My Winn Dixie Shopping Trip 8/3/18

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Do you always wonder what things other people buy for groceries and how much they spend?? I know I do. I love to see breakdowns like this, but I also feel like sometimes it’s been unattainable for me because either we don’t have the same stores available to us here or we eat and use totally different products than the things they do. I think I just need to see the whole process from start to finish in order for me to grasp the entire concept.

So that’s exactly what I’ve done with this series of posts. (If you missed my planning and preparing process in part one, you can find it here.) I’m taking you from the very beginning to the end. Who knows? We might even have a continuation where I show you what meals I cook from the things we buy and how we use the purchases we make! Maybe that would be really helpful? We’ll see what I can get done for you.

For now, I hope you enjoy the breakdown of my trip to Winn Dixie this week. Here goes! 

Here’s my Winn Dixie grocery list for this week. I like to mark it up and make notes all over it as you can see. I add in quantities I want to buy. I add in coupons I have. I highlight the ibotta rebate offers so that I remember to submit them. I add up about how much I will be spending to make sure I’ll be within my budget. Of course the starred items are the ones that are priced based on pound so I don’t take those into account when I add it all up, and I just know that these will add to my total a little bit.

Here are some of the coupons I printed and clipped for this week’s shopping trip. I haven’t started buying the Sunday paper again yet, but I really need to.

Here’s my car full of groceries! I was kid-free when I shopped so I was able to use my entire backseat to hold everything. (You can also see the freezer bags and the broccoli from my Sam’s trip I made right before this trip.)

Here’s what all I bought today. I thought you might enjoy seeing it all spread out. It was definitely fun for me to set it all up this way to show you.

And here’s the breakdown of today’s shopping trip!

I bought…

4 boxes of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Crunch Cereal – B1G1 $4.29 ($2.14) x 2
*I had a digital coupon loaded to my Rewards Card for $2/4.
*These will definitely last us at least a couple weeks or more.

2 boxes of Krusteaz Pancake Mix – B1G1 $2.89 ($1.44)
*This should last us at least until they go on sale again in a month or so.

2 boxes of Quaker Instant Grits – B1G1 $4.49 ($2.24)
*I haven’t had grits in a really long time so I’m really excited about these. 🙂

2 boxes of Lance sandwich crackers – B1G1 $3.29 ($1.64)
*I got these to fill our snack box since it’s getting low. It wasn’t on my original grocery list, but it’s okay because they were on sale. These will be good to grab for on the go snacks like when we go grocery shopping next week!

2 containers of Planter’s Peanuts – B1G1 $4.49 ($2.24)
*This isn’t something we buy on a regular basis, but I got them to use for our favorite “Snickers Oatmeal” recipe. We can also eat them for snacks, and these should last us a good while!

2 jars of Hormel bacon bits – $2 each x 2
*I used a $1/2 coupon for these.

2 containers of soft Philadelphia Cream Cheese – $2.50
*I earned 100 SE rewards points for buying 2 of these, and I needed them for an upcoming recipe in a few weeks so I grabbed them now since they were on sale.

4 cans of SE Grocers fruits – $1/each

3 packages of Seasoning Blend – B2G1 = $3.18
*I didn’t originally plan to buy these, but I saw the deal and decided to grab them. I love to always have these on hand for various recipes.

2 packages of Dole Salad Mix – B1G1 = $4 ($2)

Fresh Snap Beans – $1.49/lb = $4.10

Fresh Strawberries – B1G1 $4.99 ($2.49)

Fresh Plums – $1.99/lb = $2.47

Fresh Zucchini – $1.49/lb = $2.19

2 packages of Gorton’s fish fillets – B1G1 $6.99 ($3.49)

3 lbs. of Butterball Ground Turkey – $3.50
*I planned to buy 2 of these, but when I was in store I saw that one package had been marked down by $2 additional for a quick sale so I grabbed three instead. We’ll use the quick sale one first, and I can freeze the others to use later unless I’m planning a meal with them this week.
*I used a $0.75/1 paper coupon of this and also a $0.75/1 digital coupon for this.

1 lb. Butterball Turkey Sausage – $4.99
*This was also marked down for a quick sale and savings of an additional $2 so I grabbed it too. My kids love sausage so I knew it would be a good buy for us.

Pork Chop Ribeyes – B1G1 $9.44 ($4.72)

Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage – B1G1 $4.99 ($2.49)

Ball Park Franks – B1G1 $3.99 ($1.99)
*We’re planning to build a campfire soon with the kids as it’s on our Summer Bucket list, and I thought it would be fun to roast these over the fire.

1 half gallon of Tru Moo Chocolate Milk – $2.50
*I planned to get this anyway because one of my kids LOVES chocolate milk. It was marked down for a quick sale so I found the one with the latest date, and I knew it would be fine because my family will definitely have it gone by then anyway.

2 pints of Halo Top – $4.50 x 2
*My husband loves these so I got them as a treat for him. They weren’t necessarily “cheaper” but I earned 120 SE Rewards points by purchasing two of them. And this is one of those things we would run out and get if we have a craving anyway… so now we won’t have to. Totally worth it.
*Let’s see if my husband actually reads my posts…. I hid these in the back of the freezer for him and haven’t told him yet. I’m waiting for a good time to let him in on my secret little purchase for him. 😉

Tropicana Essentials Probiotic Orange Mango Drink – 10/$10
*Did you know that if something says 10/$10 in a sale ad, you don’t actually have to buy 10?! It’s true. I’ve been craving orange juice lately, and so I grabbed this since it was also on sale to drink on the way home from my shopping trip. Fruits from all my labor and efforts! (And still better than the jumbo bakery cookies they’ll try to tempt me with at the register.)

