Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Find out why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen.

Why You Need a Grocery Freeze

Do you feel like your grocery budget is out of control? If you are spending hundreds each month on groceries and still having to run out weekly for ingredients then something has to change. It can be hard to get your spending on track and reign in your food budget. In the post Creating Your Future: January 2017 Goals I mentioned that this month we are doing a grocery freeze this month. It is a huge part of my finance goals because of how much money it saves my family. Keep reading to find out what it is and why you need a grocery freeze to get your budget under control.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Find out why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen.

What is a Grocery Freeze?

A grocery freeze is a specialized no-spend challenge. For an entire month you don’t spend one penny on food of any kind. It helps you reset your grocery budget and also prevents food waste. When I do it, I don’t spend any money at all on food. I don’t buy coffees, slip through a drive-thru, and no popping by the store for milk. If you want to adjust it, you can make exceptions for basics like milk, eggs, and bread. The perk of not allowing exceptions is that it forces you to get creative with your meals and, in some cases, learn alternative ways to prepare them.

Find out how to get your food budget under control with a grocery freeze! #budget #save Click To Tweet

Why Do You Need a Grocery Freeze?

I don’t quite know how it happens but we always end up with things in our pantry and freezer that keep getting shoved aside each month. Canned goods sit unused and vegetables in steam packs never get eaten. A grocery freeze is the way to fix that. It forces you to use up those lonely items because you simply don’t have anything else. It can also force you to eat more vegetables is you run out of meat to prepare. (I admit that in all my years of doing grocery freezes, I have only run out of meat once.)

Grocery Freeze Steps

Now that you know why you need a grocery freeze, it’s time to get started. These easy steps will walk you through the basics. It may seem intuitive but without preparation you can stumble (or give up) when you hit road blocks. I want you to be successful reigning in your grocery budget.

Step 1

Pick you month. Don’t pick a month too far away. The closer the date is the better. That will keep you from padding your pantry with extra items before the freeze.

Step 2

Start on the first of the month and create an inventory of everything in your freezer, fridge, and pantry. If you need help, I’ve got tips and a free printable for your at You Can’t Meal Plan without Knowing What You Have.

Step 3

Take a look at your list and come up with a meal plan.

Step 4

Make and freeze the meals you can in batches. If it’s not easy on you then you will be more likely to give up as the month goes on.

 

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Find out why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen.

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Now you know why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen. Clean out your inventory and stop wasting food (and money) each month. I like to do these twice a year. Doing one in January sets the tone for my grocery budget the rest of the year. A second grocery freeze during the summer resets my pantry/freezer before the new school year. Come back next week for Grocery Freeze Tips to be successful and stretch your groceries.

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mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

You Can’t Meal Plan without Knowing What You Have

Is meal planning on your list of resolutions? If not, it should be. Meal planning saves you time, save you money, and saves your sanity on busy weeknights. It can be tempting to just jump in and pick out 7 recipes for the week, write them down in your planner, and call it a day. Unfortunately if you do it that way you will never be successful. You will go to make one of your meals, realize you are all out of the milk you need to make it, and promptly call the pizza man. You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. Fix that with this pantry and freezer… Click To Tweet

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Create Your Inventory

 

Step 1

Print out your pantry and freezer inventory.

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Step 2

Write down what you have in your pantry and freezer in the itemized areas on the sheets.

Tips:

  • Remember to include your quantities in the square provided when filling out your inventories.
  • I like to write down the number I currently have in the first box then mark it out and update it as ingredients get used. (See picture above for reference.)

Step 3

Decide on some freezer meals that you can make. Prepare those meals and add them to the “meal” section on your freezer inventory sheet.

Tips:

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Meal Planning Tips

Now that you know exactly what ingredients and meals you have, you are ready to start meal planning. There are many different ways to do this so I’ll share specifics in another post. For now, I want to share some extra tips that make meal planning easier for my family.

Breakfast and Lunch

Don’t forget about breakfasts and lunches when meal planning. Even if you don’t typically eat these meals at home they will affect your meal plan. For instance, if you don’t pack a lunch to work each day then you will need to make a plan for your leftovers. This can be as easy as planning a leftovers night for one of your dinners. You can also incorporate leftovers into a brand new meal later in the week.

Group Meal Items Together

There is nothing more frustrating than going to make a planned dinner and finding that someone in your family has eaten one of the ingredients. Prevent this by grouping meal items together in a labeled basket in your pantry. For example, if you need rice noodles, coconut milk, and peanuts for Tuesday’s dinner place them all together in a small basket labeled “Tuesday”. Next, simply let your family know that items in the labeled baskets are off-limits for snacking.

