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31 Weeks to a Better Grocery Budget Video Series: Use Cash to Save Money on Groceries

I tried really hard to talk louder in this video since so many of you said you were having trouble hearing me in the last few videos. The problem is, I think in talking louder, I ended up rambling more. But I guess you get to hear me exactly as I am here — rabbit trails and all! 🙂

Also, forgive my husband’s finger over the side of the video frame for half of the video. He was probably so distracted by all my rabbit trails that he forgot to pay attention to holding the camera to take the video. 😉

This Week’s Menu

(Three-Bean Chili Chowder — recipe coming next week!)

Breakfasts:
Muffins (from the freezer), Fruit
Raisin Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit
Mango Lassi, Toasted Bagels
Pancakes (from the freezer), Fruit
Smoothies, English Muffins
Toasted Bagels, Fruit
Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls, Fruit, Scrambled Eggs

Lunches:
Chicken hot dogs, frozen veggies
Macaroni & Cheese, carrots
Leftovers
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, oranges
Cheese Quesadillas, frozen veggies
Seapak Frozen Fish (they sent us some free products to try), frozen veggies
Leftovers

Dinners:
Homemade Macaroni & Cheese, Homemade Cinnamon/Sugar Bread, Peas, Fruit
Carrots/Turkey Sausage/Potatoes in the crockpot, Homemade French Bread
Chili Burgers, Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges, Steamed veggies, Grapefruit
Brown Bag Burritos, Green Rice, Tossed Salad
Valentine’s Dinner at Church
Dinner Out
Dinner at Extended Family’s House

Time Management Tips for the Single Mom

Guest post by Missy

Mothering in any sense requires serious time management, but when the number of children increase and the father leaves, it becomes an essential life skill.

1. Assess your resources and enlist help

  • Car pool with a neighbor and split the number of trips made to school, along with less time spent in the minivan lineup.
  • Trade chores. This works with meals and babysitting – other single moms are especially good prospects for this.
  • Get your sitter or nanny on the same page. Have the kitchen clean and toys picked up when you get home.
  • Enlist your children’s assistance in meal preparation, writing lists, putting away silverware and other simple tasks.

2. Streamline everything you can

  • Make your mornings simpler and set a better tone for the day by placing all needed things together the night before.
  • A two-week menu plan keeps my grocery list relatively constant. Immediately add used items to the shopping list. I clip coupons (or print online) for the items I know we’ll use and let other deals go. Occasionally, add in something new or seasonal to the repertoire.
  • For me, it works best to have daily, weekly and monthly routines as described in Emilie’s Creative Home Organizer. To save time on laundry, I put a load in the wash each morning and move it to the dryer after dinner. I have to be committed to folding and putting away just as soon as they are dry. If I don’t, it piles up and gets overwhelming.
  • Clean as you go. I’ve also found with two little boys that flushable cleaning wipes are also great for a daily quick bathroom touch-up!
  • Combine tasks. I clean the bathroom while the children are in the tub. My one who bathes in the morning often eats breakfast in the tub. I do the dishes while the children are cleaning up their evening toys and I garden, weed or mow while they are playing outdoors. We all know to combine errands, that stopping by the bank, the dry cleaner or the market on the way home from childcare are standard ways to avoid fragmenting my day. I keep clipboards in the van so that homework and artwork can be done en route. We also practice our memory verses on the go and read our daily Scripture during dinner.

3. Work the Web

  • Make the most of your time by connecting with family and friends online.
  • Upload photos and print from home.
  • Do your Christmas shopping online.
  • Earn extra money through sales on ebay or Craigslist.
  • Donate items to others via Freecycle – they will even come pick up!
  • Look for grocery bargains, make your lists online, send yourself reminder notes.
  • Of course, do your banking, bill paying and rebates online.

The possibilities are endless, just don’t get sucked into spending more time here than is beneficial. I loved Crystal’s computer time budget suggestion.

4. Capitalize on personal time

Not every single mother has a co-parent. But for those who do, I simply cannot express the importance of managing that time when your children are at the other parent’s home.

This is the time to get in as many errands as possible, tackle bigger projects like painting or re-arranging your furniture, steam cleaning the carpet, cleaning the refrigerator and whatever else is impossible to with children underfoot. If you do not co-parent, ask grandparents or a friend to keep the children overnight from time to time.

4. Celebrate!

Make an end-point to your day, then relax in the tub, read or just indulge in extra sleep. Such sweet times for yourself empower you to be all you can for those little ones depending on you.

Missy June is a hard working optimist doing my best to enjoy life with my three little ones in this not-so-perfect world. She blogs at Little House in the Foothills.

