Affiliate · Bargain Buys · Fabulous DEALS Friday · For the kids · Frugal Life · Gymboree

Fabulous DEALS Friday: Gymboree Labor Day Sale PLUS Secret Code for an EXTRA 20% Off!

I am a member of the Gymboree affiliate program.  I may receive compensation from purchases made through links in this post.  All opinions are my own and I never recommend anything I don’t truly love and support.

Gymboree is having an AMAZING labor day sale!  I actually REALLY struggled trying to narrow down my favorites to share!  Be sure to check out Gymboree because it is LOADED with lots of cute, marked down deals.

One of my favorite ways to shop is to stack coupons.  I was so excited when Gymboree sent me a secret code for all of my wonderful readers.  This will give you an EXTRA 20% off your entire purchase!  Just enter AUG20AFF at checkout for your extra discount.  This code will only be good through 9/1, so don’t waste any time!

I love shopping labor day sales because this is the time when I like to stock up on summer clearance sales.  I always try to shop for my kids clothes a season ahead.  So, I will be buying them a huge pile of summer clothes for NEXT year!

Here are a few of my favorite Gymboree deals:

Gymboree Girl Deals

Remember to check out with code AUG20AFF for an EXTRA 20% off, the prices listed, do NOT include that extra discount!

This Ruffle Skirt is darling!  I love the soft coral color!  It is on sale right now for $4.89!

I love these Strawberry Flip Flops.  They just say summertime to me!  You can get them right now for only $5.59.

I am so happy about the positive affirmation on the No Bad Days Tee.  Affirmations is a big part of my parenting and for only $6.99 I’m excited to buy this shirt for my daughter.

My girls are so in love with the cactus trend!  I was excited to see this Cactus Nightgown.  I know they will love it!  And at only $6.99, I love it too!  😉

Is it weird that I seriously want this Diamond Romper in my size?!?!?!  It is only $6.99, and still has all size options available!

I obviously have a thing for coral!  These Trim Shorts are so fun and summery.  I love the ruffle trim!  They are a great at price at just $6.99!

This Flamingo Tee would actually pair cute with the coral shorts!  Flamingos are so trendy right now, and this shirt is only $6.99!

I really like buying my kids high quality swim suits, but I REALLY don’t like spending over $10 on one.  (yes, I am a cheapskate!)  Gymboree has a lot of cute swim suits right now, ALL for under $10!  These are a GREAT quality swimsuit.  If you’ll be needing to buy one next year, I HIGHLY suggest buying one of these.  I loved this Zebra Swimsuit for $8.39, but they had a lot of other cute varieties.

The Gold Bow Sandals are adorable!  They are only $8.39, and I seriously can’t get enough of their cuteness!

This Colorful Hearts Tee could be cute for summer, or back to school.  It is on clearance right now for only $8.39!

My girls LOVE to wear jeggings.  They are ALL about the comfort, and I am OK with that!  These Denim Jeggings are at a great price, only $9.08.  When you can find good jeans under $10, it’s stock up time!

These Ombre Shorts are really cute and have a lot of great reviews.  They are currently only $9.09!

Gymboree Boys Deals

Remember to add the EXTRA 20% off to each of these deals to dropthe price even lower.  Code:  AUG20AFF.

My son is going to love this Motorcycle Tee.  It has a lot of great reviews and is only $5.59.

The Red Henley is really cute, and would actually work well for back to school!  It is on sale for only $6.99!

These Board Shorts are a great price at just $6.99!  They still have all sizes available and great reviews!

I love slip on sneakers for my kids!  They are just so much easier than dealing with shoe laces!  These Camo Sneakers are so cute and perfect for easy on and off!

I am buying this Plaid Shirt for my son.  I love the colors, and it’s only $9.09!

These Relaxed Shorts are my sons favorite to wear.  (Did I mention my kids were all about the comfort???  😉 )  They are currently $9.79!