2 containers of Purex Laundry Detergent – B1G1 $4.99 ($2.49)

2 boxes of SE grocers plastic spoons – $1.50 x 2
*I earned 40 SE Rewards points for purchasing these. I like for the kids to grab and use these to eat their disposable yogurts or fruit cups with so that we don’t dirty up any extra dishes for those snack times. So, sadly we aren’t a “green” as we could be in this area…. but it’s one of my “mama conveniences”.

2 packages of Quilted Northern Toilet Paper – B1G1 $4.99 ($2.49)

Fresh Grapes – $2.49/lb = $5.90

I’ll let you in on one of my secret little pleasures. It’s so fun, yall! When you start shopping sale cycles at a regular grocery store, you’re going to have to try this one too. They always try to ask me for my reward card first thing, but I never pull it out too quickly. Instead, I leave it in my purse and wallet tucked away until the end. I let them ring up ALL of my items, and I watch that number get really big. Today it was over $200! Seeing that number go up and up and up used to scare me, but now it totally THRILLS me!  (When that number goes up and up at Walmart, it’s a different story. Am I right?) But anyway. Let the cashier finish, and look at the big number. THEN they scan your loyalty rewards card, and all of your sale items register and the price drops way low. It’s super fun to see! And finally, you can hand over your additional coupons, and you can choose to use your rewards points balance for even more savings. It’s just really fun to see how much you are actually saving by shopping grocery sale cycles.

Total – $126.54
Coupons – $16.00
Points Used – $5.26
Final Total – $121.28
Today I earned – 322 points + $3.75 in ibotta Rebates
Today I saved – $102.68

Ibotta App
If you don’t already have or know about the Ibotta app, I’d like to share that with you. This app will give you rebates from purchases from TONS of stores. It doesn’t matter if you buy the item on sale or full price – whether you used a coupon or not. Chances are – you could (and should!) be getting rebates on many of the things you are already purchasing. Shopping online? Shopping in stores? Always check the ibotta app before you shop, and watch those rebates add up – which is money in your pocket later on. You can choose to put it on a giftcard or transfer it to your Paypal account.

If you’d like to sign up for ibotta and earn your savings, here’s my referral link!

This is my Rebate earnings from this particular Winn Dixie shopping trip!

And this is my lifetime earnings. Do you SEE that amount?! This is money that I have been able to transfer to my Paypal account over time! It’s REAL money, and it’s been nice to have a little bonus cash, or what I like to call “Free Money” just from buying things I was already buying anyway.

If you’d like to sign up for ibotta and earn your savings, here’s my referral link! 

In my next posts I’ll be sharing with you the breakdown of my shopping trips to CVS and Sam’s Club!

Whatever you do, Let’s make a Plan to be More Purposeful! 

My Meal Planning and Grocery Sale Preparation Process

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When we first got married, I used to love couponing and shopping for good deals. Of course, we also lived in a bigger city and had a multitude of stores to choose from. AND I didn’t have children so it was easy for me to just run in a store pretty much any time I wanted to. When we moved to where we live now, we were at least a 30 minute drive away from the good stores. I tried to make it work for a while, but after a while it just got to be too much. Maybe it was when I had my home daycare and just couldn’t find the time to get there to shop, but at some point I just gave up trying to coupon and embraced Walmart’s “every day low prices”.

Fast forward to now. I am a stay at home mom. We live on one income, and we are expecting our fourth child. A few months ago we had our little family budget meeting, and my husband told me that I had to cut our grocery spending somehow. I wasn’t really sure where to even begin because I was already struggling to make what I thought was a low budget work for us. Even just getting to the store was a challenge for me. But I decided to work on it. I made the decision to say goodbye to Walmart, and begin shopping at actual grocery stores with sale cycles again. I also bought us a Sam’s Club membership and decided I would also tackle drugstores again, but I would only focus on one right now… CVS. So while it’s still not perfect, and it’s taken me a month or two to get back in my groove… I think I’m figuring it out again. I’ve already cut our grocery budget category down by more than half! Before we were budgeting $450/pay period for groceries. Now I budget $200 per pay period for my grocery trips. (Sam’s Club and Drugstores have a separate budget line now, and I’m in the process of deciding exactly how much these amounts should be. I’m in the gathering stages right now, and I’ll track my patterns over the past months to get a good idea.)

And we also now always have food. We don’t run out of things as easily, and I seem to always have a back-up of whatever the item might be… I have a small stash now of extras and things like Ranch Dressing, Ketchup, Dishwasher Tablets, Laundry Detergent, Pancake Mix, Shaving Cream, My favorite Lotion, etc. It’s also been really nice because there are some weeks that I don’t even have to grocery shop! I’m not even kidding! We have plenty of food, and there might not be anything on the sales list that we really need so we just skip it. This was the case one week when we went out of town in June and another week in July when we just wanted to wait and make a larger trip the following week instead.

I’m definitely not an extreme couponer. I only buy what we use and love. I only buy what’s on sale… at least for the most part. And it’s been working really well.

Today, I’ll share my planning and preparing strategies with you.

(My strategies and things I take into account might be a little different because I almost always have my kids in tow. So you can just take those kinds of tips into consideration when you are making YOUR plans.) Then, I’ll come back and share with you my actual shopping trips with you… what I buy, what I spend, and how I make it all work. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you get some inspiration.