Get Creative

Instead of running out to purchase an item you’re missing, get creative. See if something else you have on hand will work as a substitute. Here is a pin with common ingredient substitutes to help you out. Also, don’t forget that most veggies can be swapped for any other with only a small change in flavor. Most proteins can also be switched (or ommitted altogether).  I substitue ground turkey for ground beef all of the time.

Pre-Portion Leftovers

I am a firm believer that the easier you make leftovers to eat the higher the probability that they will. Instead of dumping leftovers into large containers after dinner, pre-portion them into smaller containers. When you or your family members need a quick, single-serving meal these pre-portioned containers can be heated up. This will also make lunches a breeze whether you eat at home or pack them for work.

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Now that you have your pantry/freezer inventory you are ready to save money and time with meal planning. Don’t forget to keep updating your inventory as you use items and meals. This will help you save money by keeping items from going to waste as well as keep you from eating out due to convenience. Before you go, tell me, what is the biggest money-waster for your family when it comes to food? Let me know in the comments!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Don't go into debt for Black Friday because you love a bargain. Find out how to actually save money on Black Friday!

How to Actually Save Money on Black Friday

In case you didn’t know, I am an avid Black Friday shopper. Over the years I have utilized every way to save on that day from shopping online to camping out in the snow at Target. It is a fun and time-honored tradition for me. Just because I love a bargain doesn’t mean I overspend and put us in debt for this deal-mania, though. Instead, I have set rules in place that I follow every season. Now I want to share how to actually save money on Black Friday with you as well as hook you up with some free moolah to shop with!

Don't go into debt for Black Friday because you love a bargain. Find out how to actually save money on Black Friday!

Start Now

Don’t think that you are forced to spend Thanksgiving Day planning for a successful Black Friday haul. Many major stores “leak” their ads early on purpose. Take advantage of this. My favorite database for this is Brad’s Black Friday. He and his team have been doing this for years. They know how to verify leaked ads and can spot a fake from a mile away. If you are relying on Black Friday deals to stay on budget this year then start planning now.

Do Your Research

When you see a deal for an item on your Christmas list make sure that you know it is a good deal. Companies pay people a lot of money to get you to part with your hard-earned cash. Check out what items are going for in stores now and compare to the deals in the leaked ads. If you’re only saving a few dollars off of the regular price is it really worth the fight through the chaos?

Find out how to actually save money on Black Friday and enter to win some shopping cash!… Click To Tweet

Make a List and Stick to It

This is the number one best thing you can do to save on Black Friday. Make a list of the exact items you want to pick up. While you are shopping, do not deviate from that list. The chaos of Black Friday encourages you to buy now! This is made even worse with many deals being available online. Shopping online prevents you from seeing any of your money leaving. It also keeps you from seeing the items you purchase accumulate.

Brave the Store

I know that this turns a lot of people off of Black Friday. When you think about the points made above it makes sense that you will save the most money in store. However, in addition to those points, here are a few more reasons to visit the stores on Black Friday:

  1. It forces you to prioritize. Many stores open at the same time and you have to decide which store has more of the items you are looking for.
  2. A lot of deals on big items such as game consoles and televisions are only available in the store (although I recommend skipping these items in most cases… read more about that here).
  3. You get tired. When you are on your feet for hours hauling items and waiting in line you will lose stamina. Being tired will send you home with more money in your pocket than shopping on the couch will.

Now are you ready to win some free cash?! Enter below and don’t forget to share with your friends!

Want to win some free cash to shop with this Black Friday? Enter today! #giveaway Click To Tweet

$335 Fall Black Friday Giveaway

WELCOME TO THE FALL BLACK FRIDAY GIVEAWAY!

Do you have a long holiday shopping list and need extra cash? Well, I’ve got good news for you. 24 bloggers have come together for the Fall Black Friday Giveaway! We don’t want you to stress over holiday shopping, so we’re giving away $335 in Paypal CASH! So what are you waiting for? Enter using the giveaway form below! This giveaway has ended. Thanks to everyone for entering!

Meet the Hostesses

Fall Black Friday Giveaway

Erlene • My Pinterventures Chelc • Inside The Fox Den Christene • Keys to Inspiration

Kim • Made In A Day Megan • C’mon Get Crafty Sherry • Olives-n-Okra

Leslie • Lambert’s Lately Emily • Our House Now A Home Amanda • The Kolb Corner

Brooke • Re-fabbed Shirley • Intelligent Domestications Brittany • Balanced Frugality

Lorelai • Life with Lorelai Emily • Two Purple Couches Alli • An Alli Event

Marie • DIY Adulation Dee • Meatloaf and Melodrama Holly • Pink Fortitude

Cindy • Little Miss Celebration Sara • Twelve on Main Vineta • The Handyman’s Daughter

Marilyn • Marilyn’s Treats Andrea • Waldorf Salad & Cottage Fries Paula • Holly Jolly Holidays

Holly Berries

ONE WINNER WILL WIN $335 PAYPAL CASH!