Be sure to check out Gymboree to browse all the other deals!  The ones I shared are just a sliver of what’s available.  I also found so many cute baby and newborn deals!  Remember to use the secret code for an extra discount!

Happy bargain shopping!

 

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Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · Farmhouse · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Homemade · Recipes

How to Make the Perfect Zoodles

Sweet Frugal Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

My zucchini plants have been generous this year, and I have loved cooking with this delicious vegetable!  Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies because, it’s the vegetable that just keeeeeps on giving, and it is also so versatile!  We have been enjoying zucchini in bread, cookies, on the grill, fried, etc.

One of my very favorite ways to cook zucchini is to turn it into zoodles!  Zoodles is a great, healthier alternative to noodles. (and if you pick the zucchini from your garden….it’s also FREE!)  I will usually serve it under marinara or alfredo sauce, but any of your fave pasta sauces will work great!  If cooked correctly, the zoodles are really not a lot different from regular noodles.  They are also much more filling, with much less calories!  Sometimes my kids don’t even realize what they are eating……emphasis on the sometimes.

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Homemade Zoodles Tutorial

A vegetable spiralizer is my best friend when it comes to homemade zoodles.  I couldn’t find the exact one that I use, but this spiralizer on Amazon is very similar in price and design.  It is also only $15.99, great deal!

First things first, if your zucchini is long, you will want to cut it down into smaller chunks.

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Next, you will need to prep your vegetable spiralizer.  I use the Thin Spiral for my zoodles.  Put your thin spiral attachment in the spiralizer and then stick one of the zuchinni chunks into the middle, in between the handle and the blade.

Now, all you need to do is twist!  This part is so simple (and…kindof fun….really!).  The zucchini will spiral through the blade, be sure to have a plate to catch all the spirals!

You can eat the zoodles raw or cook them over the stove.  I prefer cooking them for a few minutes (don’t worry it is quick!).

Heat up 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan.  Once the oil is hot, add the zoodles.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss in oil.  Continue to gently toss the zoodles while they cook.  Cook for 2-5 minutes.  I like them to be soft, but also slightly firm.

Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.  ENJOY!!!

 

 

 

 

Birthday · Family · for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Uncategorized

Fun Birthday Traditions for Small Budgets

I love celebrating my kids birthdays every year.  It’s so fun to have one day just focused on helping them feel important and loved.  I try really hard to give them a special day to remember, WITHOUT spending very much money.  I truly believe that you do NOT need to spend money to help a child feel special.

12 No-fuss Birthday Cakes

Here are a few of our favorite frugal birthday traditions.

Decorate Bedroom

The night before a birthday birthdays, I sneak into their room after they fall asleep, and decorate.  I fill the floor with balloons and hang streamers from their doorway.  They know every night before they go to bed what will happen, but they still love it.  It’s so fun for them to wake up to a party!

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Birthday Breakfast

Birthday Pancakes are a staple at our home.  A birthday is always started with our traditional breakfast of birthday pancakes.  The only thing I do different, is add some sprinkles to the batter.  So easy, but the kids love it!  Sometimes, if I’m feeling real fancy, I’ll try to make a pancake in the shape of their initials….but let’s be real, I’m rarely fancy!  😉

Your-Choice Dinner

The birthday child always gets to choose what I make for dinner.  If they choose pizza, I make pizza!  If they want waffles, well then, I make waffles!  This isn’t a hard tradition by any means, but my kids think it’s fun to get to be in charge of all the dinner plans.

Red Birthday Plate

We have a special red plate at our house.  We only get it out on a birthday, and the birthday child gets to eat dinner on the red plate.  This is a tradition I grew up with and have enjoyed carrying the tradition on with my own children.  It’s so simple, yet for some reason, it brings so much joy to whoever gets to eat on the birthday plate.  Yes, it has a chip on it, but that is just part of the memories from this long loved plate!

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Birthday Love

While we are eating dinner we take turns going around the table and every family member shares something they love about the birthday child.  I love this time with my family.  I love focusing on all of the many wonderful qualities in each of my kids, and getting to hear them express these to each other.