Wunderlist App 
We use this app for some of our church lists, and I thought it would be great to have as a “shared grocery list” for Justin and I. It works out so well because both of us can add things to it and see it at any time on our phones. I also especially love those times where he runs to “get a few things” from the store, and I can see where’s he’s checked things off that I added to the list. It really makes my heart go pitter patter inside. 😀

Being real though, this is kind of my “catch-all” list for needed items instead of writing it down in random places or not writing it down at all and forgetting we need something. If I notice we are running low on laundry detergent or I see that we need poster board for a school project, I add it to our Wunderlist. I also made a Household Staples Sub-list and a Grocery Staples Sub-list which I can glance at to make sure we have our basics covered each week. Obviously this Grocery Staples list needs to be updates since our shopping style has changed dramatically in the past few months. (You can imagine how expensive my Walmart grocery bills were from purchasing all that.)

My Planning Process
1. I go to SouthernSavers.com, and make a grocery list based on the weekly sale ads. I’ve been using this website since my couponing days nearly ten years ago, and I love that Jenny pairs all of the applicable coupons with the actual items that are on sale. It makes things really easy! I also make a list for drugstore shopping. Winn Dixie and CVS are my preferred choices right now.

2. Print and clip any applicable coupons.

3. Write out a meal plan based on the sale items and what’s already in our fridge and pantry. I jotted down a quick plan (in messy handwriting) to give you some ideas, but most of what I planned to buy I knew that we would put up in the freezer for later actually. I like to plan the main parts like the shopping and the deals, and then I’m more laid back and “go with the flow” during the week based on how busy our days are and my moods and how I feel, which aren’t always predictable. Can anyone else relate? 😉

4. Check Wunderlist, and add any items we need that aren’t already on the sale lists. Usually, we we run out of things, they go on sale pretty soon after so it works out, but it’s not always the case.

5. Add any other meal components we need for the weekly meal plan to my shopping list.

6. Go back through the lists, and add up the total costs. It won’t be exact, but this way I can know about how much I will be spending before I even put anything in my shopping cart. You can see how I’ve kind of done this on the lists below. Of course, it’s not exact. Sometimes things are unavailable in stores, and sometimes there are extra deals that I stumble upon and decided to get. Also, I starred the items that are priced by pound because there’s no way to determine an exact cost for those ahead of time so I knew these would be added to my totals that I have shown written in pencil.

7. Go back through the lists and eliminate things we “don’t really need” from it if we are over-budget.

8. Print my lists, and organize my coupons. (Obviously, sometimes I change up the order of these steps. I really like to just add things or cross things off and make notes with pen or pencil once I’ve already printed my list.)

    

Getting Ready for Shopping Day
1. Gather my shopping lists, coupons, store loyalty cards, Extra Care Bucks for CVS if I have any from previous weeks, freezer bags for cold items, etc.

2. Grab my cash envelope wallet and system. Make sure I’ve gone to the bank and filled it based on what our budget allows so I’ll have some money to spend. This is really helping me stay on track with our budget.

3. Clean out my car and make room for the groceries. Right now, they mostly have to fit in my front seat because I have car seats on the two back rows, and that takes away all my trunk space. It’s especially difficult on Sam’s trip days, but we just make do with what we have right now. (When December comes, I don’t know what we’ll do with adding another car seat, but I’m praying about that for sure. Maybe I can find someone to keep the kids once a week, hire someone to shop for me, or maybe somehow God will bless us with a bigger vehicle. I’m not too worried. It will all work out.)

4. Prepare for the day with my littles. They are always with me, and I’m learning to embrace this and make it work for us. There was a time when one of my kids could NOT come with me because he had severe anxiety and meltdowns in stores. Now that he’s a little older, we are learning how to manage this a little better and be prepared for it. To prepare for the day, I fix water bottles, prepare sandwiches or grab snacks to have in the car. I make sure I have my Tula carrier for my squirmy toddler. I grab a bag of candy to use for good-behavior rewards. They each get to choose one piece to have after each store if they listened and behaved well. while we were shopping. If I had to stop shopping to discipline them or something, they lose their candy reward. I have only had to do this one time in the past month of shopping so it works like a charm! I’m not above bribery here, but I make it work for me.

5. Plan the order of stops to make based on location and practicality. Sometimes we plan to do something fun like go to Lynn Meadows or the park while we’re out, but we definitely need to do that before we make our big grocery store haul with all of our cold items. Planning ahead is definitely necessary.

Once these steps are completed, it’s time to hit the actual stores! You can see the breakdown of my actual shopping trips in those posts that will be coming soon.

Whatever you do, Let’s make a Plan to be more Purposeful! 

My Sam’s Club Shopping Trip 8/3/18

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So, I’ll admit to you that I’m a nerd about some things, and I’m unashamed to say so. One thing about me you should know is that I’m a problem solver, and I want to do things the best way that I possibly can. I’m like an ultra-planner sometimes because I want to simplify a “system or process” as much as I possibly can for myself to make it easier for me down the road. Who knows if this is actually the case or not, but I do enjoy the process so I guess it’s alright. 😉

This post is a part of a series. If you missed any of the earlier posts in this series, you can find them here…
My Meal Planning & Shopping Preparation Process
My Winn Dixie Shopping Trip 8/3/18

My goal with shopping at Sam’s Club is to SAVE MONEY, not to spend more money. I know Sam’s is full of things that look so fun to buy… I saw a sectional on this trip that caught my attention. 😉 But that was an easy one for me to say no to. That’s not always the case. So I want to be really intentional with my planning process and my purchases here.

One thing I think that would make this easier for me is to only shop here once a month. The more often I go, the more often I will see things that will catch my eye and beg for me to buy them. Another thing that I think would make this easier for me is to know WHAT to buy and HOW MUCH of it… so that it will actually last us a full month. This part takes a little trial and error. I’ve been shopping more often than I’d like, but I think *maybe* I’ve finally got it down now! The things I bought in this trip are things that I think will last me at least a month. So you are here as my accountability. I’m not allowed to go back to Sam’s Club until September 5th. ;-D I think I’ll be just fine.

