Reminder: Check A-L-L Grocery Catalogs!

 

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When I load up my Flipp app, there are literally hundreds of catalogs that pop up. On a regular day (or week), I usually don’t bother looking at any of the catalogs for stores that I don’t frequent. To be honest, I am probably missing out on deals I’m not even aware of. In truth, it is kind of a pain to skim through tons of catalogs, but in the long run, you do save money. Effort always pays off.

 

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Frugal Tips – Shop Your Pantry!

Today was a great example as to why it is important to shop your pantry before going out to buy something else.  Let me explain.

This morning my husband woke me with news that there was an error alert on my desktop screen. Of course Luna (my cat) decided to sleep on my keyboard last night. She somehow  managed to manually reset my computer! (LOL) I was not surprised; this is definitely a Luna thing. She has turned off our Xbox One with her tail, as well as reset the internet – quite the trouble maker! Unfortunately, I spent the remainder of the day getting my laptop back in working order!

Anyhow, all of this had me completely forgetting that I had the Peapod delivery set for this afternoon! I missed 3 calls from Peapod while focusing on my laptop fiasco – one that they were in the neighborhood, another when they arrived, and a last one that notified me of out-of-stock items that did not make it in my delivery. It is one of my favorite features about Peapod, yet the alert only works if you pay attention to your phone…

So, as you can imagine, I was completely thrown off from my meal plan I had put together for the next few weeks. Instead of going out to the store to pick up those missing items, we decided it would make more sense money-wise to first see what we had in our pantry.

A lot of the time we think there is nothing to eat in our homes, but in reality, we have food – we just don’t really want to eat it – or don’t know what to eat it with, how to prepare it, ect.

This is a great time to get creative and/or to check out some recipes online. Tomorrow we plan to do just that! I’ll keep you folks posted on how well we improvise with what we already have at home!

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Easter 2016 Sales: Where To Get The Best Deals This Weekend

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How are you spending this holiday weekend? Hunting for eggs, morning church service, or shopping for a much needed spring wardrobe?

If you plan to relax at home, and perhaps do a little online shopping – you’re in luck!

Courtesy of International Business Times, I’ve got a list of some of the best deals running all weekend. Check it out!

American Eagle is offering 50 percent off men’s, women’s and Aerie clearance items on its website through next week.

Pier 1 Imports is offering 20 percent off customers’ purchases with the code SPRING20. Indoor dining room furniture and cabinets have their own sales running, as well.

Macy’s will give shoppers 20 percent off with the promo code EASTER. On top of that, home goods are 15 percent off — some of the best deals include a $29.99 Black & Decker blender and $600 Vitamix. If you spend more than $50, you can get free shipping through Saturday.

Through Saturday, Michael’s is giving $2.95 shipping with the promo code 295MARCHW. The store is closed Sunday, so be sure to take advantage of the buy one, get one half off Easter basket stuffers before then.

Urban Outfitters is taking 20 percent off all dresses both in store and online.

At Williams-Sonoma, you can get free shipping on big orders with the promo code SHIP4FREE. Also score 20 percent off soaps, roasters and spring bakeware, or nab a Wüsthof steak knife for 60 percent off.

Your order at Old Navy will be 30 percent off even without a promo code. Their spring styles sale features T-shirts as low as $5 and dresses starting at $15. Get free shipping by entering FREEDOM at checkout.

This weekend, H&M is giving customers free shipping if they use the code 3371 at checkout. The brand also has deals that make prices as low as $4.99.

Rad.com is offering 40 percent off spring essentials, which include T-shirts and sweatshirts with a variety of prints.

There are several promo codes you can use on Snapfish to get cool photo prints at low prices. Try 50SPR16 for half off your order, or 29FS0316 through the end of the weekend to score free shipping. Plug in 3BKSM16 for a buy one photo book, get two free deal.

Xbox is running a spring sale where you can buy an Xbox One for $299. Games are up to $20 percent off.

 

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Hollar.com Haul – Unboxing & Review

Hey gang!

So, after waiting in line for an hour at the post office, I finally got my Hollar package in hand!

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Everything looks great except these earrings, which are chipped in the skull and crossbones:

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All the pens have smooth ink, and nothing is damaged or opened. The only other thing to note is the the kitten stickers are raised (puffy). The red crochet scarf with a rose is missing from the photo. It is very thick and warm and the detail is impressive. I’ll get a picture of it up on the blog soon! Click here to get $2 off your order!

