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Brigette’s $85 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

My older sister, Brigette, shares her shopping trips and menu plans every week! You can go HERE to see all of her weekly menu plans and you can go HERE to read all about her family!

Aldi

4 bags frozen Broccoli Florets – $3.56

2 bags frozen Riced Cauliflower – $3.78

2 cans Green beans – $0.76

1 Cauliflower – $2.25

1 3-lb bag Mandarin Oranges – $2.29

1 Butternut Squash ($0.59/lb) – $1.95

1 Spaghetti Squash ($0.59/lb) – $2.74

2 Acorn Squash ($0.59/lb) – $1.56

1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.59

1 3-pk Colored Peppers – $2.49

1 pg Zucchini – $2.09

2 bags Green Beans – $3.18

1 Romaine – $2.15

1 3-lb bag Gala Apples – $1.49

1 pint Grape Tomatoes – $1.19

1 bag Spinach – $1.19

1 pkg Brats – $2.95

1 pkg fresh Boneless Chicken Thighs (1.49/lb) – $4.82

1 pkg Pepperoni – $2.19

1-lb Sausage – $1.49

2 64-oz cartons Orange Juice – $3.18

1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.47

1 gallon 1% Milk – $1.47

6 single-serving cartons Greek Yogurt – $3.54

1 32-oz carton Half and Half – $1.29

2 1-lb boxes Butter – $3.92

1 8-oz pkg Deli Sliced Cheese – $1.25

2 8-oz blocks Cheddar Cheese – $2.50

1 16-oz pkg Deli Meat – $2.49

1 jar Crunchy Peanut Butter – $1.15

1 5-lb bag Flour – $1.15

1 box Crispy Oats  – $1.09

1 box Cinnamon Crunch Squares – $1.19

1 box Rice Squares – $1.49

1 box Corn Flakes – $1.19

1 box Clubhouse Crackers – $1.79

1 bag Veggie Straws – $1.79

1 pkg Flour Tortillas – $1.35

3 dozen Eggs – $2.54

1 pkg Hot Dog Buns – $0.59

1 pkg Hamburger Buns – $0.59

2 loaves Sandwich Bread – $1.18

Grocery Total for the Week: $85.91

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:

Cereal, Oatmeal, Toast, Fruit, Smoothies, Fried/Scrambled/Boiled Eggs, Veggie Omelets, Yogurt

Lunches

Crackers with Peanut Butter, Oranges, Peppers

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Cucumbers, Tomatoes (from a friend’s garden) x 2

Deli Meat/Cheese Sandwiches, Veggie Straws, Apples, Carrots x 2

Leftovers x 2

Dinners

Grilled Venison Burgers, Baked Potato Fries, Green Beans

Homemade Pepperoni Pizza, Broccoli

Grilled Brats and Chicken, Creamy Milk Rice, Grilled Zucchini, Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash

Sausage Egg Quiche, Broccoli, Biscuits

Venison Roast in the Instant Pot, Roasted Cauliflower, Baked Potatoes

Spaghetti (made with ground sausage), Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Green Beans, Homemade French Bread

Leftovers

Why Homemade Laundry Detergent Doesn’t Actually Save You Money

We often hear about homemade laundry detergent and how much money it can save you, but this is a really interesting perspective on how it might not actually save you money like you think!

Psst! Interested in other homemade cleaners? Check out this list of homemade cleaners that might save you money!

homemade laundry detergent doesn't save money

Guest post from Ali:

I used to love homemade detergent. I thought it was amazing! It was easy, quick, and cheap to make. It worked well on stains.

But it was a waste. Homemade laundry detergent cost me much more than I saved.

About 6 months after I started making my homemade laundry detergent, all of our clothes started to stink and fall apart. And I ended up having to completely replace our wardrobe.

What I didn’t know at that point was that the bars of soap you grate to be the main cleaning agent, do not easily wash out in a washing machine.

Why Homemade Laundry Soap Doesn’t Work

The Science

The following is a very simple explanation.

Soap and detergent are similar molecules, but key differences make soap appropriate for nonporous surfaces (like counters) and detergent appropriate for porous surfaces (like clothes).