So you can see here that I tried to write down everything we purchased in various transactions and note how long those products lasted us at our house to get a better picture of how often I should buy those items. I have a bit more to do to get this down to a science, but I planned at least this trip out for now, and it works. I was totally guessing on much of this in June and July, and basically starting from scratch with a lot of these items too. Obviously, I won’t have to buy the same condiments every month, and some of these were just the “fun things” like the Chicken Enchilladas or the Pulled Pork.

For the most part, we are using Sam’s Club to buy things in bulk that we use for meal planning and prepping. We like to have simple, healthy meals prepped and divided into containers in the fridge so that we can easily grab them whenever we need to. This saves me from cooking on those busy nights too! We keep the meals really simple, and it’s the same basic components in each one. I try also to meal-plan and cook some other recipes and dinners throughout the week to give us the variety we crave, but these are always available to us, and are pretty much always the same.

Here are my Sam’s Club purchases all loaded into my car in my freezer bags. I have three bags here, and I actually really probably need even more than this – or a big cooler or something. I try to shop Sam’s Club, drugstores, and Winn Dixie all the same trip usually so the freezer bags are a must to keep things from getting too hot in my car.

And here’s what all I bought at this trip displayed for you to see on my kitchen table!

Here’s the breakdown…

I purchased…

3 bags of Frozen Broccoli Florets – $20.04 for all 3

1 bag of Frozen Edamame – $7.98
*My kids love this so I added it to my cart, and it should last us a while, probably longer than a month.

1 bag of Garlic Chicken & Veggie Pasta $8.98
*A gal I follow on Instagram said this was really good, so I decided to try it.

1 box of Mandarin Oranges cups 24 pk. – $7.98
*I love to have these in the fridge available for kids’ snacks or to put with meals. I really like to add in fruit with all of their meals to give them something on their plates that I know they will eat.

1 box of Angus frozen burgers 12 pk. – $14.98
*We love these, and this has been our go-to cheat meal lately. I actually cook them in the microwave too, and they taste JUST AS good as if we had grilled them. Not even kidding! They’re great!

1 box of Digiorno pizzas 3 pk – $12.98
*I got these for nights where I just need a break from cooking or we’re ready for another cheat meal. Having this kind of thing available keeps us from eating out and craving foods that aren’t necessarily in our budget or our diets. 🙂

1 box of Chewy bars 60 ct. – $8.98
*I got these to add to my kids’ snack box for on-to-go snacks, and I’m hoping that since there are 60 in this box that it will last us a really long time! I’ll let you know how that goes.

Powdered Sugar – $4.48
*I needed more powdered sugar for an upcoming recipe, and it’s not one of those things I see go on sale often. I decided it was worth it to buy the big pack of it, and it should last me QUITE some time since I don’t bake that often.

1 large can of Green Beans – $3.37
*They didn’t have the box of 12 canned green beans in store today, so I got this instead. Sometimes we just like a change up of veggies in our meal-prep boxes.

1 package of Butter 5 pk. – $11.98
*We are running low on butter, and since I didn’t place an Azure order this month I figured I better stock up. Butter usually freezes pretty good too.

Mustard 2 pk – $4.99
*Mustard seems to last a really long time in our house, but it was on our list of things needed so I went ahead and grabbed it. These should last us even longer.

3 packs of Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs – $14. 93, $15.50, and $15.39
*This is our protein of choice for our meal preps so I needed to get enough to last us the full month. I hope I did my calculations correctly.

1 pack of Hormel fully cooked, microwavable bacon – $11.98
*Who doesn’t love bacon…. and bacon without the mess is even better!

Total Spent $175.04

Sam’s Club Scan & Go App 
I wanted to share with you about this app in case you haven’t heard about it. It allows you to personally scan your own items when you are in the store and bypass the lines. Yes, it does take away the opportunity to speak to a cashier and have that personal interaction, but I’m an introvert and I like to get going so it’s good for me. I also REALLY love that I can see how much I’m spending before I actually spend it, which allows me to put things back if I’m going over budget. Win win for me!

If you missed any of the earlier posts in this series, you can find them here.
My Meal Planning & Shopping Preparation Process
My Winn Dixie Shopping Trip 8/3/18

Next up, I’ll share my latest shopping trip to CVS.

Whatever you do, Let’s make a Plan to be more Purposeful!

My CVS Shopping Trip 8/3/18

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CVS and drugstores everywhere…. the land of FREE!
Before I even looked at the ad and made my list this week, I knew I had $10 in FREE MONEY, aka “Extra Care Bucks” to spend that I earned in a previous week. Even if I didn’t shop the sale ad at all, I could use this like a gift card to buy almost anything in the store (some exclusions apply of course). That’s reason enough to shop and drugstores and “do the drugstore game”.