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Thrifty Tips: Top 30 Foods To Buy When You’re Broke

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Here is a list of pantry items, fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats that are generally always affordable (even when not on sale)! I cook with most of these foods on a weekly basis because their prices are generally stable, as well as low everywhere. Without these particular foods, I probably wouldn’t be able to stick to my grocery budget every single week!

  1. Rice
  2. Pasta noodles
  3. Dry beans
  4. Lentils
  5. Oatmeal
  6. Variety of canned tomatoes (tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes)
  7. Peanut butter
  8. Pasta sauce
  9. Frozen vegetables
  10. Bananas
  11. Apples
  12. Oranges
  13. Onions
  14. Garlic
  15. Carrots
  16. Cabbage
  17. Potatoes
  18. Lettuce
  19. Tomatoes
  20. Eggs
  21. Canned tuna
  22. Chicken thighs
  23. Chicken quartered legs
  24. Whole chicken
  25. Pack of 100 generic black tea
  26. Sugar
  27. Flour
  28. Bread
  29. Crackers
  30. Powdered Milk

 

 

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Thrifty Tips: Honey Browser Extension

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Honey (app) is no more of a savvy shopper’s dream than it is a couponer’s dream! Me? I’m both – I love online shopping and I love coupons.

Honey is a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that searches for the best coupons to apply to your shopping cart. Instead of digging on every single coupon website, this app does all that work for you and applies the coupons directly to your online order! How cool is that?!

Download the Honey app to your browser now by clicking right here.

When it comes to striking up an awesome deal, you can sometimes do a better job at home. For starters, you can take your time. There is no hectic, crowded, and anxiety-filled trip to the mall.

Secondly, you can really think about how much you want a product before you buy it and only buy what you REALLY love (which is a huge minimalist motto, by the way).

You don’t need to get in that long line – you don’t even need to buy it right now, or even today! You can leave your items in the cart and sleep on it. In fact, some suggest doing just that – did you know that leaving items in your shopping cart often results in receiving another coupon? According to this LifeHacker article, that is indeed true!

Wondering which online retailers support the Honey app? Here’s a list right here!