Are you a single parent? If so, what tips, tricks and ideas do you have for time management? Share them in the comments.

Super Savings Saturday: Dillon’s shopping trip + free fruit!

I planned to do more grocery shopping this week, but it was just one of those weeks where life trumped the plans and a lot of things went undone. So we revised our menu plan a bit and ate from the freezer and pantry.

I did end up stopping by Dillon’s yesterday to get a few deals in their Mega Event:

Dillon’s Shopping Trip:

2.5 dozen eggs — on Manager’s Special for $1.99, used $0.55/2 dozen eggs coupon (no longer available — “doubled” to $1), $0.99 after coupon

2 cans of Hormel Chili — $0.89 when you purchase 10 participating items, used $0.55/2 coupon (“doubled” to $1), $0.39 each after coupons

2 Reach toothbrushes — $1 when you purchase 10 participating items, used $2/2 coupon (no longer available), free after coupon

4 bags of Garden of Eatin’ Chips — $1.79 when you purchase 10 participating items, used $1/1 peelies on bags, $0.79 each after coupon

3 bottles of Honest Tea — $1.25 (these were supposed to be part of the Buy 10 Mega Event, but they weren’t marked as such at our store), used 3 $0.50/1 coupons (doubled to $1), $0.25 each after coupons

1 Excedrin used free coupon

2 rolls of Scotch tape — $1 when you purchase 10 participating items, used $0.55/1 coupon (“doubled” to $1), free after coupons!

Total spent: $9.01

Total saved (according to my receipt): $31.29

My mom also gave me some grapefruit and oranges she got this week. And we bought a gallon of milk at Braum’s.

Would you like to know what the best deals and coupon match-ups are for your local stores? Be sure to check out the Store Deals section of our site where we post the best deals and coupon match-ups each week for over 100 different stores across the country. You can sign up to receive the top deals in your email inbox each week as soon as they are posted!

Find

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.

Frugal Fun: Lipstick and bread-baking

A sample tube of lipstick + two creative girls = lots of fun and giggles

Plain bread dough mixed in the bread machine rolled out + cinnamon

+ raisins

+ honey

Final product: delicious Cinnamon Raisin Bread and a fun memory of baking with mom in the kitchen (full recipe coming next week. It’s really yummy, let me tell you!)

We Paid Cash! :: HDTV

We paid cash!
In November 2007, our family began our Total Money Makeover journey. The very first thing we learned was to pay for everything in cash.

This was, of course, a new way of thinking. After all, we had our debit card, which was “essentially” cash, right? Well, after much praying and hard work, we have stopped using credit, rarely use our debit card and now believe that Cash is King!

We had the chance to put this mantra to the absolute test. We wondered if paying with cash would help us not end up with a case of buyer’s remorse, as we had felt so many times in years past when making purchases.

One Saturday morning in July, 2008, we awoke to learn our television had been struck by lightning the night before. Now, we could have run out and purchased a new one on a credit card — if we owned a credit card, that is! We didn’t, so we marched down the steps to our basement and carried up a replacement television — a 14-year-old, 25″ tube TV.

We then finished working our way out of debt. Afterwards, we began to save for that new HDTV.

How We Saved

We had budgeted a dollar amount for our groceries each pay period. At the end of that two weeks, we would take the money left over and put into our TV fund. Using coupons and working deals usually meant at least 30% went into savings.

We had a garage sale and added our proceeds to our stash. Imagine our surprise when, in less than six months, we had reached our goal of having enough cash to purchase not only our television, but also a new TV stand!

Then came the fun part — going shopping! We knew exactly which television and stand we wanted. We selected both our TV and stand and were armed and ready ask for a reduced price.

We asked the salesman what they could do since we were paying in cash and he said he’d have to check with his manager. Imagine our surprise when he walked up and offered us what we were hoping for — a 5% discount for paying with cash.

What We Learned

With great pride, we handed over our cash. It felt so good. We felt empowered, like we had done something that few had done before.

Sure, it would have been simple enough to just write a check or put the purchase on a credit card (and pay it off right away) but, I had never in my adult life made a purchase of this magnitude with cold, hard cash.

We now know that it is possible to purchase anything with cash. Dedication, hard work and the desire to remain debt free have kept us on track. And our mantra rings true – CASH IS KING!

Penny Pinchin' MomTracie has helped her family eradicate over $37,000 in debt in 27 months. She shares her money saving tips, coupons and deals daily at Penny Pinchin’ Mom.  She and her husband live in Missouri with their 3 children, ages 22 months – 5 years.

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