This post is a part of a series. If you missed any of the earlier posts in this series, you can find them here…
My Meal Planning & Shopping Preparation Process
My Winn Dixie Shopping Trip 8/3/18
My Sam’s Club Shopping Trip 8/3/18

The goal is to only buy sale items and to let these Extra Care Bucks (or ECBs) roll over to use on your next transaction. Sometimes you can make that next transaction the very same day…. like one right after another. I’ve done as many as 4 in a row before, but usually I try to stick to one or two just because it’s much simpler and requires less thought. (Remember, I usually have my littles with me when I shop and thinking clearly isn’t always at an optimum level) I do always try to be courteous of other shoppers when I do this too. The cashiers usually don’t mind because they are used to couponers coming in and taking advantage of their sales and rewards. But If there’s a line of people behind me, I will simply tell the cashier I have more transactions, and let those people go in front of me. It gives me a few extra minutes to gather my thoughts and my coupons for the next transaction as well. You can just imagine how annoying it would be when you’re in a rush and just ran into grab one thing and then you get behind “the couponer” with multiple transactions. Don’t be THAT couponer. Be courteous of others always. But have fun, and get your good deals too. 😉

It take a little more planning to do these consecutive transactions, but when you become a professional couponer (wink wink) , you can do it too. It’s ESPECIALLY fun the week of Thanksgiving! My sister and I have done this together several years when we are together for the holidays, and it’s always fun to see all the deals we get. Lots of our Christmas stocking stuffers have come from these trips.

 

One of the things about drugstore deal shopping, is that it’s less predictable than grocery store sale shopping. This is because of the magical coupon printer that you see usually close to the entrance of the store. You scan your loyalty card when you enter, and it prints coupons for you based on your previous purchases. Sometimes they are really good and high value, which will make you alter your plans a little. Sometimes it’s just a bonus coupon of something you’ve already planned to buy which is also exciting! And the good news is that these are Store Coupons so they can be combined with any Manufacturer Coupons that you brought with you to shop on the very same products for additional savings!

Here’s my CVS list for the week. I add to my list anything that might be of interest to me for that week. I try to go ahead and plan our what I want to buy and in the best order, but sometimes the coupons that print from that magical coupon printer will change those plans. 

I only planned to purchase the three packs of diapers, but I did check out the other deals while I was in store as well. I couldn’t find any of the Honest Baby products, but I did decide to go ahead and purchase the Oral-B toothbrushes. The pack I chose was $4.99 and with getting $4 ECB back, that’s like getting it for $0.99! (We had some sickness in our household this past week so it was time to switch out the toothbrushes anyway to be safe.) I just decided to add this to my diaper deal transaction because I didn’t want to have to find something else to purchase. I’ll just save my ECBs for next week.

Here are all of the coupons that printed for me from the magical coupon printer at the entrance!

And here’s the one that I knew I could use today… score!

So here’s the breakdown of this shopping trip! It’s a pretty simple one with only one transaction. 

I Started with $10 ECB to spend

I Purchased…

3 packs of Pampers diaper jumbo packs $9.99 each
(Deal: Spend $30 in participating products, get back $10 ECB.)

1 – 2pk. Oral-B toothbrushes – $4.99
(Deal: Buy any Oral-B 2 or 4 pack, get back $4 ECB.)

Total: $37.20
Coupons: $3.00 ($3/15 diaper coupon) Usually, I would have additional manufacturer coupons for diapers and additional savings, but I didn’t this week.
ECB used: $10
New Total: $24.20
Saved Today: $21.40 (49%) *Based on retail prices of items without the deals and sales*
Earned Today: $10 ECB + $4 ECB + another coupon for 25% off a single item
(Some couponers like to think of it this way… It’s like getting it all for $10.20 if you subtract my earned savings!)

There ya go! This week at CVS was pretty simple and easy. Maybe next week will be a little more eventful to share with you. 😉

If you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can find them here.
My Meal Planning and Grocery Sale Shopping Preparation Process
My Winn Dixie Shopping Trip 8/3/18
My Sam’s Club Shopping Trip 8/3/18

Whatever you do, Let’s Make a Plan to be more Purposeful! 

My Monthly Goals for August 2018

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After reviewing my yearly goals, here are the things I will be working on for the month of August… 

Spiritual Goals:
I’m finishing up the Seamless Bible Study by Angie Smith with Proverbs 31 Ministries this month, and next week I will begin the Medication study of Psalm 119 provided by Stone Soup for Five.

Mothering/Family Goals:

  • Sign Lawson up for recreational football.
  • Family Trip to the book store for Lawson to pick out his new book as a reward for completing his Summer Reading Passports Program.
  • Family Trip to the Trampoline for Lawson’s second reward for completing his Summer Reading Passports Program.
  • Linkin has a special goal he is working towards for a prize too, but I won’t share it here. He will also benefit from Lawson reaching his goal, of course.
  • Linkin will continue working through his Raising Rockstars Preschool with me.
  • Layten will continue working through Tot Schools Printables Curriculum with me.
  • Things still left on our Summer Bucket List: Float the Creek, Kroc Center, Zoo, S’mores, Aquarium, Campfire, Bike Ride on a Trail, Hiking Adventure, Make pickles, Snow Boogers, and the Trampoline Park (Who knows if we’ll get to all of these – probably not, but we’ll try to get to as many as we can)

Homeschooling Goals: 
We have been doing “light schooling” this past month. We are about 20 days in right now, and we will be completing our “Summer Term” and taking a break week this month. That week will be reserved for field trips and fun things (right about the time when all of the public schoolers go back to school so we’ll have less crowds). We, introverts, plan these things accordingly. 😉

After our Break Week, we will be adding in our Language Arts Curriculum on week 1, followed by Botany and Apologetics, which we go through slowly at our own pace. I’ll be posting in more detail about our homeschooling plans soon.

My Personal Goals: Reading Plans
Right now, I don’t know if I can really prioritize this as a goal, but I might try to start a new book if one grabs me. We’ll see. No definite plans as of now for this month.

Marriage Goals:

  • Weekly Budget Meetings as a Couple to keep us on Track with our Goals
  • Weekly Quality Time Together at home
  • At Least One Date Night This Month
  • Cheer on Justin as he competes in the first, annual Anchor Games this month.
  • Work together on reaching goals set for opening the new CrossFit gym the first week in September. Exciting! 