This is because detergent needs much less water than soap to wash out. And washing machines just don’t use enough water to properly wash soap out of clothes.

When soap (that builds up in your clothes) binds to magnesium or calcium, it makes soap scum.

Soap scum is insoluble and builds up, causing the clothes that you want to be absorbent (like towels and cloth diapers) lose their absorbency.

It will also cause your clothes to stink and deteriorate. Just like what happened to me!

So Why Not Use Extra Rinses?

Soap degrades fats like oil and lubricants — the same oil and lubricants your washer needs to operate properly.

With each wash, you are slowly ruining your washer. Using homemade laundry detergents will void your warranty, too.

Eventually, you will have to replace your washer.

You may have to replace your entire wardrobe like me.

What about Washing Soda and Borax?

I highly recommend keeping these around for laundry. They don’t harm the laundry or your machine.

These are NOT cleaning agents, though. These are chemicals that soften your water.

Most waters have dissolved minerals like calcium and iron present in them. Store-bought detergents will bind to these minerals, making them less effective at cleaning our clothes.

So if you have hard water, use a store-bought detergent and add ½ to 1 cup of a water softener.

How do you know if you have hard water?

Red stains in the bathtub mean that you have iron. Calcium will block small pipes over long periods.

Wellwater or untreated water tends to be hard while treated water tends to be softer.

The only way to know for sure is to get it tested.

Take a small sample from INSIDE your washer, if possible, and use a hardness test kit found in the aquarium aisle of most pet stores. It is easy and takes only a few minutes.

Some pet stores will do it for free if you bring it in. You may also be able to find the kits at hardware and pool stores.

How to Save Money on Laundry Detergent

If you want to save money on laundry detergent without homemade detergent being your solution, here are some of my best tips:

  • Use coupons to get best the deal on detergent. Coupons are always a good way to save money if you have the time! Collect some detergent coupons, stack it on a sale, and you can get a great deal. Buy several bottles and stock up!
  • Buying in bulk is always a great idea! Consider Amazon Subscribe & Save or Target Subscribe to Save. Beware of buying from places like Craigslist or Facebook Market Place. Counterfeit detergent is a thing.
  • Water softeners like mentioned above can make your detergent more powerful if you have dissolved minerals in your water.
  • Buy cheaper detergents and use more than recommended (depending on the soil level of the load) with an extra rinse.
  • Let the load soak. The additional time for the chemical to bind will allow more reactions to take place.

Ditch Your Dryer

If you can, line dry your clothes. This will reduce your energy significantly and save you money on your electric bill.

Bonus Tip: Strip Your Clothes

If you have been using homemade laundry detergent or want to check the efficacy of your laundry routine, strip your clothes.

This is a simple process that will pull all the grime out of the fabric.

How to Strip Clothes

    • Fill your bathtub ⅔ full of HOT water.
    • Add 2 cups strong detergent
    • 1 cup of water softener
    • Stir
    • Add clothes. They should be able to move around freely so don’t overload it.
    • Let sit 4-5 hours. If your clothes have build-up, the water will turn dark.
    • Wash your clothes in the washing machine with NO extra detergent.

Stripping will remove any build-up and make your clothes feel like new!

Have you ever tried making your own homemade laundry detergent? Did you like it?

Ali is a homeschool mom of 5. She is passionate about building wealth, teaching others to build wealth, revolutionizing education, and teaching the next generation of leaders.