Bedtime Stories

At bedtime I lay with the birthday child and share the story of their birth.  I try to go through all the details of their day years ago, including every up and down.  I always end with sharing how that day was one of the most special, important, beautiful days of my life and I talk about just how perfect my life has become because they were born.

 

These traditions do not cost much money.  I spend a few dollars on streamers and balloons and these usually last me a couple of years.  10 years ago I bought a red plate for $5, and it is still being used and loved.  It does NOT take a “pinterest worthy” birthday to celebrate a loved one.  All it takes is a little thought and a lot of love.

 

Frugal Life · Money Helps

How to Have a Successful Move while on a Tight Budget

My husband and I have had plenty of practice moving!

We have been married 14 years and in that time we have moved 9 different times.  This includes 6 different cities and 4 moves across the state border.  We have made PLENTY of mistakes along the way, and over time have learned the best ways to keep the move simple and most importantly, FRUGAL.

I wanted to share a few of the tips and tricks we have learned a long the way to help you on your upcoming moves.

moving on a budget

10 Tips for Moving on a Budget

1.  Budget

The moment you know you will be moving, make a plan.  Set a budget of how much money you will be able to spend on this move.  Once the budget is made, stick to it.  Whatever number you decided on, find a way to make it work.  It might not be easy, it probably WON’T be easy, but you need to do what you can to stay in budget.

2.  Make a Sinking Fund

After you have your moving budget, you will want to set up a sinking fund.  This sinking fund will help you slowly save up cash, so that when the time comes you will be prepared financially for the move.  If you know of the move months in advance this should give you plenty of time to contribute to your sinking fund.  If the move is quicker and you will only have a few weeks still make your sinking fund and try to save as much as you can each day.  You want this sinking fund to be able to cover the cost of your move.

3.  Skip the Moving Company

You can do this!  It won’t be easy, and it won’t be fun, but you can move without a moving company!  I PROMISE.  Begin packing and organizing the MINUTE you find out you will be needing to move.  Enlist a few friends to spend a Saturday helping you pack boxes and another Saturday loading and unloading the moving trucks.  Make sure to buy these amazing friends some pizza or donuts to let them know you appreciate their time and service.  You will save so much money simply by doing the work yourself.

4.  Shop Around

If going the DIY route for moving isn’t the best option and you will need to hire a moving company.  Always shop around before hiring anyone.  Get quotes from a variety of moving companies and check referrals to find the best company for you.  Consider doing half of the work yourself and hiring the moving company for the other half.  Don’t be afraid to barter a little and ask them to beat competitors prices or give you a discount.  The worse thing they could say is no.

5.  Do Not Buy Boxes

From the very first minute you find out you’re moving be on the lookout for boxes.  If you know where to look they can be very easy to find.  Ask all of your friends and family to start giving you all of their amazon boxes or any other box they might get in the mail.  Be on the look out for boxes at the grocery store.  You can usually find a cart or two full of empty boxes from employees stocking shelves.  Most stores are more than happy to let you take boxes.  We found the BEST boxes at Lowes.  Some employees will happily give you large boxes, but others weren’t so sure…..so maybe ask a few different people!

6.  Organize!

There is no such thing as to much organizing when it comes to moving.  Be sure to label all boxes.  Include the box contents, the room it needs to go in, and whether it contains fragile items.  Try to pack items together that will need to go to the same room.  This will save you a ton of time when you start unpacking.

7.  Find Packing Filler at Home

Pack your fragile items with a few of your soft household supplies.  This will save you from needing to buy packing paper.  I will usually wrap my dishes with my dishcloths and pack some of my fragile decor with my towels.  There are so many options, get creative, you could use sheets, clothes, blankets, etc.

8.  Sell or Donate

Moving is the BEST time to donate or sell items that aren’t useful to you anymore.  You can read more about how to sell items online here.  The less stuff you have to pack means the less boxes, tape, moving power, etc. you will need.  It WILL save you money!  AND, if you are selling items, you can even EARN money at the same time!  (double win!)