    Health & Fitness Goals:
    Keep doing CrossFit, even if I have to modify and scale everything. Keep meal planning and having healthy meals readily accessible for me.

Financial Goals:

  • Continue in the grocery store & drugstore game for saving money with our food, toiletries, & household purchases.
  • Continue with sinking funds & reaching goals there.
  • Prepare for Christmas. (Baby coming in December – I’ve gotta get on that!) Purchase or make at least one gift this month. Talk with family about holiday plans.

Professional Goals:
Post about our Family’s Core Values, Vision, Mission, and Slogan
Post about my Grocery, Drugstore, and Sam’s Shopping Process
Post about our Sinking Funds & Financial Goals
Posts about our Homeschool Methods, Curricula, and Goals

What goals will you be working on this month? If you’re just starting out, you can read my series on My Purposeful Planning and hopefully be inspired with one thing to begin with and how to reach that one goal, which will only lead you to want to achieve more.

Whatever you do, Let’s go make a plan to be purposeful! 

My Monthly Goals for July: An Update

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After reviewing my yearly goals, here are the things I  worked on for the month of July… 

Spiritual Goals:
I am currently finishing up week six of Proverbs 31 Ministries’ online Bible Study of Seamless by Angie Smith. I missed this small group Bible Study when a group from our campus did it, but I heard it was phenomenal. So, when I got the email that it was going to be available as an online study, I ordered the book and jumped on board! This study has been everything I heard it was and more! I’ve gained so much insight of little tidbits and things that just really came together for me in a new light through this study. I feel like it has even equipped me to be a better Bible teacher to my children as I homeschool them, and for that I’m really excited.

Mothering/Family Goals:

  • Lawson has still been working through his Summer Reading Passports Program and working toward his goals of earning a new book from the book store and a family trip to the Kroc Center. He has worked hard, and I’m glad that this program has kept him reading throughout the Summer so he’s definitely going to earn his rewards. Although, he has decided that he’d rather take a family trip to the trampoline park, so Daddy will definitely have to accompany us for this one. No way this pregnant mama will be doing any jumping right now. 😉
  • Linkin has been working through his Raising Rockstars Preschool Curriculum with me. We’ve completed 5 weeks of it now. (We’re just going through it slowly. He’s not real keen on doing the school thing just yet.) I’m proud to say that he’s been doing much better with having a good attitude and trying his best each day. It’s really all I ask him for, and he’s learned his Bible verses. I’m a proud mama.
  • Layten still gets read to daily, and she REALLY wanted to do school with us. Although it wasn’t it the plans, we started her with the Tot School Printables Curriculum this month, and she has LOVED it! She loves the intentional time with Mama as she gets to color and learn new words. She’s doing fabulous with it! She has also successfully weaned from the pacifier this month! My little girl is growing up!
  • Things still left on our Summer Bucket List: Float the Creek, Kroc Center, Zoo, Aquarium, Campfire, Bike Ride on a Trail, Hiking Adventure, Make pickles, Snow Boogers, and now The Trampoline Park (Who knows if we’ll get to all of these – probably not, but we’ll try to get to as many as we can)

Homeschooling Goals: 
We started back to school this month with some light schooling. Why, you ask?
Well for one, we are going to have a newborn in December and I know we will be taking some time off for that so we need to get a head start so we can have a break next Summer. Our requirement is 180 days so we need to try our best to meet that, even if it means starting early. I just know myself and that we will definitely want to take a mid-year break, especially to get used to having a new member in our family. And we pretty much always start in July, because I get excited to get to all the plans I’ve made. 😉
Second, we really all do well with having a routine. We like to have fun, but our normal schedule and routine is good for us, so we do what we want.
Third, I did say “light schooling” which means we started with our character study of Knight Training, me Reading Aloud to them, and our Memory Work… but other than that we didn’t do too much more than our current Summer Reading Program and Fun Summer Activities we have planned. I did end up adding in some light Math one week, and we started our new Bible Curriculum just so we could get our feet wet there.

My Personal Goals: Reading Plans
One of my goals is to read 12 books this year, and I had planned to finish up two more this month. However, I totally bombed this one. As Jon Acuff says in his book Finish, “You only have two options right now. Attempt more than is humanly possible and fail OR choose what to bomb and succeed at a goal that matters.” Wise words. So this was the area that I bombed this month, and I am not ashamed at all to say that.

Marriage Goals:
We have had intentional time together at home this month in the form of mini Netflix binges in between family activities… we had some time to go on a brief kayak trip together, a few budget meetings, one lunch date out, and at least two of what we’ll call “Family Dates” where we all went out to eat as a family this month.  We led a family small group together at church (which was incredible, by the way). This really helped us to have some really intentional conversations about our vision for our family, and how to get us there. Justin and I have both been more intentional in the past couple of years, but it was really good to bring those ideas together and let God give us a mission and a vision for our family. I’ll share those with you soon.

Health & Fitness Goals:
My goal here was to keep doing CrossFit, even if I have to modify and scale everything… to work harder at meal planning and prepping to have healthy meals readily accessible to me. I have not been perfect (though I’m not striving for perfection so that’s okay), but I feel like I’ve been pretty successful at this goal.

