6 Tips for Combating the Mid-Year Frugal Slide

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It’s July, and for most of us, Our New Years Resolutions are a thing of the past. Mr. and I were talking today about ways we could reign in our budget. We’re not making it rain by any means, but… we could make a few changes. Here are my top ten tips, and trust me, I’ve already started incorporating some of these. I’ll have all of them back in the works by weeks’ end.

  1. Back to meal planning and sticking to it. No more trips to Denny’s when I am feeling lazy in the morning, or Mondays after group therapy.  That means I’ll be back to meal planning posts and new recipes too. And I’ll have several “back up dinners” on-hand in case the day gets away from me, or it’s too hot to cook the original meal. I took advantage of the sale on chicken breasts at Smart & Final the other day, and picked up 10 lbs. I came home and cut up the whole half breasts into more manageable sizes, and marinated some of it with different spices and put it in ziploc bags in the freezer. 10 lbs of chicken should get us 5 dinners, plus leftovers from each meal.
  2. Back to maintaining a robust snack bag in the car, refilling it daily, and remembering our water bottles when we leave the house. I fill our water bottles (we have these for the kids and these for the adults- in 40 oz) with water and ice before we leave in the AM and refill them as needed throughout the day in various places.
  3. In conjunction with #2, start taking surveys on receipts for deep discounts and free stuff again. I am Sonic’s text list, so when they have a daily deal that I have change in my car for, the kids and I stop for .50 ice cream cones, 1/2 price drinks (cherry limeade!). Frequently when you check out, there is a survey on the bottom of the receipt that will score you an XL (Route 44) size beverage for free! I really need to get back into stretching the buck.
  4. Check all my apps before I go shopping. I’ve been bad about this over the past few months. I’m sure I’ve missed out on Ibotta deals, Checkout 51 offers, and Cash Dash promos. No More! I’m back, baby!!
  5. Allowance. Yup, just like a teenager, I’m putting myself on an allowance, and Mr. is going to as well. I’m sticking to $40 in the summer, and $25 once we are back to school. This will just be for “fun money”. I still shop around for gas to stay within budget for gas each week. Costco is usually the cheapest.
  6. Keeping eyes open for cheap entertainment. Big Dude is in ESY (summer school) for the next few weeks, so a lot of the traditional summer things that are fun and cheap we haven’t been able to do (like Regal Summer Movies). We’ve mostly been doing fun stuff at the library, which is free, but I think we need to look beyond that. It’s starting to get too hot for park play dates!

I’d love to hear from you about how you combat the frugal slide. What do you do when you feel yourself slipping off your track?

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Weekly Meal Plan

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So, I know it’s Tuesday, but we were at Legoland yesterday for the opening of the Deep Sea Adventure. I need to get back to meal planning for the week because without it, I’m getting lazy!

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. I also keep sandwich ziploc bags of  other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

For dinner, when we’ve got buy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked. This week, I plan on making a couple pizza crusts, and put them in the freezer in individual bags so we can have pizza whenever we want without having to call Dominos. I also plan on doing some meal prep this coming weekend for the coming week.

Monday: we had Jack in the Box on the way home from Legoland. We left later and got home even later.

Tuesday: The kids asked for Pancakes, so I whipped up a batch. For them, I just made regular pancakes, for Mister and myself, I made pancakes, but put a slice of bacon in batter after it’s poured onto the griddle. Yum.

Wednesday: BBQ at my parents house. It’s a potluck, and we’re bringing corn to grill, and a tasty green salad. There will be fried chicken, salads of all types, baked beans, and a brownie sundae bar!

Thursday: Pulled Pork. Onions, yellow bell peppers, carrots, celery, garlic, shallots, bay leaves, and about a cup of La Victoria Salsa Verde Pineapple Salsa, All cooked with a pork tenderloin roast. I’ll be starting it Wednesday night.  In the morning I’ll shred the roast with two forks, and vent the lid to cook off the excess moisture.  By 5 PM, the meat will melt in our mouths. I’ll be serving it with tortillas, rice, bans, and a green salad.

Friday: Leftovers, I’m guessing, or maybe quesadillas. Friday is usually date night, but it’s tech week for Mister’s play, and he opens Friday Night.

Saturday: Home Made Pizza- I’ll probably bust out a few extra crusts at the same time to freeze.