Giveaway ends November 16 11:59pm PST, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Winner is subject to eligibility verification and will be announced within 72 hours of giveaway close. Good luck!

Disclaimer: The winner has 48 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, associated, or endorsed by Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook., or Facebook.

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

Are You Losing Out on Free Money?

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

People love saving money. Even the biggest spendthrift is still excited about finding a great deal. Bottom line: You want to keep as much dough as possible to spend on the fun stuff (or build up your savings if you’re feeling responsible). That’s why most of you already have the Groupon app on your phone. (If you don’t, you totally should.) Now you can save even more without taking up any extra storage space on your phone. You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it? Stop losing and start saving, especially on travel!

 

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

 

Stop losing out on free money by utilizing your phone apps! #ad #GrouponCoupon Click To Tweet

 

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

Convenience of One Application

Instead of having an app for every store and coupon database, everything is in one place. This saves you valuable space on your phone for the things that matter like those vacation photos. If you already have the app, you already have the coupons. Simply open up Groupon, click on the coupons tab, and search by store or category for what you need.

 

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

Great for Travel

This is one the big ways you’re losing out. Most people don’t think about using their phone apps when they travel but you should. This isn’t just for saving on hotels and car rentals (although you totally can). Here are some other great ideas for using the Groupon app when travelling:

  • RestaurantsWhen you travel you tend to eat out more. Save some cash by looking up coupons for your family’s favorite restaurants. Also, if you’re in an unfamiliar area, search for food coupons by zip code to find out what’s available in the area.
  • Automotive NeedsAgain, while you can save on rental cars with Groupon, there are other needs that may crop up while traveling. If you have car troubles while out of town, search the app for discounts at places like Advance Auto Parts and service centers!

 

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

Save on the Everyday

These coupons are not just for clothes and restaurants. They will save you money on tons of necessities too. You can save on:

  • MembershipsFind discounts on memberships to places like Sam’s Club and Amazon Prime.
  • Self-ImprovementGroupon has coupons for items like Rosetta Stone if you’re looking to expand your fluency. You will also find discounts on fitness equipment to get ready for the beach this summer.
  • FinancesGet your finances in order with discounts on Quicken software, Manilla financial organizer, and checks.
  • InsuranceYou know that stuff you’re already paying for anyway like pet insurance and car insurance? You can even find coupons to save on these.

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

If you’re going to have an application taking up space on your phone it is important to make sure you are utilizing it to its full capacity. With the Groupon app you would also be losing out on valuable savings. Now that you know, how will you use Groupon Coupons to save? Do you have extra tips to use them on vacation? I’d love to hear your advice and ideas in the comments!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Must-Read Tips for Big Travel Savings

You love exploring new places with your family. There definitely are those favorite places you love to return to over and over again. Unfortunately, money can be a major barrier to traveling as much as you would like. What if there were ways to save money on travel even if you have a big family? You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission. Read the full disclosure here.

 

You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Planning

You don’t always have to plan in advance to save money. Hotels often offer last minute deals to fill up unsold rooms. On the flip side of that, the earlier you book your flight the more you are likely to save on it. Also, it can be worth it to drive a little further to an airport with cheaper flights, depending on your options. This all boils down to knowing the best timing for deals before you start planning. In addition to the tips above, don’t forget that going in the off-season for an area will also help save you a bundle. Do some research and find out when the off-season is for your vacation destination.

 

You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Free Rewards

Another tip worth taking advantage of is free rewards programs. When you sign up for loyalty programs for free, you can reap the benefits on purchases you already make. Hotels offer perks like free internet and breakfast or even points towards a free stay! Another rewards program type to look into is gas station rewards programs. You can earn discounts on fuel, free coffees, and more through these rewards. Again, they are totally free for you to sign up for and they are an excellent way to save even more on trips!

 

You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Save on Flights

If it is an option at an airport near you, fly with an airline that has no bag fees. Unfortunately this isn’t available in all areas. That doesn’t mean you can’t still save some dough. Here are other tips that will help you save:

  • Pack EfficientlyIf you can fit everything in a carry-on you will pay a lot less on baggage fees. As a bonus, you won’t have to worry about the airline losing your luggage.
  • PursesPurses and similar sized bags always fly free. Get more free luggage on by having every member of your family bring a bag on board.
  • Be FlexibleBook your flight first and be flexible in your dates. Once you find flight dates in your price range, book the rest of your trip around them.

