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3 Aug 2010   ·   94
Money Saving Mom

P90X on a Budget: 1/10th of the way through!

So I made it to the beginning of Day 10 of 90 in the P90X Fitness and Nutritional Plan and it feels really wonderful to be a tenth of the way through.

The first four days were really hard. I had trouble adjusting to the 60-90 minute workouts when I’m only used to doing 20-30 minute workouts. And I struggled a great deal with the low-carb diet.

After four days, I was weak, crabby, lethargic and unable to focus — and my husband wisely suggested that I should probably consider moving up to Phase 2 of the diet. Upon further research, I found that since I’m already at the low end of a healthy weight, it was likely the low carb diet that was causing these issues and my body was showing clear signs I needed to move to Phase 2.

Within 24 hours of being on the Phase 2 diet, the change was remarkable. I felt great — more energetic than I have in months! And the feeling hasn’t left!

Suffice it to say, I’m loving this program (especially now that I can eat carbs again!) and am finding the workouts and nutritional plan exhilarating. They are challenging me to push myself out of my comfort zone and I’m seeing marked improvement in my strength levels.

It’s also quite exciting to realize I have not eaten one bite of non-nutritive food for the last nine days. I’ve passed up cheesecake and ice cream sundaes and coffee and chocolate — and lots of other junk food — for nine whole days. And instead of feeling deprived, I feel empowered!

After one grocery shopping trip, I’m pretty confident we’re going to have to raise our grocery budget to continue to eat so many whole foods and fresh produce. It won’t be anything too crazy, but I’m toying with a $60 per week figure right now. I want to continue to challenge myself to be creative and frugal, but I also don’t want to skimp on the grocery budget so much that I’m unable to buy lots of good protein, whole foods and fresh produce.

I’m having fun experimenting in the kitchen and rethinking the way I grocery shop. In addition, I’m brain-storming new ways we can lower our grocery budget while eating whole foods and digging up new recipes and ideas to try. I’ll be blogging more about these over the course of the next three months.

We’re committed to sticking this out for 90 days. After that, we’ll see what habits we want to make permanent. But for now, I’m excited and thankful to be feeling so incredible after months of feeling worn-down and exhausted.

Later on this week, I’ll be sharing my p90X-Style Freezer Cooking Day Plan. Stay tuned!

3 Aug 2010   ·   24
Money Saving Mom

A testimony of the impact of Operation Christmas Child

If you’ve been considering participating in Operation Christmas Child this year, or you already participate, you’ll want to read Oxana’s story of receiving a shoebox herself when she was a young girl.

We have so much compared to so many in this world. And there are so many ways we can give — even on a very tight budget. Start planning ahead now and you can likely generously fill at least a few shoeboxes for very little out of pocket!

2 Aug 2010   ·   73
Money Saving Mom

15 Favorite Preschool and Kindergarten Resources — Part 3

If you missed it, be sure to read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

11. PaperBackSwap — I know I’ve mentioned it over and over again here, but we love PaperBackSwap. We’ve basically built our entire children’s library through books from PBS and Grandparents. So we’ve ended up spending very little out of pocket to do so.

12. Magnet Boards — I don’t know that there’s an official name for these, but we call them “magnet boards” at our house. And they are one of the girl’s all-time favorite things to do! I got some cheap cookie sheets and these Power Magnets and we’ve used them for all sorts of educational activities.

I often give the girls the Magnet Boards and a the magnet sheet from the Letter of the Week Curriculum (see an example below) and let them fill all the magnet holes on their board while I’m reading aloud to them. When they are finished, they can create shapes, letters or whatever else they’d like.

13. Read Alouds — Speaking of read alouds, books make up the core of our homeschooling “curriculum.” I think that there is so much value in reading a wide variety of books to your children. We’ve learned so many new things, explored so many fascinating cultures and time periods and had so many excellent discussions as a result of books we’ve read. You can see some of our favorite picture books here. I’m hoping to do a series on our favorite chapter books in the not-too-distant future.

14. Do-a-Dot Art Markers These markers are so fun. You can use them to create your own pictures, on the downloadable sheets in the Letter of the Week Curriculum or there are also Do-A-Dot Coloring Books available. Just make sure to supervise the 2-year-old with them, unless you want Do-A-Dot Artwork all over the walls (ask me how I know!). These wash off of hands and clothing quite well. Walls, not so much. 🙂

15. ABC Scripture Memory BookI used this for Scripture Memory as a young girl, so I especially enjoyed using it with the girls. We just read through it every day at breakfast for a number of months and the girls memorized the verses by that daily repetition. Plus, Kaitlynn (then 2) picked up on quite a few letters, too.