Sunday: Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash casserole– I’ve got 4 small spaghetti squash that need to be baked! I’m going to try cooking them in the crockpot- I saw a post on Facebook about it a few weeks ago and I saved the video.

What are you having this week for dinner?

 

Chick-Fil-A Cow Appreciation Day is coming!

Are you ready? Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A is coming up on July 10th! The kids love it, so we are prepping to go. You can check out my past post here with how you can DIY a quick costume with stuff that you may already have around the house.

It’s easy to score a free Entree at Chick-Fil-A on 7/10/18:

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Anyone who goes into Chick-Fil-A wearing any sort of cow apparel will receive a free entrée on July 10th.

Children wearing anything cow-like will receive a free Kid’s Meal.

I’ve been saving the treats (I’ve got a free fries and a free fruit cup, and a free White Peach Tea Lemonade) on my Chick-fil-a app to use on the same day- So lunch will be free for all of us.

I’ll be posting pics of our adventure on Instagram, I can’t wait to see yours as well!

New Month, New Coupons!

I’m a day late, I totally forgot it was the beginning of the month!

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

Check out the following sites:

One of my favorite website is the Sunday Coupon Review.  It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

Here are just a few of the new coupons that have me excited:

Save $0.50 when you buy ONE BOX Reese’s Puffs cereal
The kids love this cereal, esp. straight from the box.
Save $0.50 when you buy TWO any flavor/variety LÄRABAR™ bars

There aren’t too many new coupons this month, sadly, however, if you check out the Smartphone apps link above, you’ll find that there are plenty of ways to save and earn money. I recently cashed out $20 on Ibotta and $25 on Dosh!

New Dosh Promotion: Refer Friends, Get $15

In January, I introduced you to Dosh, a new Cashback app that you can use at tons of stores and restaurants all over.

I opened my email yesterday to discover this:

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Limited Time Promo: Get $15 for each friend you refer to Dosh who links a card and gets in-store cash back for the first time.*

Promo ends April 13th at 12pm CT, so start referring! Click for details.

So get Dosh-ing!  I now I’ll be saving my referral $$ to bankroll my next giveaway (Hint- it rhymes with Smamazon Smiftcard).

I’ve earned over $60 since January just by doing my normal shopping.

 

Two Freebies from Kroger Stores!

This week there are two freebies! One from Ralphs, and one from Food4Less (but you can grab both at Ralphs).

Ralphs: FREE EPIC Bar Receive ONE (1) FREE EPIC Bar, any variety (1.3-1.5 oz.). Available in most stores. Exp 02/11/2018

Food4LessFREE Laura Scudder’s Dry Dip Mix or Guacamole Seasoning Receive TWO (2) Laura Scudder’s Dry Dip Mixes, any variety, or Guacamole Seasoning (0.5 oz.) Exp 2/11/18

If you are new to Free Friday Downloads from Ralph’s, here is more info about how it works:

WHAT IS FREE FRIDAY DOWNLOAD? An exclusive benefit to having an account online at ralphs.com is FREE products (yes, we said FREE!). When you download the free product coupon, it will be loaded directly to your Shopper’s Card and applied at checkout in-store.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Visit this page on Fridays

DOWNLOAD the digital coupon for the free product (make sure to download between 12:01 am and 11:59pm PT). View the coupon under ‘My Coupons’ in your account online or in the mobile app.

You have two weeks to redeem this coupon in store! Pick up the product at your local Ralphs store and digital coupon will automatically apply at checkout.

Don’t forget to check out the Kroger affiliate in your area, if you don’t have a Ralphs. There are usually freebies for all of the stores!

Save Money with RetailMeNot!

Ya’ll know I love a good deal, right? I’ve been a huge fan of RetailMeNot for years. It’s my go-to website for online shopping discounts, in-store coupons, and coupon codes.

Example: I love Yankee Candles, but they are a little spendy. Before Christmas I checked RetailMeNot and I found a $10/$25+ printable coupon for Yankee Candle. I used the coupon in conjunction with a store sale and I was able to score 6 candles for $34- I saved over $50 off regular prices.

I keep up to date on which stores have coupon codes and deals with RetailMeNot by receiving their newsletter via email. You can sign up here.

They also have coupons that can be displayed on your phone and scanned in store. There are a lot of ways to save with RetailMeNot.