Save with Lodging

When booking a place to stay, don’t only focus on saving on lodging. You also want to keep in mind how your lodging can save you on your vacation. Food is a major expense when you travel so try to book lodging with a kitchen. If you are staying 5+ days it is worth it to look at condo rentals. If it will be a shorter trip, try to find a hotel room with a refrigerator and microwave at the very least. This will allow you to visit a grocery store and eat some meals in your hotel room. Another way to save is to share one room with your kids (especially when they are younger). Not only will you save money, you will get some quality bonding time in such close quarters.

 

These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible. #travel #savings Click To Tweet

 

Drive

You can save hundreds or more if you drive instead of fly, even if you rent a car. Yes, the trip might take longer but it also makes the trip a fun family adventure. The journey can be just as exciting as the destination. Here’s how you can save even more on vacation by driving:

  • Pack food and drinks. These don’t need to be just for the drive, either. Bring meals that can be heated up on vacation to save a ton on food costs. (Freezer meals are great for this!)
  • Bring games, movies, and activities for kiddos without worrying about the extra luggage fees.
  • Driving also allows you to bring comfort items for kids. Pack their favorite blanket or stuffed animal to make staying away from home easier for them.

 

You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Get Your Money Back

When you book your vacation, save even more by earning cash back for free (and no, I’m not talking about a credit card). You are booking all of your travel online anyway so use Ebates and earn cash back on all of it. You will be able to earn cash back on your arrangements whether you book through the direct sites or not. Simply make sure that you have the web browser plugin installed and it will alert you whenever cash back is available for the site you’re on. If you want to save even more, book your entire trip through a site like Hotwire. This will find great deals for you and it earns you cash back through Ebates. Perfect way to get the most bang for your buck.

When you use these tips it’s not a question of if you will save but how much more will you save on travel. You will even save on last minute travel arrangements. Plus, the more you use these tips the quicker they will become second-nature for you helping you save all of the time. When you use Ebates every time you book, you can just sit back and watch the cash back stack up. You’ll be the go-to travel guru in the family! Where will your family go this year? I’d love to hear about your adventure plans in the comments!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

8 Reasons This is the Best Family Investment

There are a lot of things I look forward to during the summer.  Number one is definitely more time with my family.  During the school year, everyone is so busy and we are very constricted by schedules, holidays, and pretty much just life.  The summer offers us more freedom to explore, play, and get messy.  I love it. One of our absolute favorite summer activities is going to the zoo. If you think the zoo is just about seeing animals, you need to check it out again. We go at least a couple of times a week. I’m not an animal lover by any means, but there is just something about visiting the majestic creatures there.  It is incredible and entertaining. However, there are so many other amazing activities, photo ops, and general fun to be had at the zoo outside of the animals!   The best part is that most zoo passes aren’t very expensive. That is why a zoo pass is the best summer family investment.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! #family #makememories Click To Tweet

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

1. Free Shows and Concerts

Zoos often have free shows and concerts throughout the year. The Cincinnati Zoo has Tunes and Blooms every week in April which is weekly, after hours free concert. We’ve also been to other shows during the year that were 100% free and family friendly. A few years ago we attended a fun Avenger’s show that our oldest son absolutely loved!

 

2. There are Tons of Photo Ops

There are countless places for amazing photo opportunities. Some of them the kids love so much that you can look back at all of the photos later and watch them grow up. It is incredibly special and a wonderful keepsake to create. Last year, we even received a FREE professional (and printed) family photo for member’s appreciation night!

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

3. Member’s Appreciation

Most zoos offer some sort of member appreciation. At the Cincinnati Zoo they have a specific night dedicated to it. There are tons of perks including the photo mentioned above. You also receive amazing discounts on face painting, food, and more. Plus some fun freebies and activities are included on top of the regular zoo activities.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

4. Rides and Playgrounds

There are also rides and play areas in the zoo. Kids will always enjoy the train, the merry-go-round, and the playground. Some zoos, like ours, even offer 3D theaters! 