9.  Shop Utilities

With moving comes cancelling/setting up utilities.  Before setting up internet, cable, phone, or dish be sure to shop around.  Many of these companies will give a good discount to new customers.  This could also be a great time to change habits and ditch the cable all together.

10.  Be Flexible

Moving is STRESSFUL, expensive and hard!  Give yourself grace and try to be flexible with all of the ups and downs that will come your way.  Remember that the hard moments will be temporary, and one of the only ways to get through it is just to grin and bear it.  Be true to yourself and your budget, but also be willing to go with the flow once the time comes.

What are some ways YOU have saved money on a move?  Please share in the comments below so we can help each other spend less and live more frugally!

Birthday · Family · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Parenting

LEGO Birthday Party for Under $20

We had an exciting birthday at our house recently!  My son turned six years old!.  It didn’t take him long to decide that he wanted a LEGO themed birthday party with all of his friends..  He loves all things LEGO and I was excited to make this party all come together.

I wanted to give him a special birthday, but I also wanted to spend the LEAST amount of money as possible.  And, I DID it!  The party was a huge success, and I spent LESS than $20!  I’ll break down everything that I did and each of the expenses.

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The Invitations:  $0

Sticking with the theme we (obviously) wanted LEGO themed invitations, and to save money I committed to only using supplies I already had at home.

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The invites were made out of red and orange card stock cut into a rectangle.  I cut out six circles per card in matching colors to glue to the front.  I had a little foam eraser that wasn’t being used so I cut a small circle from that and glued it under each circle.  This helped the circles look a little more 3D and resemble a LEGO design.

Inside the LEGO invite was just a simple typed up paper with all of the party info.  It only took me a few minutes to whip it up on my computer!

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My son adored these invitations, and didn’t cost me any money Big win!

The Decorations:  $4

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I tried to go fairly simple on the decorations (these are 6 year old boys we are talking about….I don’t think they even noticed much of the decor!).

First stop is ALWAYS The Dollar Tree!  While there I bought a pack of balloons and a couple rolls of streamers.  I tried to focus on the classic LEGO colors of red, yellow, green and blue. I used these items to decorate throughout the house.

For the table center piece I grabbed a few of our mason jars from our storage room and filled them with some LEGOs from our collections.  These also ended up being so fun for the kids to build with while they were waiting for me to serve the cake.

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The total for decorations came to only $4!

The Food:  $6

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To cut costs on food, I decided to have cake the only food served at the party.  I made the cake from scratch, spent $2 on the frosting, and $3 for the Oreos used on top.

I had big goals of decorating the cake to look like a giant LEGO.  Truthfully, it didn’t turn out great…..but, my son thought it was the coolest cake ever, and that’s all that matters!

The cake was so simple to make.  I cooked the batter in a 9×13 pan and then frosted it with blue frosting.  I also frosted the Oreos with the same frosting and placed them on top so that it would resemble a LEGO.  My kids told me that the cake needed the word LEGO on the Oreos, so I used a toothpick to include write out the word.

These darling LEGO themed plates were also found at The Dollar Tree (of course!).  I had plastic cups and forks already at home so I used them on the table as well. I decided instead of buying a plastic tablecloth (like I usually do), that I would just use a fabric tablecloth that I already owned!  It worked out perfect!

Out of all the categories, I spent the most money on food.  The total came to $6.

The Games:  $2

Honestly, I don’t love planning birthday party games.  It always feels so stressful to me.  I decided to go a little more simple and stress free this year, and it seemed to work!  A plus side is simple is that also usually means less money (and I always like spending less!)!

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We started with “Pin the Head on the LEGO Man.”  It was a huge hit!  The kids loved getting to choose from the variety of fun faces.  I found the printable here.

Another fun game was “Don’t Eat Pete.”  The favorite part was getting to be the one to go out of the room and try not to eat Pete.  We made sure everyone had a turn (or two!) and it was so fun.  I found this printable here.