A Few Words of Encouragement for Young Moms

For those of you who are young moms wanting to add in some educational activities to your day, please do not go buy all the things I’ve listed. These probably won’t all work for you and they certainly won’t work for you if you try to do them all at once. I offer these just as ideas of things which are available; please tailor what you do in your home to what works for you.

If you don’t currently have much structure in your day, I’d first suggest you focus on getting a consistent routine in place. Make your routine simple (maybe even just five or seven things you want to do in the same order every day), write it out and make yourself stick with it for three weeks. After that, you’ll probably find it’s become somewhat of a habit.

Don’t set your expectations too high. If you’ve never had a consistent routine, you’re not going to go from chaos to a regimented schedule in two days. Start small, take babysteps and — most of all — enjoy your children.

In my opinion, it’s much better to spend quality time laughing, talking and playing with your children every day, than to stick to a strict schedule. That’s why I think a flexible routine is more doable when you have young children. You need some breathing room for interruptions, fussy babies, diaper blowouts, kissing owies and seizing teaching opportunities.

If there was one thing I’d say to start with, it would be teaching your children obedience, character and God’s Word. When your children have learned the basics of obedience, not only will you enjoy them more and your life will operate much more smoothly, but you’ll also have a much easier time of being able to teach them academically.

Read aloud from a plethora of good books. Look at the pictures together. Talk about the stories. Stop and listen and answer your children’s questions. It’s not about finishing the book; it’s about investing in your children’s lives.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. I try to ask myself “what will matter in 25 years from now?”and then live my life accordingly.

Take advantage of teaching opportunities. It’s amazing the things you can learn and explore together when you’re willing to stop what you’re doing and seize a teachable moment.

Praise your children liberally. Have you ever stopped to consider how much you praise your child versus how often you correct or criticize? Of course, as parents, it’s our role to guide and nurture our children, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also be their biggest cheerleader!

If your child is taking initiative, putting forth effort, or showing any signs of positive behavior, praise them. One thing I try to do often is to praise the girls in front of Jesse. You can just see them beam with such joy when I say, “Jesse, I have a good report to tell you about so-and-so.”

Realize that no mom — however put together she might look — is anywhere near perfect. Stop comparing. Stop feeling guilty. Focus on what works for your family and be okay with the fact that you aren’t gifted in all areas.

I wish I could sew and decorate and scrapbook and cook gourmet dinners. I used to feel really guilty when I’d read about these incredible crafts and hands-on activities other moms were doing with their youngsters.

But you know what? I’ve had to accept that I’m just not gifted when it comes to arts and crafts. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I love my children any less if we’re not making these elaborate paper mache castles. They just love spending time with me — even if we’re just coloring and cutting, making silly faces or mixing up pancakes.

Finally, don’t give up. Being a mom is hard, hard work. If you’re anything like me, you have days when you feel like you just can’t do it anymore. And I’ve come to learn that I can’t, in and of my own strength. But “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

If you’re a Christian, I strongly encourage you to make your relationship with the Lord your number one priority. For me, I’ve found that getting up early and reading my Bible and a good devotional, writing in my journal and praying is extremely beneficial in laying the foundation for the day. That time in God’s Word and prayer fills up my heart and gives me strength and courage to face whatever the day holds.

If you’re too busy for God, you’re just plain too busy. Make time for the most important things. You won’t regret it.

What are some of your family’s favorite preschool and kindergarten resources? I’d love to hear!

2 Aug 2010   ·   26
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tip: Von’s Peach Sale is perfect for canning

Brandy from The Prudent Homemaker emailed this tip:

Vons has yellow peaches on sale for $0.50 a pound. The sale runs Sunday, August 1st, through August 7th, 2010. These are probably freestone but you will need to check (have the produce person cut one open for you; if the flesh comes away easily from the pit, it’s a freestone peach. If the flesh clings to the pit, it’s a cling peach; good for fresh eating but not for canning).

Last year I bought and canned 324 pounds of these peaches and they were wonderful.

If you want them to order them for you, go early in the week and ask them to order as many boxes as you will need. Most stores get shipments in on Tuesdays and Fridays. Stores typically only keep a few boxes at a time, but you can order as many boxes as you will need.