Gretchen’s $82 Weekly Shopping Trip and Menu Plan for 5

Aldi

2 pkg Frozen Chicken Breasts – $5.59 each

2 Half & Half – $1.55 each

1 box Cinnamon Crunch Cereal – $1.39

1 Flour – $1.15

1 gallon Milk – $1.69

1 pkg Frozen Potato Puffs – $1.55

1 pkg Frozen Blueberries – $1.79

1 pkg Rice Cakes – $1.99

1 bag Corn Chips – $0.75

2 bags Frozen Corn/Peas – $0.75 each

1 bag Tortillas – $1.35

4 Yogurts – $0.32 each

3 Avocados – $0.49 each

1 lb Ground Beef – $3.39

2 pkg Strawberries – $1.69 each

1 bag Vine Tomatoes – $2.19

2 bags Shredded Cheese – $2.19 each

1 bag Spinach – $1.19

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup – $0.50

1 can Kidney Beans – $0.49

1 can Black Beans – $0.48

1 can Chili Beans – $0.49

1 Pasta Sauce – $0.85

1 can Baked Beans – $1.25

1 can Green Beans – $0.38

1 lb Butter – $2.66

1 MooTubes – $1.55

2.15 lbs Bananas – $0.95

1 pkg Hot Dogs – $0.79

1 BBQ Sauce – $0.85

1 pkg Chocolate Chips – $1.29

1 bag Romaine Lettuce – $2.19

1 bag Baby Carrots – $0.95

2 Cucumbers – $0.49 each

1 bag Baking Potatoes – $2.99

1 Salsa – $0.95

2 pkg Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns – $0.85 each

1 bag Tortilla Chips – $0.89

1 bag Oyster Crackers – $0.79

1 Honey Wheat Bread – $0.95

1 pkg Green Peppers – $2.19

1 pkg English Muffins – $1.15

Total: $77.97

Target

1 Applesauce – $1.99

2 boxes Mac & Cheese – $0.50 each

2 boxes GoGo Squeez Yogurtz – $2 each, used 2 $1/1 Ibotta cash back – $1 each after cash back

Used 10% off entire shopping trip Circle coupon

Total: $4.30

Total for both stores: $82.27

Menu Plan for This Week

Breakfasts

Cereal, Toast, Eggs, Spinach Smoothies, Oatmeal, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (for a morning playdate with friends)

Lunches

Peanut Butter & Jelly Rice Cake Sandwiches x 2, Turkey Sandwiches, Mac & Cheese, Hard Boiled Eggs/Cheese/Fruit, Veggies/Crackers/Yogurt, Leftovers

Dinners

Baked Chicken with Cream of Mushroom Soup, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Peas, Biscuits

Hamburgers, Tater Tots, Steamed Corn, Baked Beans

Soft Chicken Tacos, Homemade Guacamole & Chips

Chili, Corn Chips, Veggies

Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit Salad

Homemade Cheese Pizza, Breadsticks, Tossed Salad

Out to eat

My 10 Goals For This Week

I skipped posting about goal-setting last week… and I realized that I wasn’t as motivated to do certain things like exercise and reading because I hadn’t publicly set those goals and knew I wouldn’t be reporting back to you all about them! It was good to realize that posting these here really does make a big difference for me!

This Week’s Goals

Personal Goals

1. Take 3 walks in our neighborhood.

2. Read 5 chapters of The White Rose Resists. Read 5 chapters of Atomic Habits. Finish listening to Five Days in November. Finish reading Standing Strong.

3. Do pelvic floor exercises at least four times.

4. Do 3 days of Couch to 5K.

5. Get 45,000 steps in.

Home/Family Goals

6. Read 20 pages of A Boy’s War as a family. Read three chapters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the babies and Silas. 

7. Invite friends over.

Work/Blog Goals

8. Do an IG story for a brand (I’ve had this on my calendar for way too long — time to get it done!)

9. Plan and teach a live coaching session for my Blogging Mastermind group.

Word of the Year Goals

10. Have a family movie night.

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

A Peek Into Last Week

If I had looked ahead a few years ago and seen my life right now I probably would have felt pretty overwhelmed by everything I would have seen on my plate: 3 older kids with lots of activities and who love to hang out and talk (which I LOVE!), launching a book, working full time, two babies — one with some extra medical needs, navigating foster care and lots of therapies and appointments, serving in the youth ministry at church, opening up our home for hospitality weekly…

Here’s the thing I’ve seen so clearly: God doesn’t give us grace to carry our future callings. Instead, He gives us grace for today. And that is enough.

My hands are probably the fullest they’ve ever been (both literally and figuratively!). But I can tell you that God has been so incredibly faithful.

Every single day, He shows up and shows Himself strong. He provides energy when I feel weary. He provides encouragement when I feel down. He provides practical help when I can’t figure out how to juggle all the pieces. He multiplies my time when my days are full.

