilled wise money management principles in our kids — especially as they have gotten older and have begun earning their own money.

He shares his thoughts on budgeting, when to have your kids open up their first bank accounts, how to teach your kids to view money as a tool, why letting your kids handle money from an early age can make such a difference, when he first learned to handle money, how to teach your kids the true value of money and how that translates to real life, and much more. It was fun to get to sit back and listen in as he shared his wisdom and advice.

Also, I should warn you that Jesse and I start the podcast in a bit of an uncharacteristic way… and if this is your first time to listen to one of our episodes, you might be a little, um, caught off guard?? We discuss a surprising discovery about asparagus and urine… and well, it goes a little off the rails. But I hope it makes you laugh! 🙂

In This Episode: 

[00:33] Learn a little bit more about Jesse’s 23andMe results. 😉

[03:26] Pelvic floor therapy is saving my life. 

[08:23] The Scribd App has been saving Jesse’s life and he’s been reading The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva

[12:06] I am reading Thriving in Love and Money

[15:51] When should parents start talking to their kids about money? 

[18:28] Is there a right age or a certain amount of maturity to be on the lookout for? 

[19:18] Which accounts should kids have? 

[20:27] Setting up budgets and spreadsheets.

[22:28] Should you teach your children all the same way or go with their interests and aptitudes? 

[27:26] Why learning the value of money at an early age is so important.

Links and Resources:

How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player here. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.

Gretchen’s $91 Grocery Shopping Trip and Menu Plan for 5


1 huge package Frozen Tilapia – $5.99

1 package Frozen Chicken Breasts – $5.59

1 lb Butter – $2.66

1 gallon Milk – $1.69

1 Applesauce – $1.95

1 bag frozen Broccoli – $0.89

1 bag frozen Veggies – $0.75

1 lb Ground Beef – $3.69

2 Half & Half – $1.55 each

2 dozen Eggs – $2.08

1 can Pineapple Chunks – $0.98

1 jar Spaghetti Sauce – $0.85

2 pkg Strawberries – $1.59 each

2 cans Tuna – $0.68 each

1 box Cereal – $1.39

1 bag Frozen Corn – $0.79

1 bag Romaine Hearts – $2.19

1 can Chili Beans – $0.49

1 pkg Vine Tomatoes – $2.19

1 pkg Green Peppers – $2.19

1 Sour Cream – $0.89

1 bag Spinach – $1.19

1 pkg Hot Dogs – $0.79

1 pkg Peaches – $1.98

2 pkg Mac & Cheese – $0.33 each

1 bag Gala Apples – $2.99

1 bag Mandarins – $3.79

1 pkg Oven Roasted Turkey Breast – $3.99

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup – $0.49

1 box MooTubes – $1.55

3 pkg Chunk Cheese – $1.45 each

2.34 lbs Bananas – $0.91

1 box Snack Crackers – $1.59

1 Seedless Cucumber – $1.29

1 box Graham Crackers – $0.85

1 Italian Dressing – $0.89

1 Taco Seasoning Mix – $0.39

2 pkg Flour Tortillas – $1.35 each

1 bag Tortilla Chips – $0.89

1 bag Baking Potatoes – $2.79

1 box Granola Bars – $1.15

1 Baking Powder – $0.99

1 bag Flour – $1.15

1 bag Chocolate Chips – $1.69

1 loaf Bread – $0.95

1 box Spaghetti Noodles – $1.09

Total: $87.88

Big Lots

I happened to be in Big Lots this week and discovered a huge markdown section. 🙂 I picked up a few items that I knew my kids would love.

2 boxes Frosted Flakes Cereal – Marked down to $0.82 each

1 box Teddy Grahams – Marked down to $1

1 bag Harvest Snaps – Marked down to $0.75

Total: $3.39

Total for both stores: $91.27

Menu Plan for This Week


Cereal, Toast, Yogurt, Spinach Smoothies, Eggs, Oatmeal


Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Turkey Sandwiches, Mac & Cheese, Hard Boiled Eggs/Fruit/Cheese, Crackers & Peanut Butter/Apples, Hot Dogs, Leftovers


Tossed Salad Bar with Chicken

Chicken & Rice with Gravy and Pineapple

Taco Bar, Chips & Salsa

Grilled Tilapia, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Peas

Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit

Homemade Cheese Pizza, Breadsticks, Tossed Salad

Spaghetti, Biscuits, Steamed Broccoli

My 10 Goals for This Week

I didn’t get all of my goals done from this past week, but I crossed one HUGE goal off — turning in my book manuscript to my publisher!! I can’t wait to share more about it as it was such a joy to write!

Here are my goals for this coming week + how I did on my goals last week…

Turning in my book!