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Another fun (and easy) game was the LEGO treasure hunt.  I hid a bunch of our LEGOs around our yard.  The kids all ran around trying to find as many as they could.  (kindof like an easter egg LEGO hunt! 😉 )

Once we found all of the LEGOs I split the kids into two teams for a LEGO on the spoon relay race!  Each team was given a bucket of LEGOs and a spoon.  They had to walk with a LEGO on their spoon across the yard a little ways and drop their LEGO into another bucket.  The first team to successfully bring all of their LEGOs across wins!  It was so fun watching all those little boys trying to run fast AND balance their LEGO!

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Our last game was probably the favorite!  I spray painted two boxes (I bought the spray paint for $2), and then cut two holes in each box.  The kids had to stand at some tape I put on the ground and try to throw a ball into one of the holes.  This was a little hard for most of the kids, which created a fun challenge.  They wanted to play this game for a few rounds to try to get the ball in each of the holes.

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I have decided simple really is the best way to go!  I was A LOT less stressed this time and I only spent a total of $2 for all of the games!

The Party Favors:  $5

I really struggled trying to come up with a cute yet frugal LEGO themed party favor.  I was THRILLED when I found these cute little LEGO boxes at The Dollar Tree.  They came in a pack of 4 for $1, so I bought 2 packs.  I also bought three packs of Starbursts for $1 each.

I filled each of the boxes with a few pieces of Starbursts candy and the kids LOVED them!  I thought the candy would be the hit, but the favorite was definitely having their very own little box. It ended up being the PERFECT favor, and I only spent $5!

The Total:  $17

In total I spent $17!  I was so thrilled that I was able to pull this party off without having to spent a lot of money.

I’ve realized that kids REALLY don’t care how extravagant the party is….all my son wanted was to have a few friends over, blow out candles on his birthday cake, and open a few presents.

He didn’t notice that the party was all done on a very small budget.  All he noticed was that his family and friends were taking the time to show him some love.  And you know what….THAT is ALL that matters!

Affiliate · Amazon · Family · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Homemade · Parenting · Recipes

How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag

Sweet Frugal Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I’ve always said that I was born in the wrong decade!  I truly yearn for the simple life of the early 1900s.  I think that’s partly why I love being frugal.  I get so much satisfaction from growing and making my own food; and living a simpler, less materialistic life.

When we make our own ice cream it reminds me of simpler times.  It’s a way for the entire family to make our very own ice cream, no need to go to an ice cream parlor or the grocery store.  We can do it on our own!

We always have ice cream in a bag on our summer bucket list.  It’s easy (the kids can do it themselves!).  It’s cheap.  It’s fun.  I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand.  And, who doesn’t love ice cream on a hot summers day????  I know we do!

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Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe

1 cup Half and Half (I usually just use plain milk and it works just as good!)

2 TBSP Sugar

Favorite Mix-Ins:  any combination of the following

1 TBSP vanilla

1 TBSP cocoa

Chocolate Syrup

Fruit

Mix half and half, sugar and one or more mix ins (we used cocoa) in a quart size Ziploc freezer bag.

In a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag dump in a lot of ice and about 1/2 cup ice cream salt (I never measure this, I just kind of guess).

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Take the quart size bag with the ice cream ingredients and get out all the air and seal it shut.  Make sure the bag is sealed tight so no salt will get inside.  Place the quart size bag inside of the gallon size bag.

Now for the fun part.  You shake it!  This takes about 5-10 minutes of HARD shaking. It’s important to be shaking it constantly. I will usually help my little kids to make sure it gets nice and frozen.

Once the milk mixture looks frozen, take the quart size bag out and rinse it under cold water.  This helps to wash off any excess salt.

Pour it into your bowl, top with sprinkles if you’d like, and ENJOY!  I love the simplicity of this activity, and the excitement the kids get out of making their very own personal ice cream!