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

5. Learning Opportunities

As you would imagine, the zoo is packed with learning opportunities. There are interactive animal centers and fun facts plastered everywhere. You can learn about more than just animals at the zoo, too. For example, our zoo had a real food garden for a few years that was a lot of fun for the kids.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

6. Animal Encounters

From special animal encounters set up throughout the zoo where kids can actually get up close and pet the animals to the regularly scheduled ones, there are lots of ways to engage with the animals. We have pet snakes, alligators, penguins, and more. We have fed and brushed goats. These are wonderful experiences that your kids will cherish as they grow.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

7. Special Events

Zoos also hold special events around holidays. At Easter, kids can stop by stations placed throughout the zoo and receive treats as well as get their picture taken with the Easter Bunny. In October there is trick-or-treat every weekend. Also, the zoo is open year-round. In the winter, our zoo has the Festival of Lights which is fun and gorgeous. We have met Mr. and Mrs. Gingerbread and sipped on free cocoa while enjoying the beautiful lights all over.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

8. Save on Food

Another important thing to point out is that you save even more by choosing the zoo because you can bring in your own food. We always pack lunch, snacks, and drinks so we are set for the whole trip. Another little tip for you is to bring some sort of small treat, like a sucker, because if you walk by some ice cream or cotton candy but aren’t going to buy any, you can pull out the surprise treat. Your kids will love it!

 

Again, all of this is included with a zoo pass which is good for 12 months from the date you get it.  We pay a little less than $200 for our season pass which gets in 2 named adults, plus 2 adult guests, and up to 8 children each visit.  It also covers our parking which can run around $9 a visit.  Compared with theme parks, aquariums, and museums this is an incredible deal. A couple hundred dollars for a year’s worth of fun, activities, and family memories? Absolutely worth it. Looking for other summer ideas?  Check out our summer page!

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

In case you’re wondering, I have not been compensated in any way for this post.  My family just truly enjoys visiting the zoo as much as possible.  We go all year long and the benefits have been innumerable. I want to help you make the most of your money and time which I feel a zoo pass absolutely does.

See where I’m linking up!

 

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

Lazy Girl’s Guide to Couponing

You’ve watched the episodes of Extreme Couponing where people are leaving the grocery store with pallets full of items that they got totally free. You sit back and think about how awesome it would be to save that kind of money each month on groceries and household products! You want a piece of that savings, man! So you go out and buy a Sunday paper and sit down, scissors in hand, ready to start saving. Suddenly, it occurs to you that you don’t know jack about couponing. Furthermore, you don’t have nine hours a day to spend couponing and researching. At that point you are probably ready to pour a glass of wine and resign yourself to paying full price for groceries. Don’t pay full price! Instead, I’ve created the lazy girl’s guide to couponing just for you.

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

 

Don’t pay full price for groceries! The lazy girl’s guide to couponing will help! #savemoney #couponing Click To Tweet

 

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

1. Go Digital

A lot of stores now offer digital coupons that you can load right to your store card. This is great if you’re busy and don’t have the time to clip and organize coupons. In fact, I recommend doing this every time you shop to save a least the bare minimum on all of your purchases. Kroger is great for this (plus, hello, fuel points)! Here are some reasons why Kroger rocks for digital coupons:

  • They let you know some of the coupons that correspond with sales going on right in their ads.
  • They will also let you use one digital coupon up to 5 times in one transaction which is awesome!
  • Another reason Kroger digital coupons rock is because they provide coupons for their brand as well.

Even if you don’t shop at Kroger, digital coupons are always worth the 5 minutes it will take to search at whatever store you do shop at. If you don’t know if your regular grocery store offers digital coupons, check. These can save you on the items you always purchase.

 

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

2. Let Someone Else Do the Hard Work

There are a ton of websites out there to help you find sales and match coupons to those sale items. For the truly lazy couponer, like me, the absolute best site for this is the Krazy Coupon Lady. They do a fantastic job of finding deals but they take it a step further and let you know exactly what coupons to use and where to find them. Here are the specific (and super easy) steps to get your deals on their site:

  1. Select you grocery store from the menu.
  2. Click on the post for the current week’s matchups.
  3. As you scroll through the list, click on the box next to the sale items you want to buy. This adds those items to a list for you.
  4. If there are coupons online that you need to print, they will be listed as a clickable link under the item. Click and print these coupons as needed. Note: You can usually print the same coupon twice per computer.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each store you shop at.
  6. Pull up your list on the site and print it out.

Not only will the items on your list be itemized automatically by store, they will also detail the precise way to use the coupons. For example, if you shot at Target and want purchase a specific dollar amount of items in order to receive a free gift card but also want to use coupons, they will explain (and it will print) exactly how to ring up your transaction. If you clip coupons from the paper for a certain item, they will even let you know the name and date of the insert it is found in. Seriously, this is the easiest way to achieve huge savings with almost no work on your part.

 

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

3. Enlist Help

There is no rule that says couponing can’t be a social experience. In fact, I absolutely support making it social. There are a ton of ways to make cutting coupons and shopping a social event but I’m going to share my 3 favorite ways with you.

