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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

Brigette’s $98 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!


1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.19

1 gallon Milk – $1.19

1 32-oz carton Half and Half – $1.55

1 16-oz carton Heavy Whipping Cream – $1.55

1/2 gallon Orange Juice – $1.59

1 16-oz pkg Deli Meat – $2.29

1 pkg Turkey Bacon – $1.89

2 cans Chicken Breast – $3.98

1 8-oz pkg Sliced Cheese – $1.33

1 can Parmesan Cheese – $1.99

1 pkg Goat Cheese Crumbles – $1.79

1 Watermelon – $2.89

2 pkgs Zucchini – $4.18

2 cartons Strawberries – $2.58

1 bag Spinach – $0.99

1 pkg Romaine Hearts – $2.15

1 Cauliflower – $1.99

1 large carton Organic Spring Mix – $3.19

1 bag Mini Cucumbers – $1.99

1 bunch Bananas – $0.74

1 pkg Broccoli Crowns – $2.22

1 bar Green Grapes ($0.99/lb) – $2.43

1 jar Organic Salsa – $1.94

1 32-oz carton Egg Whites – $2.95

1 bag Gluten-Free Pretzels – $1.85

1 canister Black Pepper – $1.49

1 large box Corn Flakes – $0.99

1 large box Rice Squares – $1.19

1 16-oz bag Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – $2.49

1 pkg String Cheese – $1.99

5 individual cartons Greek Yogurts – $2.95

2 dozen Eggs – $1.12 (great price, but limit 2)

1 pkg Hamburger Buns – $0.65

Total: $65.30

Harris Teeter

I also made a quick stop at Harris Teeter on my way home from Aldi…

2 pkgs Rice Cakes – $4.00 (Aldi has been out of rice cakes for 3 weeks now!)

5 pkgs Steamable Frozen Broccoli/Cauliflower – $6.45 (Aldi has also been out of frozen vegetables for weeks)

1 pkg frozen Okra – $1.69

2 pkgs Green Giant Cauliflower Rice – $4.58 (really horrible price, but Aldi has been out for forever, and I miss cauliflower rice!!)

1 HUGE pkg fresh Pork Butt (on sale $0.99/lb, plus reduced) – $16.23 (I divided this into 4 large chunks and froze them individually)

Total: $32.95

Weekly Grocery Total: $98.25

Weekly Menu Plan

(We’ll be out of town 2 days this week, so I didn’t plan meals for the days we will be gone)


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

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


Pretzels and Peanut Butter, Cheese Sticks, Mini Cucumbers, Strawberries

Deli Meat/Cheese Sandwiches, Grapes, Carrots x 2

Leftovers x 2


Homemade Cheese Pizza, Tossed Salad

Shredded Pork Sandwiches, Steamed Broccoli/Cauliflower, Fried Potatoes

Chicken Gravy over Rice, Roasted Parmesan Zucchini

Pancakes, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs

Build-Your-Burrito (homemade tortillas, shredded lettuce, salsa, black olives, shredded cheese, seasoned ground venison), Steamed Broccoli/Cauliflower, Watermelon

Earn Gift Cards with Shopkick + FREE $5 Gift Card!!

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

If you’re looking for honest Shopkick reviews, this is your go-to post on all things Shopkick! And be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a RARE Shopkick promo code to get a FREE $5 gift card of your choice!

{Looking for other ways to earn gift cards? Check out our list of The Best Legitimate Paid Online Surveys!}

Earn gift cards with the Shopkick app

My Honest Shopkick Review

If you’ve been really curious about Shopkick but you’re not sure how to get started, this post is for you!

The Shopkick app can be a little bit overwhelming to navigate when you first get started, so in this post I want to walk you step-by-step through everything you need to know to get started!

What is Shopkick?

Shopkick is an app that you can download to your mobile device and use to earn gift cards.

And the best part of Shopkick? You don’t even have to buy anything to earn gift cards!!

All you have to do is walk into stores and scan products (if you want to) — and it can be done when you’re already out and about running errands and doing your shopping.

Is Shopkick Legitimate?

Yes, Shopkick is 100% legitimate. I’ve been using Shopkick for a couple of years now and love it!

And many readers have commented in the past with positive Shopkick reviews, too:

Shopkick is great! I’ve gotten lots of $50 Walmart gift cards which I then use for Ibotta! I’ve made over $300!” – Suki

I LOVE Shopkick! I like saving points for Target gift cards, then use them towards diapers/wipes in conjunction with their baby sales.” -Heather

I really like the ShopKick app. I trade in my points for Starbucks cards.” -Victoria

I have earned close to $500 in gift cards and cash. You can earn kicks and get a PayPal gift card which you can transfer to your bank account if you need cash.” – Ramona

See more reviews here and here.

If you’re looking for a legitimate way to earn some extra gift cards without much extra effort, Shopkick is a really great app to try.

Earn Kicks in Shopkick

How Does Shopkick Work?

To get started with Shopkick, you simply download the app, turn on Bluetooth, and look under the “Earn” tab to see what kind of kicks are available at stores near you!