This is a great way to get peaches in season at the lowest price of the year to enjoy all year long!

31 Jul 2010   ·   38
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: Five bottles of laundry detergent for $0.99 each!

I’m incredibly late in getting this posted today. I was gone most of the day and didn’t have a chance to sit down and type up what we purchased at the grocery store this week.

My biggest score was the five bottles of Era Laundry Detergent I got for $0.99 each. A local store was running their Double Dollar coupon promotion and had these priced at $2.99. Plus, there was a $1/1 coupon available — which made them only $0.99 after the doubled coupon.

I really wanted to hit this sale as we only had about a week’s worth of laundry detergent left, but I didn’t need anything else in the Double Dollar promotion and didn’t want to make a special trip just for laundry detergent (especially since you can only use three of the same coupons per transaction — so it’s really not worth a ten minute drive there and back to get three bottles of laundry detergent). Well, a friend of mine didn’t know that I was really wishing I could get in on this deal, but she happened to pick up five bottles and then asked me if I wanted them since they are very well-stocked-up on laundry detergent.

Isn’t that cool? It just felt like a special blessing from God to me. And now we’re stocked up on laundry detergent for quite some time!

Amy from Amy’s Finer Things also stopped by because she was in town and brought me my order from the Bulk Food Store. Long story short, Laura from Heavenly Homemakers had picked it up for me and I was supposed to pick it up when I met up with she and Amy when she was in Kansas two months ago. But I didn’t get to meet up with them at the last minute so Amy kept it and promised to get it to me whenever she made the trek from Tiny Town to the city.

So now I’m stocked up on unbleached flour and turbinado — and just in time for Freezer Cooking Day this next week!

Amy also brought me a bottle of Laura’s Homemade Vanilla. I tell you what, I learn so much from the blogosphere! I never would have considered the possibility of making my own vanilla. But Laura’s inspired me and I just might try it once I run out of hers.

I also bought three dozen farm-fresh eggs from my brother and Jesse made a quick trip to the store to get 2 gallons of milk, 2 gallons of chocolate milk, 2 tubs of cottage cheese and a big bag of chicken (um, can you tell we’ve changed our diets a little? Stay tuned for Monday’s update on how P90X on a Budget is going!). We ended up not needing to get any produce because I used what we already had on hand.

After everything was said and done, we came in a little under $40 in grocery expenditures this week.

____________________

Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and leave your link below. Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week. In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted. Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.

31 Jul 2010   ·   34
Money Saving Mom

Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: A blessing in disguise

If you’ve missed the first posts in this series, read them here.

While in our first year of having the custom wedding business, we had our first baby. Needless to say, my life was forever changed – in a wonderful way. At the same time, though, I found it was hard to juggle the demands of a fussy newborn, with coordinating the details of the wedding business.

While I was pregnant and had a lot of extra time on my hands, I had experimented with various additional streams of income to add to our current website. One of those was selling books. I started off with books on preparing for marriage and when I saw that there was a market, I kept expanding to other good books and resources our family has appreciated.

I also was getting the itch to write, so I wrote a small booklet on some small ideas girls and teens could do to earn money from home. We had very little extra business money to work with, so I had a friend edit it and bartered with another friend for the cover design. In order to come up with enough money to pay for a tiny print run of the books, I ran a pre-publication special with my current email list.

Much to my surprise, I sold 100 booklets during the pre-publication special and had enough to pay for a print run of 200. It seems like such a microscopic number, but for me, it was huge.

A few weeks after I released the ebook, a small family business contacted me and asked if I’d sell them ebook rights to my book for $100. I didn’t really even know what an ebook was, let alone know how to turn my book into one, but $100 was a big number at that point, so my husband and I felt it would be a good move. The friend who designed the booklet layout kindly availed herself to turn the book into an ebook for me for $25.

So, I sold the rights to the ebook to this other company (by selling the rights, I gave them permission to sell an unlimited number of ebooks through their site for whatever price they chose) and I entered this whole new world of ebooks. I’d never given any thought to the possibility of someone paying you for a download, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to offer the ebook on my site. I was completely surprised to discover there is quite a big market for ebooks — especially simple how-to ebooks — and I started concocting other future ebook ideas.

While all this was going on, the wedding business was continuing to demand a lot of my time and it was producing little income. And we were still just barely limping by. We were beginning to see more profit from our business — but that was mainly from the sale of books.