  1. Get the kids involved. Let them help you cut out the coupons needed for your trip. If they are too young to use scissors (or to cut neatly) have them locate the coupons you need in inserts or organize like coupons together. Kids will get excited about helping and you’ll be teaching them life skills along the way. My oldest son started his own “coupon binder” at 5 years old because he loved it so much. Have fun with it and they will too.
  2. Make it a girl’s night. Get your girlfriends together with some wine and scissors and get to work. This lets you get some much deserved girl time without any guilt. Bonus, if you all pool your coupon inserts, you can get extras for items your friends may not buy and you might learn tips and tricks from each other.
  3. Stop together. The next time you go grocery shopping, have a friend tag along. My friend and I love doing this and I actually look forward to grocery shopping. We go into Kroger and hit Starbucks then get all of our shopping done. It is especially helpful if you have small children to wrangle. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one. It is also a fantastic way to stock up on items and bypass the Rule of 4 (see below).

 

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

4. Remember the “Rule of 4”

A lot of die-hard couponers recommend always bringing an updated copy of your store’s coupon policy because not all cashiers and managers will be knowledgeable about it. If you want to do that work, more power to you. I, however, am far too lazy for that and instead made the Rule of 4. The majority of stores will let you use up to 4 of the same coupon in a single transaction. This means if you have coupons for a dollar off 2 boxes of cereal then you can use up to 4 of those coupons for 8 boxes of cereal in 1 transaction. This is where having a friend shop with you comes in. Say you have 6 of those coupons and your friend isn’t using any. You can have her add the last 4 boxes of cereal onto her transaction and use the coupons to get the deal. Then just give her the cash for those items.

Now you know the absolute easiest way to save money with coupons! By going digital, using KCL, enlisting help, and remembering the “Rule of 4” you will be saving money on your groceries in no time. You may get so good at it that you’ll be able to start growing a stockpile (which I totally recommend). Need help budgeting, too? I’ve got you covered on our budgeting page!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

3 Rules to Save Money on Everything

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list. Even long after the stamina of the New Year’s push has faded, you still want to save money whenever and wherever you can. Of course, then you’re in the store with 3 kids and you focus quickly becomes the incessant requests for items from little mouths and trying to get everything on your list (assuming you remembered to bring it this time) before the next outburst over a you said “no” to. You finally reach the checkout and you’ve spent 50-100 dollars or more than you planned to spend. We’ve all been there but it doesn’t have to go that way. Thankfully, I have 3 rules to help you save money on everything (even with distractions tagging along).

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

 

Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything! #savingmoney Click To Tweet

 

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

1. Have Patience

The majority of overpaying for items comes from hasty and impulse purchases. With the possible exception of groceries and fuel, you should never purchase something immediately without planning. This can be a hard discipline to get into but as with all skills will improve with practice. If you are at the store, see a pair of shoes, and suddenly remember that your son needs a new pair chances are that you will throw them in the cart and purchase them. Resist. Instead write a note, snap a picture, or send yourself a text reminder. Use the reminder later to look for discounts online or take a trip to a thrift store. In addition to helping you save money immediately, this rule will help you more easily distinguish between wants and needs. This helps you save even more in the long run. Here are some tips to help you do this:

  • If you absolutely must (and have the time frame to do this) put the items in your cart but put them back before you check out.
  • Add up what you are actually spending as you place items in your cart. This is a great way to show you how much you’re actually spending and can help prevent impulse buys. An easy way to do this is to use the calculator app on your phone.
  • Always take a list when you shop and do not buy anything not on the list. If you frequently forget to bring your list, create it on your phone instead or, even simpler, take a photo of it.

 

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

2. Put the Word Out

You would be amazed at what you can get for free when you simply put the word out to family and friends of what you need (or are looking for). This can be everything from craft supplies and clothes to furniture and toys. Even if you don’t get the items for free, I guarantee it will be much less expensive than buying the stuff from the store. Again, this one will require having patience but it is absolutely worth it. Just in case you want further proof, here are just some of the items I have gotten for free just by putting the word out with friends and family:

  • Beds and Mattresses
  • Craft Supplies
  • Fabric and Sewing Patterns
  • Cookware and Dishes
  • Furniture (couches, tables, etcetera)
  • Lamps
  • Books and Movies
  • Office Supplies

The list goes on and on. This is a fantastic way to save money and it also helps out the people who are giving you the items. This was they don’t have to worry about finding the time and means to get rid of the items.