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!  It’s fun to try to make different flavors!  My daughter had the idea to use a little mint extract and chocolate chips in our next batch for our own chocolate mint flavor!  There is really no right or wrong combo!

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Affiliate · Fabulous DEALS Friday · For the kids · Frugal Life

Fabulous DEALS Friday: Kids School Uniforms

I am a member of online affiliate programs.  I may receive compensation for purchases made through links on this post.  All opinions are my own and I only share deals I truly believe are fabulous!

Have you been busy back to school shopping like I have????  It’s always a stressful time of year for me because I want to get my kids good quality clothes while also spending the least amount as possible!  Check out last weeks post for all the best deals on school supplies!

My kids are required to wear uniforms at their school.  I have been searching the internet all day trying to find the best DEALS on all things uniforms!

I wanted to share with everyone my findings, just in case you are also needing to buy uniforms for the upcoming school year!

Uniform Polo Shirts

Old Navy currently has the cheapest polo shirts I could find.  Select styles are currently on sale for only $4 each.  This is stock up price!  Be sure to shop through ebates and you will receive 6% cashback on your Old Navy purchase.  You can find the girl polo version here and the boy polo version here.

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Uniform Pants

The Childrens Place currently has the cheapest uniform pants.  They are ONLY $8.00 AND Children’s Place gives FREE shipping on ALL orders!  If you shop through the ebates app you will get 1.5% cashback from The Childrens Place.  If you’re going to buy it anyways, you might as well get some cashback at the same time, am I right?!?!?!  You can find the girls uniform pants here and the boys uniform pants here.

Girls Uniform Skinny Pants

Boys Skinny Chino Pants

Uniform Skirt

The Childrens Place ALSO has the cheapest uniform skirts.  They are just $7.47 and again you will get it with FREE shipping and 1.5% cashback by shopping through ebates.  You can find the uniform skirt here.

Girls Uniform Pleated Skort

Uniform Jumper

The cheapest uniform jumper is found at Old Navy for $9.50.  This is a great deal and they have two color options available!  Don’t forget to shop Old Navy through ebates for the extra 6% cashback.  You can find the jumper here.

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Boys Uniform Sweater Vest

Crazy 8 has the cheapest boys sweater vest.  I love dressing my boy up a little fancier than he probably would like!  This sweater vest is perfect for that!  It is only $8.44!! Shop Crazy 8 through ebates for 1% cashback.  You can find the boys sweater vest here.

Where have you been finding the best back to school deals????  Leave me a comment below sharing all of YOUR great tips!  Happy Frugal Shopping!

Bargain Buys · Family · Finances · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin · Money Helps · Parenting · Recipes · Walmart Grocery Pickup

What I Learned From the July Pantry Challenge

I am a member of online affiliate programs.  I may receive compensation for purchases made through links in this post.  All opinions are my own and I only recommend things I truly use and love!

I just finished my month long pantry challenge!!  If you’re not aware of the term, a pantry challenge is meant to encourage you to use up items you already have in your home, (pantry, fridge, freezer, shelves, etc.), instead of spending money at the store on groceries.

My goal was to save a little extra money during the month by spending less on groceries.  To do this I decided to cut my regular grocery budget of $400 a month in half.  This would mean I could only spend $200 for our family of five.  This was no easy task and I was incredibly intimidated from the beginning, but I was determined to make it work.

The pantry challenge is now officially over (thank goodness) and I am proud of how the challenge went.  I would LOVE to say that I was able to only spend $200 on groceries….but I didn’t quite accomplish that.  I went over budget by $1.98.  I spent $201.98 on groceries for our family of five….and you know what I am so PROUD of MYSELF!!!

I wanted to share all about how I was able to make it work and what I learned during the process.

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Make a Plan

The ONLY way I could be successful with this pantry challenge was to plan ahead. I’ve always been a meal planner, but I learned quickly I needed to be much more detailed about planning every snack and meal.

At the beginning of each week I looked through my pantry, made an inventory of all our food.  I wrote down the meals and snacks we could make with what we ALREADY had in the house.