Financial Goals:

  • My goal was to continue in the grocery store & drugstore game for saving money with our food, toiletries, & household purchases. This has helped us SO MUCH! I have cut our grocery spending by more than half in the past two months! I will be sharing more about this soon.
  • I wanted to work on starting some sinking funds, and I have done that this month as well. I actually wrote out our “tentative” budget for each pay period through the end of the year, complete with sinking funds. This is really going to help us to be intentional with our finances and reach some much-needed goals.
  • I wanted to start preparing for Christmas. (Baby coming in December – I’ve gotta get on that!) I have purchased one gift this month to put up for Christmas, as well as spent time making several gifts. Aren’t handmade gifts the best, anyway? (I sure hope so, because that’s what our budget calls for, and I’m thankful that I have the time to allow me to spend on it, even though the money I’d like to spend is not always there.)
  • Another possible goal was to sell our house, maybe? We didn’t achieve this one, although I haven’t really done any work to sell it either. I’m kind of torn at the moment as to what to do here…. what God wants from us now. We don’t have any clear direction as of now, so we are just sitting and waiting. (We’re used to that, so it’s totally okay.) When we first put our house up for sale, we had no idea that we would be having a baby this year. You would think that might motivate us to sell it quicker and move into a new house with more space, but that’s not our goal at all. Our goal was actually to downsize and temporarily live with family and save money. Now I’m finding that I’m really content in our home, and I’m just rearranging, getting rid of clutter, and making small changes to make it into what I need it to be in order to work for us.

Professional Goals:
Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series for the month of July… I posted a few of these, though I’ve also been working on some larger posts, such as my grocery and drugstore shopping and meal planning process and to update you about our sinking funds and our goals with that.

What else We’ve Been Up to this Summer: 

  • We took a family trip to Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.
  • We made S’mores at home.
  • We dressed like cows for free Chicken at Chick-fil-A for Cow Appreciation Day.
  • We participated in Serve Day with our church.
  • We had a play date at Perk Beach.
  • We went swimming and boating at Flint Creek several times.
  • We got to see our new baby via Ultrasound this month. (And I did not peek to see the gender.)

And that’s all for now… I’ll be posting soon about my goals for the month of August!

Whatever you do, Let’s go make a plan to be purposeful! 

How and Why We Color-Code our Kids’ Things

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This tip would be another Mom Tip… Color-Coding is something we really embraced after I fell in love with the concept of minimalism.

Color-Coding Dishes
Today, I’m just talking about dishes. I had the idea to only keep the amount of dishes that we ACTUALLY use in a day. This has helped me so much with keeping up with the dishes and kitchen clean-up! Just like with laundry or anything else, the more you own and use, the more time it will take to clean up and manage. We only have enough dishes for one day in our cabinets accessible to us, and all of our dishes fit in our dishwasher now. This means that I can run it at night and wake up to clean dishes for the next day. It’s amazing how that works!

For the kids, I bought a set of plastic dishes for the kids that we all love. It was only $5 at Walmart, and it comes with a tray with divided sections (perfect for adding foods from different food groups at meals), a plate, a bowl, a cup, and utensils. The set we bought has blue, green, pink, and purple. Lawson is blue. Linkin is green. Layten is pink, and we put the purple set up for when we have guests over. I’ve actually purchased a few of these sets to have when we need them, but we only keep one set out and accessible at a time. It makes it so easy for us, and the kids love having their own color to use each time. It definitely gives them ownership and prevents any fights over who gets which one.

We have the perfect amount of dishes for a day. If they end up using a bowl for oatmeal at breakfast, and we also have soup at dinner – you know what happens? We hand wash the bowl to use it again. I know I just blew your mind with that one, but it’s really not that difficult to wash three bowls real quick. We all have one cup that we use all day long, and it can be refilled with water from a Brita picher in the fridge at any point in the day. The same is for me – I have my Yeti cup that I refill with ice and water throughout the day. If I can keep up with the routine of doing dishes every day, then we are good to go. And of course, If I’m extremely tired and go to bed without doing them, then I have to do them in the morning before we can have breakfast because there will be no clean dishes to choose from. It’s a natural consequence, even for myself.

We also have colored, reusable water bottles for when we go places, and Layten has her pink sippy cups still. Just like I like to refill my Yeti cup to take with me, I also know they might get thirsty too, so we take a lunch box, ice pack, and their bottles with us when we leave the house. This saves us money we would spend on juice boxes or pouches to take with us or by having to stop and eat out for lunch or get a snack or drink when they decide they are thirsty or hungry while we are out. If we do plan to eat out somewhere, we will let them get a juice or a lemonade to drink as a fun choice, but we try to plan around this to save money as much as possible. My kids are always with me, so running through a drive through can add up real fast.

Color-coding is not something I ever thought I would do with my kids, but it has proven to be a real time-saver and saves us some arguments too. 😉

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful!

Our Family’s “Screen Time” Rules

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This tip would be another Mom Tip… Screen Time is one of those things that’s become so common and available to our kids these days. It’s not as easy to just send your kids outside to play like it was back when we were kids. Phones, tablets, ipads, and other screens have become to go-tos for when our kids are bored and seeking something to occupy their time.

Screens are definitely not a bad thing. I watched plenty of T.V. as a child, and I turned out okay I think. But my kids would literally watch it all day long if I let them. We’ve had our fair share of “lazy days” where they’ve watched a good bit of T.V., but usually we deal with attitudes and misbehavior on days like that, so we really try to limit our kids’ screen time to some degree.

We try to save screen time for times when we need the kids to be on their best behavior. It works really well for us to take our tablets with us when we go to CrossFit. Since I don’t have a babysitter for my kids daily, and my husband is the coach – they have to go with me. This gives them something to do while I get my workout in. Some days are more laid back and they are able to do some working out with me, and some days they have other kids to play with outside and aren’t even interested in their tablets. I call this a win, but it’s still available as our backup plan.