{Psst! Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post and use the Shopkick promo code to get a bonus $5 gift card when you first sign up!}

If you look in the photo above, you can see the three different symbols that represent the three different ways to earn: walk-in, scanning, or kick bates.

Many stores will give you “kicks” just for walking in! {Hint: Sometimes you don’t even have to walk all the way in. You can just walk by the store and you’ll earn your walk-in kicks!}

You can also earn kicks for scanning product barcodes — no purchase necessary! There are other ways to earn, such as purchasing products that offer “kick bates,” but I don’t bother with linking up my debit card to the account.

So that you don’t waste a lot of extra time, I recommend that you only Shopkick at stores that you’re already planning on shopping at or that you’re nearby when you have a few extra minutes to spare.

Shopkick Promo Code for FREE gift card

How Do I Redeem Kicks on Shopkick for Gift Cards?

It’s super easy to redeem your kicks for rewards in the Shopkick app. Just select which reward you want to try to earn kicks towards, and the app will let you know when it’s time to cash in! It’s SO simple.

And there are some great rewards to choose from, including Amazon, Starbucks, TJMaxx, Target, Walmart, Old Navy, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Barnes & Noble, and more!

When you’ve earned enough kicks to redeem for a reward, here’s what to do:

  1. Go to the “kicks center” in your app by clicking on your number of kicks at the top center of your screen.
  2. Click on the image of the gift card you’ve chosen as your reward.
  3. Click on “redeem kicks” at the bottom of the screen.
  4. (Or you can choose to “change goal” if you’d like to keep earning towards a higher valued gift card.)

You can find all of your rewards under the “my rewards” tab in the kicks center! When you’re ready to use one, just have the cashier scan the barcode of the gift card right from your Shopkick app!

Download the Shopkick app to earn gift cards

How Much Can You Realistically Earn With Shopkick?

Here’s the cool thing! By simply walking into stores and scanning products, you can easily earn at least one $5 gift card per week!

Shopkick is one of the quickest and easiest ways to earn gift cards of just about any app I’ve tried.

And you could choose to spend your smaller gift cards on splurges as you receive them OR save them up throughout the year to stretch your Christmas budget! (If you earn $5 per week, you’ll have almost $250 to use for Christmas gifts when December rolls around!)

And honestly? You can definitely earn more than that, but I like to keep it simple and not waste extra time. I only use Shopkick when I’m already out and about, shopping in a particular store, or have some extra time to kill. I never go out of my way to get kicks!

{And I’ve heard SO many Shopkick reviews from readers who report these similar earnings!}

Pro Tip: Walk-ins and scans are the most prevalent and highest in value on the weekends. And you can even get higher value bonus kicks on holiday weekends!

Shopkick Promo Code

Shopkick Promo Code: FREE $5 Gift Card

Interested in signing up for Shopkick after reading this review? Great news! You can currently get a FREE $5 gift card when you sign up! Here’s how:

  1. Go here to sign up.
  2. Download the app.
  3. During sign-up, use Shopkick promo code MONEYSAVINGMOM.
  4. Go to any store in the Shopkick app and scan ONE product in-store!
  5. You’ll automatically be credited a bonus 1250 kicks — which is enough to redeem for any $5 gift card!

That’s it!! And you can choose from lots of different $5 gift cards, including Walmart, Target, Amazon, Starbucks, iTunes, and TONS more!

Sign up here with Shopkick to get started.

What’s your experience with Shopkick? Leave your Shopkick reviews in the comments! I’d love to hear!

Our Family’s Top Five Favorite Games

Board games and card games can be such a great way to have some frugal fun! Best of all, once you’ve invested in a game, you can play it over and over and over again — without ever spending another dime!

In this week’s episode of the podcast, Jesse and I share our family’s top five favorite games. We had a very hard time narrowing the list down to just five, but we did it (well, we did mention a few other favorites at the end, because we just couldn’t help ourselves!)

The games we picked are ones we have played again and again and again. They are great for group games and most can be played with 4-6+ people.

In this episode, we also talk about Jesse’s 23&Me DNA test results (and why I don’t want to take the test!), a book recommendation from a reader, a video that had me smiling, and how Jesse is getting free coffee every day.

In This Episode: 

[00:33] Who’s ready to chat about our favorite games?

[01:15] Panera’s coffee is once again saving Jesse’s life. Listen in to find out how to get it FREE all summer!

[04:00] He also got his 23andMe results back and they were, um, interesting.

[07:35] What’s saving my life? Another YouTube video!

[09:20] Schindler’s List is also a book and it was recommended to us by one of our amazing listeners. 

[13:08] Who’s ready to talk about games?

[13:39] First up, Dutch Blitz, the card game — probably at the top of our list.

[15:07] Next is Double Ditto, a game my parents introduced us to.

[16:14] Another one is Ticket to Ride… which is Jesse and the kids’ favorite.

[18:36] I love Mad Gab — especially when played with a group.

[20:15] Last but certainly not least is Phase 10, a game we played a lot in our early marriage.

[22:06] A few more games that didn’t make our top 5 list.

[26:34] What are your favorite games?

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.