 

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

3. Shift Your Thinking

One of the best (and often most difficult) habits to form is to shift your thinking. Look for creative solutions to your problem. If you need a grocery list or other small notepad, cut up old papers that are blank on one side and staple them together. If you need a seat cover for the backseat of your car, see if you have an old blanket or tablecloth that will work. This rule, along with rule 1, also takes practice but here are a few ideas to help get you thinking:

Need/Want      Solution
TV Stand Table, desk, or buffet
Receipt Organizer Old jar, small photo album, or coffee can
Tablecloth Flat bed sheet
Baby Doll Clothes Infant Clothes
Bathroom Rug Bath Towel

These rules may not be immediately intuitive. They will start to become habits over time with use. The best part is that they can be applied to any purchase. The immediate savings that you experience can help fuel the long-term development of these rules. They have save my family thousands over the years and I know that they will save you thousands as well. Want some extra help to get started shifting your thinking? Let me know a need or want you currently have and I will try to give you some solution ideas!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
In the great Black Thursday Debate, here are 10 reasons not to boycott early Black Friday sales.

10 Reasons Not to Boycott Early Black Friday Sales

With only a little more than a week until Black Friday, the hoopla has once again started over the shopping craziness starting on Thanksgiving Day.  It happens every year and my newsfeed on social media is telling me to keep family at the center of Thanksgiving.  People have started ranting about how shopping on this day is unfair to employees who are forced to work.  It goes on and on with people bashing both the companies for being open and the holiday shoppers for not boycotting.  In case you’re on the fence, I have 10 reasons not to boycott early Black Friday sales.

In the great Black Thursday Debate, here are 10 reasons not to boycott early Black Friday sales.

 

In the great #BlackThursday Debate, here are 10 reasons not to boycott early #BlackFriday sales. Click To Tweet

1. You Love It

If you love the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping then by all means, go!  I absolutely love the craziness of this event.  It is an entire subculture that has its own rules and social norms.  It is also a group of paradoxes.  Many shoppers are the best of friends hanging out in line, sipping their coffees, waiting for the stores to open.  Once it does, it is every woman for herself, friend.  Sure, I gave you change for that latte but once we get in the store I will not save that last razor scooter for you instead of getting it for my kid.

2. You Don’t Need a Holiday to Celebrate Family

I don’t know how your family is, but mine doesn’t need a government-sanctioned holiday to celebrate our family.  In fact, we make it a point to spend time together as a family often, whether that means trips to the zoo or simple playing board games together.  My love for and devotion to my family is not determined by my availability on one singular day of the year.

3. Family Members Watch the Football Game

Do you have members of your family who plop in front of the TV and stay glued to the football game until dinner time?  Heck, some of them even eat their meal in front of it.  Is this the quality family time everyone is fighting for?  You cannot condemn one person’s hobby over another.  If a hobby is not destructive or harmful to yourself or others, it cannot be invalidated by another.

4. The Multiple Function Scramble

Have you ever spent one of these family holidays looking at your watch and constantly shuttling the family from one meal to the next?  If you have, you know that the holiday becomes too stressful to enjoy that way.  Yet, if you cut back, inevitably someone feels left out or like it is a reflection of how much you love them.  I would much rather fight hordes of people running to discount toasters than deal with this stress.

5. You Don’t Mind Heaps of Judgement

Judgement abounds over the decision to shop over Thanksgiving.  In fact, I know people who have missed Thanksgiving dinner for years, even before stores began pushing back opening times because they were napping in preparation for the big excursion.  This has been a point of contention for some family members.  However, if you don’t mind having the judgement piled on, by all means, do your thing.  Oh, and don’t forget about the judgement from strangers who don’t even know you or your family.  That will be served up on a platter along with Thanksgiving side dishes.

6. You Are Part of a Military Family

When you live the military life, nothing follows traditional societal norms.  If your husband is deployed over a holiday, you are just grateful if you get the chance to Skype.  If you want to go and pick up Christmas gifts on Thanksgiving Day (and Friday) I say do it!  I have been there, done that, and literally have the t-shirt.  (I’ll show you that on Black Friday.  Don’t worry.)

7. The National Holiday

Congress didn’t make Thanksgiving a set holiday until 1941.  This was actually done in response to FDR pushing the traditionally celebrated date back to lengthen “the Christmas shopping season” (Plimoth.org).  Prior to all of this, the President had to announce Thanksgiving each year.  You can read more about the fascinating history of this holiday by checking out the article “Thanksgiving History”.

8. No One Boycotts Non-Retail Arenas

The argument that by shopping on Thanksgiving you are responsible for people being pulled away from their families on this holiday is hypocritical at best.  I have never seen people up in arms over others who are forced to work this holiday.  No one is touting that hospitals or military bases should be closed.  No one is posting internet memes about the rights of NFL players to be home with their families on this holiday.  What about the families gathered to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?  People have to work that as well.  The fact is that it is their job and they knew that when they took it, end of story.  I worked retail in college and I never blamed the shoppers for having to work on holidays.  I knew that was part of the gig when I applied.