So usually my kids get their tablets during the hour at CrossFit, and I will allow them to continue to watch them while I get a quick shower and fix dinner when we get home, but as soon as dinner is ready – we turn them off and eat together. So sometimes, they do get 2-3 hours of Screen Time per day, but you have to understand – this is after a FULL Day of imaginative play, homeschooling, running around outside, being creative, and of course their “morning checklists”, which I’ll get to in a minute.  They’ve had a full day at this point, so I definitely don’t mind that they relax a little bit in the afternoons. I know how much I just need to sit and relax sometimes during my day too, so I definitely think its okay, within reason.

Here is our Morning Checklist. It’s nothing fancy – just a page I typed out and put in a page protector pocket from the Dollar Tree and hung on the side of the fridge. We don’t use markers to check off the lists or anything. We just use it as a guide to help the kids remember what they need to be doing next, while I am doing my own morning routine of starting laundry or unloading the dishwasher. It’s especially helpful now that Lawson can read, and he can help his brother know what to do next too. I do have to help and assist with several of these things, but it’s okay. It’s just a guide and a checklist for kids’ is only good if there is also someone to supervise and make sure the things on it actually get done. That supervisor would be me, and like anything else – there are consequences if they choose to disobey and not do the things on their list. Let’s be real – sometimes that happens too. Screen time is one of those privileges that can be lost if their morning checklists are not completed. There are also other natural consequences like “not being able to play outside” until you are dressed for the day.

Some of our Screen Time Rules:
1. Morning Checklists must be completed.
2. Daily Schoolwork must be completed.
3. Ideally, we’ve had Outside Play Time, Creative, & Imaginative Play in our Day already as well.
4. Screen time CAN BE lost due to misbehavior and disobedience. It’s a privilege, not a right. It must be earned, and it can also be taken away.
5. We have locks and pass codes on everything. We have to unlock the passwords for them to turn on the tablets, to access shows rated Y-7 and up, and of course they aren’t allowed to do any web searching or purchasing either.
6. We really try to monitor the shows and games our kids have access to, and it’s not an easy job, even at the young ages of six and four. They already ask to watch shows their friends watch and things like that.

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful!

How I Organize our Budget

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This tip would be in the Financial Category… After struggling with another budgeting system and it not working for me the way I wanted to, I decided to just create my own. I’m so glad that I did.

I’ve found a Budgeting System that is working great for us, so I thought I might share it with you in case it might be helpful to you too!

First, I created a “Bill Pay Checklist”, and I use one of these sheets per pay period.
1. List all of your bills that are due each month, along with their average amounts and due dates. (You’ll need to update this as soon as you find out the exact amount each month.)
2. Divide up this list based on when your bills and payments are due each month.
3. Make up a “Pay Period Budget” for each paycheck your family receives. Decide where the money from each check will go before you even spend it.
4. It may be smart to call companies and ask about changing due dates for your bills to make them work better for you.


Currently, we get paid twice per month so I use two of these each month.

The second page of this system is “The Expense Tracker”. What I love about this page is that it also allows me to note the amount of money left in each budget category – kind of like you would do for cash envelopes, although we don’t personally use cash for our spending at this time. This page will show you –not where your money is supposed to go– but where it actually went. It would even be helpful to highlight the various categories to see how much you are spending in each. I’ve done this from time to time because it really helps us to see any problem areas or where we might need to tighten up a little bit.

Here are the links for the Budgeting Worksheets I created… enjoy!
Bill Pay Checklist
Expense Tracker

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful! 

The Laundry Basket Trick

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We are in a series where I’m sharing my favorite tips and strategies with you that help me to be more purposeful in my life, with my family, and in our household. Purposeful Planning is less about planners and planning systems and more about finding intentional, practical ways to help you do what you do better. It comes from all of the hats we wear as moms, wives, and Christian women. I’ve realized that I do actually have a lot of systems and routines that have come to work really well for me, and I thought maybe it would be helpful to share those things with you – because who knows? They might work really well for you too! So here we are with My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies!

This is one of my tried and true Household Management Tips… The Laundry Basket Trick. It’s simple, and it’s based on the principle of “Everything Has a Place”, or (EHAP). Everything in your home should have a “place” where it belongs – a home station where it should be put back after it is used. If it doesn’t, well, maybe you should start there first. 😉 

What is “The Laundry Basket Trick”?
It’s simple. Take an empty laundry basket, and set a timer for 15 minutes. Walk through your house as you gather things that have been left out that do not belong. In our home, things get transferred from room to room, by all of my family members for one reason or another, and they just need to be picked up and put back in their places at some point during the day.

There are some different ways you can do this to make it work even better for you…
1. Get your family involved. If you do this with your husband and children, just think of all the extra man-power that gives you! Maybe you set a timer for only 5 minutes per room at this point – if you have a husband and three kids helping you, that’s 25 minutes of man-power with everyone working together, when it will actually only take 5 minutes. You could even take it a step further by having one person dust the room, one person sweep, etc. You could do the main areas of the house, say the kitchen, living room, and have everyone do a quick clean up in their own room individually for the final 5 minutes.
2. Since my children are still small, I like to keep it really simple, and we take turns so I can make sure it gets done. I have my children go first, usually. First, I have them gather as many things as they can from under the couches because our couches have legs so it’s easy for things to get shoved under there, accidentally of course. Then, I have them take all of their toys and belongings back to their room. Step two for them is to clean up their room and put the things away in their proper places, while I gather up the things I see in the room and put them away myself. We all work together, and it usually works pretty good for us.

Try it this week…. let me know how it works for you!

My Purposeful Planning Tips & Strategies Series… 
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you! What do you want to know? Is there anything that interests you or an area where you’re struggling? Maybe I can help you find that solution you’re looking for! That would be such a joy and an honor for me! Let me know!

And whatever you do – let’s make a plan to be more purposeful!