I was able to eat out of the pantry exclusively about 50% of the time.  The other 50% of the meals I tried to only plan really frugal meals with only a few cheap ingredients I would need to buy.  This meal planner that I use is available as a Free Printable in my Free Frugal Living Challenge.

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Successful Meal Plans

I listed out a few of the meals and snacks I found to be the most helpful in keeping the grocery costs low.  A few of these recipes (starred) are also available for free in my Frugal Living Challenge.

Breakfasts

*Fluffy Eggs

Pancakes

Eggs and Toast

Oatmeal

*Breakfast Potato Casserole

*Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Lunch

Muffin Tin Lunch

Sandwiches

Salad from Garden

Leftovers

Dinner

*Freezer Burritos

Layered Zuchinni

Spaghetti

*Taco Soup

*Balsamic Chicken

Pasta Bake

*Taco Tortilla Soup

Grilled Chicken

*Korean Beef

*Baked Island Chicken

Snacks

Pretzels

Homemade Cookies

Energy Bites

Popcorn

Canned Fruit

Bananas

Homemade Pudding

Homemade Bread

Grocery Shopping

I am a little obsessed with grocery shopping using Walmart Grocery Pickup (hello, shopping in my PJs and groceries loaded in the car FOR ME!  Sign me up!).

With my $200 monthly grocery budget, I was only allowed $50 a week.  One of my favorite things about Walmart Grocery Pickup is the ability to watch my cart total while I’m shopping.  (I know I COULD use a calculator at the store, but I’m just not great at it….) Being able to see how much I’m spending WHILE I’m shopping was crucial for me during this challenge.

If my cart ever went over the $50 amount I knew I needed to go back through the cart and delete a few items.  This was MUCH harder to do than I had anticipated!  My family all had to sacrifice a few items we were use to having regularly in order to make the month work.

Getting the Family Involved

I would LOVE to tell you that my family was totally on board and excited about my little July Pantry Challenge Experiment……but, they didn’t really love the idea.  When they saw the amount of food I was bringing home with each grocery trip they started complaining about the lack of food.

I tried to get my kids excited about the goal and had them help me make a lot of our homemade snacks.  They liked being able to help and were somewhat excited at the thought of having a challenge.

Unfortunately, this only lasted a couple of weeks.  As the month went on they began to get a really tired of the challenge.  The biggest problem was the snacks.  They are use to having snacks in the pantry, and we just couldn’t have those this month.  I decided to make a list of snacks we did have available and I hung it on the fridge.  This helped them a lot!  I think they had gotten so use to those convenience snacks (not awesome parenting, I know) that they had forgotten about all the other great options we had.

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Even though my family didn’t necessarily ENJOY the pantry challenge, I am really glad they were able to go through it with me.  It was such a good life lesson for my kids to learn about stretching dollars and how much food really costs.

What I learned

My biggest takeaway from the July Pantry Challenge is that I CAN live on less than I usually do. Yes, it took A LOT more effort, (preparing a lot more food from scratch and a lot of time planning), but I CAN do it!  We survived.

Moving forward I have a new sense of motivation to stay in budget, shop my pantry, and really spend with a purpose.  I’ve always told myself the lie that I HAVE to spend money on this food because we NEED it……but, we don’t!  We were just fine having less food around.  I am excited to take this new knowledge and adjust my grocery shopping from here on out.

What’s Next

My pantry challenge is over!  Does this mean I get to spend a lot of money next month restocking my shelves?????  Absolutely NOT!

I will be going back to my regular grocery budget of $400 a month.  I will slowly try to restock my pantry, but I will always stay within that $400 budget.

I honestly was terrified for this challenge!  I really didn’t know if I would be able to meet my goal, $400 a month is usually a little bit of a challenge.  But I did it, and I’m so glad I was willing to try!  If you are wanting to find a way to save a little extra cash, try having your own personal Pantry Challenge.  Be sure to come back and let me know if you did it and how it went!!