9. Your Budget Dictates It

Sometimes your budget necessitates the need to shop Black Friday sales no matter how early they fall.  This one tends to especially irk me personally because those same people judging moms for shopping on Thanksgiving are the ones buying their children hundreds of gifts for Christmas all marked from Santa.  This forces the parents that cannot afford to do so to have to explain to their kids about the inconsistencies in a way that still allows them to preserve the childlike magic of the holiday.  I pray that these people never face the reality of such a situation and if you are one of the people, whose budget dictates the kind of deep discounts found on Black Friday, hold your head high and know that you are doing what you can for your family.

10. You Love a Strategic Challenge

The last reason you should absolutely shop on Thanksgiving Day is that you love planning, strategy, and a challenge.  Black Friday sales force even the cleverest and well organized planners to prioritize and pull out all of their tools.  If you don’t have a plan, you will fail, plain and simple.  You need to know when stores open, prioritize how stores rank in importance on your list, and also how individual items within the stores rank in order of importance.  If you don’t have a plan that contains these things you will be running around confused and most likely miss out on the most important deals from your gift list.

So, now that I have alienated half of my family and friends, what are your thoughts?  Weigh in on the great Black Thursday debate in the comments.  Or if you are a Black Friday lover like me, check out my 10 Tips for Shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

 

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts: the free course to help you have you best holiday season yet! From building a strong budgetary foundation to finding small and large ways to save, this will help you knock your holiday gifts out of the park without breaking the bank!

31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts

In the weeks since Save on Holiday Gifts and Prevent Overspending went life, I have received tons of feedback about the issues you struggle with when it comes to trying to save money on holiday gifts.  Some of you have trouble sticking to a budget even after making it.  Some of you get caught at the last minute, gift-less, and have to find something NOW no matter if you have to overpay or not.  Some of you simply do not have the time to make a bunch of handmade gifts.  Some of you are so overwhelmed with your list that you don’t even know where to begin to budget.

It breaks my heart to see so many of you struggling to financially deal with the holiday season.  For that reason, I have decided to take part in the #write31days challenge in order to give you the tools you need to save on your holiday gifts (and to extend that help to everyone I can through an awesome network of amazing people).  Each day in October I will give you the tools to help you save this year on your holiday gifts!  These tips will help anyone save, whether you need to buy all of your gifts or have the spare time to make them.  No matter how you plan to get your gifts, the absolute first thing you have to do is make a budget.  Having a budget will set the foundation for the rest of your holiday gift-buying.

31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts: the free course to help you have you best holiday season yet! From building a strong budgetary foundation to finding small and large ways to save, this will help you knock your holiday gifts out of the park without breaking the bank!

Where Do We Start

Because a budget is so crucial that is where we will start on October 2!  I am so pumped to help you on your holiday journey that I’m including all kinds of bonuses for you, but more on that later!  The next thirty days will run like a mini-course for you so that you will start with a solid foundation in the beginning that we will build upon over the next weeks.  By the end, you will be ready to knock your holiday gifts out of the park without breaking the bank!

How I Know This Works

I have been using these tips for years and this year I have set my most ambitious holiday budgeting goal yet: $500 for 30 people! If it seems impossible, it’s not!  I will show you how I am doing it and give you the tools you need to do it, too.  Most importantly, I will give it to you straight.  I will tell you which ways are going to save you the most and which tips will help you save the most you can for your lifestyle.  (Oh, and want to know a little secret?  I’m already diving in to our Christmas list this year and I have tons completed while coming in way under budget!)

Don’t Forget the Bonuses

Okay, remember those bonuses I mentioned earlier?  They will include a free printable gift budgeting and planning worksheet, exclusive tutorials, additional worksheets throughout the month, and an exclusive deal at the end of the 31 days!  Pretty sweet, right?  If you want access to all of this and exclusive notifications when the next tip is live, sign up below:

31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts: the free course to help you have you best holiday season yet! From building a strong budgetary foundation to finding small and large ways to save, this will help you knock your holiday gifts out of the park without breaking the bank!

Did I mention that this is an exclusive list only for the 31 Days series?  This is totally separate from our regular subscriber list so if you’re already a subscriber you won’t be getting the exclusive course content unless you sign up here.  If you’re not a subscriber (though we’d love to have you become one) when you subscribe to the series, you will only receive the 31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts updates and exclusives.

I am so excited to kick this off with you guys and I can’t wait to dive in!  Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts: the free course to help you knock your holiday gifts out of the park… Click To Tweet

Don’t Worry if You Can’t Catch a Post On Release Day

You can always come back to it here.  There will be a running list of all of the posts in the series.

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.