Every day, every hour, I get to see Him working on my behalf. I cannot do this life in my own strength. I would be a frazzled, stressed, disorganized, overworked hot mess. But God… in His strength, I can do all things that He has called me to.

His grace has been abundantly sufficient these past six months. And I can trust and rest that it will continue to be in the future — whatever that holds!

I used the Eat at Home Menu Plan service for our recipes this past week. We’ve used this over the years during busy seasons and it can be a lifesaver… especially if the thought of planning a menu and writing a grocery list is overwhelming! Best of all, the recipes are simple, inexpensive, and almost everything can be purchased at ALDI!

Oh and it’s on sale this week for the lowest price of the year when you use coupon code EASY at checkout. That makes it as low as $1.13/week to have someone do all the leg work for you!

(That’s the best deal that they offer and the coupon code locks in the rate for the life of your subscription!!! See some sample menu plans here.)

Find out more here.

I made all of our dinners on live video this past week. See everything I cooked here.

I’ve been sharing lots of creative ways to save money on groceries on the blog and on Instagram this week. Lots of you have been messaging me and sharing what has been working for you, too!

You all are AMAZING!!! Thank you for donating to babies and toddlers in foster care in TN through the Amazon Baby Drive I did with Tennessee Alliance for Kids!

They sent me this picture of everything they had gotten in so far and my jaw just dropped!!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! From the bottom of my heart!

There are a few more items left on the list, so if you haven’t gotten to contribute yet and you wanted to, here’s the Amazon wishlist.

Be still my heart. I just love these two more than words can express.

Someone asked this past week if I sometimes wished we just had one baby so we could give them more one-on-one attention and love. Honestly, while it is louder, requires more creativity, and I usually have at least one baby in my arms, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

We know beyond any shadow of a doubt that we were supposed to say yes to Champ. And even on the hard and exhausting days, we have zero regrets. He has brought so much joy to our home and our lives and we can’t imagine the last six months without his smile and coos and sweet personality in our home.

Seeing these two together just makes my heart want to burst!

Champ usually sits on Jesse’s lap while we record the podcast each week — and he loves to put on the headphones and talk into the microphone!

Silas had three baseball games this past week — and he got to be the starting pitcher for one of the games, which he was so excited about!!

Kaitlynn had some friends over to make a cell cake for a school project.

I shared this on Instagram and wanted to share it here, too:

Any time I share about our grocery budget and shopping trips, I get messages and comments from people explaining why they can’t save money on groceries and/or why what I’m doing would never work for them.

Some have even expressed pretty strong frustration over the fact that I’m shopping at Kroger and they don’t have a Kroger.

I’ve also heard things like, “I can’t do that because we eat all organic, we live out in the country, we don’t eat meat, we’re gluten-free, we have 5 teenage boys, we have little kids, I’m a single mom, we live in a different country, we only shop at Costco…” and on and on the messages and comments go.

I don’t think most of these people are in anyway trying to be critical, but I feel like it’s important for me to remind people that this is just me chronicling what I’m experimenting with and what’s working for our family. This is not me saying, “You should do this, too!” Or “This is the only way to shop!” Or, “Anyone who doesn’t shop like this is dumb!”

I totally believe what works for me won’t work for everyone, but my hope is that by sharing what is working for us, I’ll inspire *everyone* to think outside the box.

It’s often our tendency to make excuses as to why something won’t work, but excuses won’t get us anywhere.

Instead of saying, “That won’t work because of XYZ,” I gently challenge you to you ask yourself, “Is there something I *could* do or *could* try that might work well?”

If you want to lower your grocery bill or get out of debt or earn more income or change your life in any way, the best thing you can do is to stop making excuses and start looking for ways to take tiny baby steps in the direction you want to go! I’m cheering for you!

Hand lettering by @sweetpreciousletters

Live Shows This Past Week

In case you missed any of my daily live shows on Instagram, you can watch the replays from this past week at the links below:

50 of the Best Freebies You Can Sign Up For Right Now!

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

Do you love FREE stuff? Check out this list of some of the best FREEBIES available right now!