Last Week’s Goals

Personal Goals

1. Take 5 morning walks in our neighborhood.

2. Read 5 chapters of The White Rose Resists. Read 5 chapters of Show Up for Your Life. Finish reading Thriving in Love and Money.

3. Do pelvic floor exercises at least four times.

Home/Family Goals

4. Read 3 chapters of The Giver aloud to the kids. 

5. Go on a date with Jesse. 

6. Go on a hike as a family.

Work/Blog Goals

7. Turn my book manuscript into my publisher!!

8. Write 4 content posts for the blog.

9. Finish my YBM IG stories series about the early blogging years.

Word of the Year Goals

10. Make tea and spend an hour reading a book just for fun.

This Week’s Goals

Personal Goals

1. Take 5 morning walks in our neighborhood.

2. Read 5 chapters of The White Rose Resists. Read 5 chapters of Show Up for Your Life. Finish reading Thriving in Love and Money.

3. Do pelvic floor exercises at least four times.

Home/Family Goals

4. Read 3 chapters of The Giver aloud to the kids. 

5. Go on a date with Jesse. 

6. Prep for leading youth group Bible Study.

Work/Blog Goals

7. Update my About Page.

8. Experiment with TikTok.

9. Update my Welcome Series on my personal email newsletter.

Word of the Year Goals

10. Make tea and spend an hour reading a book just for fun.

What are YOUR goals for this week? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to hear and be able to cheer for you!

We spent $84.09 on groceries this past week (ground beef stock-up!)

Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of seven. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Last week, I talked about how we were around $15 under our $70/weekly budget and how I wanted to use that extra to stock up on a good deal this week. I wasn’t sure what good deal I was going to stock up on… until I saw ground beef marked down to $1.99/lb.!!! You better believe I grabbed up that deal to stick in the freezer!

Here’s what we bought at the store this past week…

The boxes of cereal were only $0.79 — because they were bent. Hey, so long the boxes are not torn, I will gladly pay half price for boxes of cereal that just don’t look as pretty!

Kroger Shopping Trip #1

  • 6 jars Pasta Sauce — $1 each
  • 3 2-lb flats of strawberries — $1.88 each
  • Facial Tissue — marked down to $0.49
  • Breakfast Sausage — marked down to $1.79
  • Burnt Pork Ends — marked down to $2.99
  • Marshmallows — marked down to $0.69
  • Comet — marked down to $0.49
  • 8 jars peanut butter — $0.99 each
  • Cinnamon Cereal — marked down to $0.79 per box
  • 2 meatloaves — marked down to $3.99 each
  • Milk — $2.59
  • Chocolate Chips — $1.99, used $0.30/1 Kroger digital coupon = $1.69
  • Organic Bananas — $1.27
  • Half & Half — $1.99
  • White vinegar — marked down to $0.89
  • Total with tax: $48.55

I could not believe this price on ground beef when I saw it — WOW!!

Kroger Shopping Trip #2

  • 6 pounds ground beef — marked down to $1.99 each
  • Danimals — marked down to $1.59
  • 2 cans refried beans — marked down to $0.49 each
  • Milk — $2.59
  • Salad Greens — marked down to $2.49
  • 2 packages Butterscotch Chips — on closeout for $0.80 each
  • 3 bags Flaxseed Meal — on closeout for $0.67 each (we use this in Energy Bites)
  • 2 Mott’s Fruit Snacks — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • Cheerios/Honey Nut Cheerios — $1.79 each when you buy 5 participating items, used $1/2 Kroger digital coupon = $1.29 each
  • Rice a Roni — marked down to $0.39
  • 2 loaves bread — $0.99
  • Water — $0.79
  • 2 bags Chex Mix — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items, used $0.50/2 Kroger coupon — $0.75 each after coupon
  • Total with tax = $35.54

Total spent on groceries this week — $84.09

What We Ate This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.

Breakfasts — Cereal, Eggs/Avocados/Strawberries, Toaster Pastries, Apple Cinnamon Bars, Energy Bites, Breakfast at McDonald’s (Saturday morning), Breakfast at the hotel (Sunday morning)

Lunches — PB & Honey Sandwiches, Eggs, Salad, Leftovers, Cereal, Strawberries, Bananas

Snacks — Cereal, Strawberries, Energy Bites, Oatmeal/Chocolate Chip Cookies, Banana Bread, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


  • Sunday — Eggs & Sausage with Cheese
  • Monday — Egg Casserole, Banana Bread, Strawberries
  • Tuesday — Salad topped with marinated chicken and hardboiled eggs, Banana Bread
  • Wednesday — Leftovers
  • Thursday — Meat loaf, mashed sweet potatoes, salad, peas, strawberries/bananas
  • Friday — Dinner on the road: Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwiches, Chex Mix, Fruit Snacks, Danimals
  • Saturday — Dinner out with two of my sisters and their families

Cashback Earned: 100 points from Fetch Rewards