I started to wonder if maybe I should discontinue the wedding business and just focus on selling books, since that’s what seemed to be working. But it was really embarrassing to me to think of having to admit the wedding business hadn’t worked out. I wasn’t a quitter like that and I figured there had to be a way to make it work.

Well, guess what? The next two dress projects turned out to be disasters. The customers were very upset with the work and it was weeks of pulling my hair out and trying to figure out how to fix the issues and make the customers satisfied. But it was to no avail.

My husband and I really felt that God used these difficult situations to make me willing to close down Covenant Wedding Source. It was hard and humbling to do, but it was the best thing for our family and my sanity. And I also needed to focus the time I did have on things which would be profitable.

For months, I struggled with feeling like a failure over the fact that the business didn’t work out. Now that I look back, though, I realize just what a blessing in disguise this was. Not only did I learn such valuable lessons through failure, but I also go this crazy idea to start a blog. Little did I know what those feeble blogging attempts would lead to!

But first, I had a lot more lessons to learn and experience to gain.

…To be continued next Friday

31 Jul 2010   ·   16
Money Saving Mom

ABC News: How to Work From Home

I loved this video and article from ABC News on How To Work From Home. And I was especially excited to see them feature my friend, SarahMae, from Like a Warm Cup of Coffee (whom I get to meet at Relevant in October!).

While these ideas might not work for you or your situation, they very well might serve as inspiration for something you can do. I truly believe — especially with the advent of the internet — that anyone can work from home successfully if you’re willing to be creative, work very hard and persevere.

Looking for some ideas and help in getting started earning money from home? Check out my Income-Earning Ideas page.

30 Jul 2010   ·   18
Money Saving Mom

We Paid Cash! :: We bought a motorhome

We paid cash!

Testimonial from Leslie

We had been looking for over a year for a motorhome for our family. Our kids are 10, 7, and 5 and we thought it was the perfect time to be “making memories” with them. We had been saving up and knew we wanted to pay cash, so we couldn’t get something over our budgeted amount.

My father-in-law kept telling us to get something nicer and we could just write off the interest as a second home. But, in order to write off interest, you have to pay interest, which we weren’t going to do!

We paid cash for our motorhome!We finally found an older motorhome that met all our requirements and was less than what we had saved — score! It isn’t pretty but it is so much fun.

I happened to win a gift certificate recently from Keeper of the Home for $100 of material from Marie Madeline Studio. Perfect timing and we are so thankful. I am ordering material to make all new curtains and pillows to make our motorhome more our own.

I forgot my camera on our first outing so I used my phone to take some. Here are our kids, sitting around the fire, on a 95° day — making memories! I blogged about that first trip here.

As for how we saved the money, first off, we live below our means. That was hard when DH was laid off for 7 months and ended up taking a job making 1/2 of what he was making previously. But God always provided. I have a small photography business that was able to keep us afloat and we actually doubled our savings during those months that he was out of work.

We use cash, shop sales, don’t have cable or even a media package on our cell phone (this shocks people the most, I think). Our cars are older but paid off and we are just normally pretty frugal people.

Leslie has been married to her best friend for 13 years and they have three great kids, ages 10, 7, and 5. They are just about to start their 4th year of homeschooling and she has also owned her own photography business since October 2006. She loves the Lord, her family, and truly loves her life. She is very blessed and tries to not forget it as she is breaking up the umpteenth sibling fight of the day. 😉

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

29 Jul 2010   ·   41
Money Saving Mom

We Paid Cash! :: A New-to-Us Car

We paid cash!Testimonial from Christina

Last month my husband and I bought a car in cold hard cash. As a young couple, it was our first big purchase and a very stressful one.

The Background

For the holidays last year we decided to skip the gifts and pay off all the random credit cards that we had been ignoring. Once we were debt-free, my husband and I started to save money as our New Year’s Resolution.

We tracked every penny we spent in a nice little excel spread sheet. Eventually our drive-thru breakfast and Chinese take-out habits had stopped and we ate a lot of pasta dinners.

Our Goal

In May he started a new job with a long commute. His beat-up car was getting the job done but then the summer heat really kicked in and his lack of air conditioning made the 45-minute drive on black leather seats unbearable.