Psst! Be sure to also check out our lists of Birthday Freebies, Free Homeschool Curriculum, Free Educational Programs for Kids, Free Workout Programs, and Free Kids Meals!

best freebies to sign up for right now

Do you love FREEBIES? Did you know there are tons of great freebies you can sign up for online, most of which are ongoing offers?

Many people hesitate to sign up for online freebies, because it’s frustrating trying to figure out which ones are legitimate and worth sharing your personal information.

That’s why I decided to round up this HUGE list of freebies that are 100% legitimate!

{Tip: Even the most legitimate freebies will probably get you lots of extra e-mails in your inbox, so I highly recommend creating a separate e-mail address just for freebie sign-ups. I also recommend never sharing your cell phone number with any company, unless you feel comfortable doing so.}

Here’s a list of 50 of of the best FREEBIES you can sign up for right now (and none of them are scams or spammy):

Free CeraVe Sample

1. Free 2-Month Kindle Unlimited Trial — Through the end of the year, you can sign up for a FREE two-month trial to Kindle Unlimited. This gives you access to over 700,000 ebooks and thousands of audiobooks — all for free!

2. Free 30-Day Audiobooks.com Trial — Sign up for a free one-month trial, and you’ll get three FREE audiobooks to listen to! They have a premium library of books, audiobooks, and podcasts to choose from.

3. Free CeraVe Moisturizing Cream — Fill out the form to receive your sample by mail.

4. Free La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen — Fill out the form to receive your sample by mail.

5. Free IHOP Meals — Sign up to get e-mails from IHOP, and you’ll receive three free meals: one immediately, one on your birthday, and one on your sign-up anniversary.

free Baskin Robbins ice cream

6. Free Scoop of Baskin Robbins Ice Cream — Simply download their mobile app to get a FREE scoop of ice cream!

7. Free Packet of Seeds — Pledge to share some of your harvest with someone in need to sign up for this fun freebie.

8. Free Kids’ Kindle eBook — Just sign up for the free Amazon kids’ newsletter, and you’ll be able to select one of three eBooks to receive for FREE!

9. Free Kindness or Thank You Cards — Either choose the printable version or fill out a form to have printed cards mailed to you.

10. Free Ella’s Kitchen Food Vouchers — Become an Ella’s Friend to get FREE vouchers for Ella’s Kitchen food, plus other free goodies.

free LEGO Life magazine subscription

11. Free Educational Programs for Kids — Check out this BIG list of FREEBIES for kids — games, programs, apps, books, activities, and more!

12. Free NeilMed Sinus Rinse Bottle Kit — Just click on the button to request your freebie, follow the prompts to continue, and fill out the form to have it mailed to you.

13. Free Samples Every Month at PINCHme — Sign up for PINCHme and watch for their Freebie Tuesday once a month! It goes live at Noon EST, and they run out quickly. But if you can catch it in time, you can get several samples each month!

14. Free LEGO Life Magazine Subscription — Sign your child up for a free subscription to LEGO Life Magazine. It’s packed with activities, building tips, comics, and more.

15. Free Workout Programs at Home — If you’re looking for a way to stay fit without paying for an expensive gym membership or program, check out this list of free workout programs you can take advantage of from home!

Best freebies: Panera coffee

16. Free 3-Month Trial to Apple Music — New customers can get a FREE 3-month trial to Apple Music streaming services.

17. Free Month of Unlimited Coffee at Panera — Sign up for Panera’s new coffee subscription to get your first month of unlimited coffee for FREE.

18. Free Casual Wardrobe Basics Builder — If you need some outfit inspiration or ideas, this is such a helpful and fun freebie.

19. Free Grocery Savings Cheat Sheet — This cheat sheet gives you 10 quick ways to cut your grocery bill by $50 this week!

20. Free Tena Sample Pack — Just answer a couple questions and fill out the form.

Free Cinnabon BonBites

21. Free 3-Month Pandora Premium Subscription — New customers can currently get a FREE 3-month Pandora Premium subscription on Groupon.

22. Free Cinnabon BonBites — Join Club Cinnabon and get a coupon for one free order of BonBites.

23. Free Breathe Right Nasal Strips Sample — Trouble with snoring? Just fill out the form to get this one sent to you.

24. Free Peet’s Coffee Beverage — Download the Peet’s Coffee app and sign up for Peetnik Rewards, and you’ll get a free beverage of your choice! You’ll also receive a free beverage on your birthday.

25. Free QuikTrip Drink — Download the app to get a free drink at QuikTrip.

free Redbox DVD

26. Free Redbox DVD Rental — Just download the Redbox app for the first time, make sure you have Redbox notifications turned on, and check back within an hour for this freebie deal.

27. Free Marble Slab Ice Cream — Earn a free $5 reward after you download the app and make one purchase.

28. Dunkin Donuts Coffee — Get a free beverage when you sign up for their rewards program. You’ll also get a freebie on your birthday!

29. Free Truvia Natural Sweetener Sample — You’ll have all kinds of sweeteners to sample! Here’s another! Just fill out the form.

30. Free Eat At Home Challenge — Want to save money and eat healthier? Sign up for this FREE challenge!

best freebies: Free Chili's Chips & Salsa

31. Free Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnut — Download their app, sign up for Krispy Kreme Rewards, and you’ll immediately receive a reward for a free doughnut. You’ll also get a free doughnut on your birthday!

32. Free LEGO Life App Download — Download this popular kids’ app with no in-app purchases.

33. Free Classic Burger at Back Yard Burgers — Sign up for the Back Yard Burgers e-mail club to receive a free back yard classic burger.

34. Free Better Morning Challenge — This FREE 5-day challenge will give you accountability to stick to your goals and be more intentional with your days and schedule.

35. Free Chili’s Chips & Salsa Every Visit — Join My Chili’s Rewards to score free chips & salsa on every visit!

Free Enfamil Gifts

36. Free Similac Formula — Sign up for Similac StrongMoms to get free formula samples and coupons.

37. Free Enfamil Formula — Sign up for Enfamil Family Beginnings to get free formula samples and coupons.

38. Free Ravensburger Online Puzzles — If you love puzzles, you can put together online puzzles with family or friends for FREE! Simply make a user name and join an existing puzzle with others or start a new one. You can’t create a private puzzle group, but just tell your friends which puzzle you are working on and they can join you.

39. Free Panera Bakery Treat — Get a free bakery treat when you sign up for MyPanera Rewards.

40. Free Corner Bakery Cafe Cookie — Get a free cookie when you sign up for the Corner Bakery Cafe e-mail club.

41. Free Homeschool Curriculum — This list is updated every week with all the latest FREE homeschool curriculum & at-home educational resources!

42. Free Ranger Rick Magazine Subscription — Kids can sign up for a FREE digital subscription to Ranger Rick magazine!

43. Free Walmart Baby Box — Just create a baby registry to get a FREE baby box from Walmart!

44. Free Schlotzsky’s Sandwich — Get a free small classic sandwich when you download their rewards app.

45. Free Enfamil Enfagrow Sample — Sign up for a free sample of Enfagrow Toddler Next Step.

Free Audible Books for Kids

46. Free Amazon eBooks — Did you know there is a HUGE list of free eBooks you can get on Amazon each day? Just check out the list, and be sure to browse by category to find exactly what you’re looking for!

47. Free Kids Meals at Restaurants — This list has over 50 different restaurants where kids eat free! And it’s updated regularly.

48. Free 30-Day Trial to Amazon Music Unlimited — This is Amazon’s completely ad-free music streaming service that includes tens of millions of songs and playlists! (After your free 30 days, your plan will automatically renew at the monthly rate of $7.99 – $9.99 per month. If you don’t wish to continue at the full price each month, be sure to cancel before your free trial is up.)

49. Free Target Baby Registry Gift Bag — Just create a baby registry to get a free welcome gift bag from Target valued at over $80!

50. Free Audible Stories — For the foreseeable future, Audible has made many books completely FREE for kids and teens! No Audible subscription is required.

Best Freebies from MoneySavingMom library

Looking for even more FREEBIES?

Sign up for my e-mail list and you’ll get FREE access to the entire MSM Freebie Library! It includes all our best FREEBIES: printables and eBooks for home management, time management, grocery budgeting, meal planning, and much more.