At this point, we had about $10,000 saved. After much research, we decided the best thing for us was to buy used, but we didn’t want to spend all of our savings in one place. We agreed on of a budget of $6,000 total off the lot, and so the hunt began…

We paid cash for our car!Our Purchase

After about two dozen used car lots, half a dozen pushy salesmen and one potential buy (the car was mysteriously “sold” when we asked for the car facts), we found her in one of those free used car magazines at our grocery store.

The next day we went to take a look, even though the dealership was closed for Memorial Day weekend. Our little gem was in a packed lot outside of an auto body shop and boy, she was a beauty. A blue 2002 Volkswagen Jetta with 70,000 miles.  Her price tag: $6,000.

After a week of bargaining, we got her for $6,000 including taxes, fees and we even got them to throw in a 90-day warranty.

What We Gained

I was grateful we found her. I was starting to get discouraged and our 6 grand seemed like pennies in the overwhelming world of car shopping. But we stood our ground, hit the pavement and didn’t let anyone talk us into anything we weren’t comfortable with.

Christina, 23, and Michael, 25, live in New Jersey, have been married for two years and are expecting their first child in September.

29 Jul 2010   ·   353
Money Saving Mom

Ask the Readers: Is organic milk worth the extra price tag?

I have a question that maybe your readers could answer: Is organic milk worth the price?

There is such a huge difference in price between conventional and organic milk and I wonder if there is any difference in quality. I recently read somewhere that there is no difference and that standard milk does not contain any hormones.

Buying organic milk takes up the biggest part of our grocery budget and it would be wonderful if it turns out that conventional milk is the same! -Sheri

Please note: I thought this would make for an interesting discussion, so have at it. However, as always, keep your comments cordial. If you can disagree in a friendly manner, go for it. But if you leave a comment screaming at someone that if they don’t purchase raw grass-fed milk from a goat in their backyard they are going to fall over dead tomorrow, you’re likely going to have your comment deleted. 🙂

28 Jul 2010   ·   16
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tip: Back-to-School Shopping

Holle emailed in this helpful reminder for those of you who are doing lots of back-to-school shopping:

Just wanted to share how I’ve gotten great deals at back-to-school time even when it appears the items are sold out.

Usually all the back-to-school deals are in a central location in the store. So, if you’re looking for the $0.15 crayons, you go to the back-to-school department first. But, those $0.15 crayons will also be in the usual crayon location. So when the bin is empty in the back-to-school department, go to the art section and pick up a couple boxes. When I’ve done this, the item’s usual location hasn’t usually been marked with the back-to-school sale price, but it rings up at the sale price.

27 Jul 2010   ·   215
Money Saving Mom

Q&A Tuesday: Which Drug Store Has the Best Deals?

I live pretty equidistantly from all the big three drugstores– CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid. I do most of my drugstore shopping at CVS, since it happens to share a parking lot with my local Kroger and saves a few precious moments of travel time.

However, I’ve begun to think more seriously about which chain in fact has some of the best deals or the best rewards system. I can think of pros/cons of all three chains, but what does everyone else think? Sincerely, Ellen

Great question and I’m fascinated to hear input from everyone on this!

I personally can’t give a very educated answer since I’ve never stepped foot in a Rite Aid store before — we’ve always lived hundreds of miles away from them!

When we lived in Topeka and Kansas City and had both a CVS and Walgreens, I chose CVS over Walgreens nine times out of ten because I found that I paid much less money out of pocket on the CVS deals. I only went to Walgreens when the deals were smoking hot — which happened to be about once every 6-8 weeks at that time.

Now, we live in a town with no drug stores but Walgreens (sniff!). I only shop there occasionally because they usually aren’t very coupon-friendly and I’ve often found it to be more hassle than it’s worth. But if I have extra time or there’s a can’t-miss deal, I still find it worth it sometimes.

I think which drugstore has the best deals will depend somewhat upon the area you live in and what kinds of items you routinely buy. Some stores are notorious for being out-of-stock of the weekly deals. Some stores, like our Walgreens, aren’t coupon-friendly. These types of factors will play into which drug store has the best deals for you.

So if you have easy access to all three drug stores, I’d suggest trying out each of them (preferably one at a time) for a few months. At the end of this experiment, decide which drugstore(s) seem a good fit for you.

What about you? Do you prefer CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid? Why? I’d love to hear!

26 Jul 2010   ·   34
Money Saving Mom

15 Favorite Preschool and Kindergarten Resources — Part 2

If you missed it, be sure to read Part 1 here.

6. BOB Books – I love these beginning readers – and so do the girls! Some early reading books can be frustrating, but not the BOB books. They introduce new phonetic sounds so engagingly and at a pace that wasn’t overwhelming so Kathrynne rarely even noticed she was adding a new concept.

7. Homeschool Share – This free website has tons of great printables, educational resources and lapbooks. When planning our homeschool for the week, I often search for extra printables or fun activities we can supplement with which go along with our unit themes and have found all sorts of free goodies on this site.

8. Signing Time DVDs – Hands down, these are the one educational DVDs we’ve pretty much worn to a pulp. We got one as a demo a long time ago and enjoyed it so much that we asked Grandma and Grandpa if they’d buy the set for the girls for Christmas. Not only do I believe it is valuable to introduce your children to the deaf culture, but we’ve found that our children’s vocabulary has increased by leaps and bounds as a result of teaching them ASL.

If you have a baby, I’d also highly recommend Baby Signing Time. Being able to communicate with your child at a young age makes life so much easier!

9. Everyday News Network – If your youngsters haven’t been introduced to the Everyday News Network, they’ve been missing out. Our girls love to watch the free online episodes and have picked up lots of great educational tidbits and fun ideas from ENN.

10. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name — Read my review of this book here.

The final installment of this series is coming next Monday.

26 Jul 2010   ·   166

P90X On a Budget: Phase One Downloadable Menu Plan

If you follow the Money Saving Mom® Facebook Page, you know that I recently started the P90X Extreme Home Fitness Workout Program.

I’ve been feeling like I really need to intensify my workout routine and, after some research, my husband and I felt like P90X would be a good program for me to do. And everyone I spoke to gave it rave reviews. So, with my husband’s encouragement, I decided to go for it.

How We’re Doing P90X on a Budget

When I’ve told people that I’m starting this program, often the first question I get is: Isn’t that going to cost an arm and a leg? Well, it could, but I don’t think it necessarily has to.

The program is a little on the pricey side, but I was able to save up my Swagbucks and purchase it with Amazon gift cards I’ve earned. (I’ve heard you can snag copies on Craigslist or even from your library, if you’re looking to get a copy inexpensively.) So far, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with it.

My biggest challenge, aside from figuring out when I was going to fit a longer workout routine into my day (!), was determining how to pull off the nutritional program without breaking the bank. I really want to give this program 100% — which means I need to eat the P90X diet — but I also didn’t want to triple our grocery budget to do so!

After reading through all the nutritional material and doing further research online, I came up with a menu plan for the first thirty days (Phase 1) which follows the nutritional plan to a tee, but which I believe we can pull off without spending any more than $60 per week at the grocery store. Continuing our usual shopping of loss leaders, using coupons, getting most of our household and hygiene products for pennies on the dollar and shopping at Aldi will help to facilitate this.

Download the Menu Plan

If you’re interested in seeing the menu plan I came up with, you can download it here. The children are eating a similar diet, but I’m throwing in extra fruits and veggies and carbs for them. And since the exercise plan is only six days per week, I planned the menu accordingly. I’m taking Sundays off and will eat similar to the plan, but give myself a little breathing room and not adhere to it so strictly.

The menu plan is very quick and easy — and I’m sure some of you might find it way too simple and boring. 🙂 But I knew that if I planned meals which required hours of work, though and effort, I’d be setting myself up for failure. My goal is to do all food prep for the entire day in less than one hour.

I also incorporated our weekly dinner out into the plan as well as a once-a-week treat of a Vivanno smoothie from Starbucks. If you wanted to follow a similar menu but reduce the costs, you could substitute these items for homemade foods.

We’re buying the protein powder and protein bars from Amazon using Swagbucks, so we’d probably have to tack on another $15 to $20 per week for those if we didn’t have the option of using Swagbucks. The protein powder and protein bars we’re using are comparable to the ones offered from P90X, but they are significantly less expensive. I’m drinking chocolate milk for the recovery drink right now, as that is also less expensive and is a good recovery drink, from the research I’ve done.

So, that’s the plan right now. I’m planning to sticking with this menu for the first thirty days and then will redo the menu when I move into Phase 2. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

And stay tuned on Saturday for a full report of my grocery shopping this week and how much we ended up spending.

If you’ve done P90X before, I’d love to hear about your experiences and any tips or suggestions you have for me!