1800contacts.com
1800flowers.com
1800petmeds.com
6pm.com
abebooks.com
accorhotels.com
acehardware.com
ae.com
aeropostale.com
alibris.com
alloy.com
alloyapparel.com
alssports.com
amazon.com
amazon.ca
amazon.co.uk
americanapparel.com
americangirl.com
amyadele.com
angieslist.com
anntaylor.com
apple.com
armaniexchange.com
ashford.com
asianfoodgrocer.com
asos.com
athleta.com
avenue.com
avon.com
backyardocean.com
ballarddesigns.com
bambeco.com
bananarepublic.com
barnesandnoble.com
baronbob.com
bathandbodyworks.com
bcbg.com
beauty.com
bensherman.com
bestbuy.com
bestwestern.com
beyondblossoms.com
bloomingdales.com
bluenile.com
bodenusa.com
bodybuilding.com
bonton.com
bookit.com
bookrenter.com
brookstone.com
buildabear.com
butterflyphoto.com
buydig.com
cabelas.com
cache.com
cafepress.com
calvinklein.com
campusbookrentals.com
campusspecial.com
carsons.com
carters.com
casa.com
champssports.com
charlotterusse.com
cheaptickets.com
chegg.com
childrensplace.com
claires.com
clinique.com
coastal.com
coldwatercreek.com
compuvest.com
cookieskids.com
cosabella.com
costco.com
cowboom.com
crateandbarrel.com
crocs.com
cubavera.com
cvs.com
delias.com
dell.com
designsbystephene.com
destinationmaternity.com
diapers.com
dickssportinggoods.com
dockers.com
dominos.com
dormify.com
drugstore.com
dsw.com
eat24.com
ebags.com
ecampus.com
ediblearrangements.com
efurnituremart.com
eharmony.com
ems.com
espow.com
etoys.com
expedia.com
express.com
eyeslipsface.com
fandango.com
fao.com
finejewelers.com
fingerhut.com
finishline.com
forever21.com
fossil.com
frenchconnection.com
frontgate.com
ftd.com
funslurp.com
gamestop.com
gap.com
garden.com
giggle.com
glassesusa.com
gnc.com
godaddy.com
godiva.com
gohastings.com
gojane.com
groupon.com
grubhub.com
guitarcenter.com
gymboree.com
gypsywarrior.com
hayneedle.com
hm.com
homedepot.com
hostgator.com
hotels.com
hottopic.com
hp.com
hsn.com
ice.com
isabellaoliver.com
istockphoto.com
jcpenney.com
jcrew.com
jewelry.com
jjill.com
joann.com
jomadeals.com
juicycouture.com
justdeals.com
karmaloop.com
kennethcole.com
kikkerland.com
kirklands.com
kmart.com
kohls.com
konasports.com
lanebryant.com
lastcall.com
lego.com
lenovo.com
livingsocial.com
llbean.com
loehmanns.com
loft.com
logitech.com
lowes.com
lulus.com
macconnection.com
maccosmetics.com
macys.com
magazines.com
makari.com
mattel.com
maurices.com
menswearhouse.com
metrostyle.com
michaels.com
monoprice.com
musiciansfriend.com
myhosting.com
namecheap.com
nashbar.com
nastygal.com
naturalskinshop.com
nautica.com
neimanmarcus.com
newegg.com
nike.com
nordstrom.com
obaz.com
officedepot.com
officemax.com
oldnavy.com
onestopplus.com
orbitz.com
orientaltrading.com
origin.com
osh.com
otterbox.com
ouidad.com
overstock.com
pacsun.com
panasonic.com
papajohns.com
partycity.com
paulayoung.com
perfumania.com
perryellis.com
petsmart.com
pier1.com
piperlime.com
pizzahut.com
potterybarn.com
potterybarnkids.com
priceline.com
puma.com
puritan.com
radioshack.com
ralphlauren.com
reebok.com
restaurant.com
restorationhardware.com
rosettastone.com
saksfifthavenue.com
sallybeauty.com
scarves.com
seamless.com
sears.com
sears.ca
searsoutlet.com
sephora.com
sharkstores.com
shoemall.com
shoes.com
shopbop.com
shopcasio.com
shopjustice.com
shutterfly.com
skullcandy.com
snapfish.com
soap.com
spafinder.com
sperrytopsider.com
sportsauthority.com
squarespace.com
stamps.com
stauer.com
stevemadden.com
superdry.com
supershuttle.com
tanga.com
target.com
teleflora.com
thelimited.com
thenorthface.com
thinkgeek.com
threadless.com
threadsence.com
ties.com
tigerdirect.com
tillys.com
tobi.com
tommy.com
toms.com
toshibadirect.com
toysrus.com
travelocity.com
ulta.com
urbanoutfitters.com
vans.com
venus.com
victoriassecret.com
virgin-atlantic.com
visiondirect.com
vistaprint.com
vitacost.com
vitaminshoppe.com
wag.com
walgreens.com
wayfair.com
westelm.com
wetseal.com
whitehouseblackmarket.com
wilsonsleather.com
windsorstore.com
wolfcamera.com
womanwithin.com
woot.com
yoox.com
younkers.com
zales.com
zappos.com
zazzle.com
zulily.com

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2.17-2.24 Meal Planning & Grocery Haul

Right now I’m slow roasting 3 massive chicken breasts in green chili verde sauce. It’s going to go into our burrito bowls tonight, on top of fully-loaded nachos tomorrow night, and it’s going to make the gawd-dang best enchiladas everrr on Friday night!

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Chicken breasts in chili verde sauce.

While the chicken is doing it’s thang, I’ve got pre-broiled brown rice on the stove to make a “novice” version of lime and cilantro pilaf. We’re getting fancy up in here. Well – not that fancy. I’m literally just going to mix some chopped cilantro in the rice and squeeze a lime on it. LOL #topchef

I’m super excited about this week’s meal plan. Not only did I come under budget, spending a mere $31 bucks, I also have groceries left over from last week’s haul ($41 spent last week)! Can you believe that? So, we basically didn’t even need to buy any groceries for our lunches – though, I am sure we’ll have more than enough leftovers because we’re making SEVEN whole dinners this week (in comparison to the FIVE last week). We also purchased 2 big boxes of generic cereal from the bodega across the street. We have a quite a bit of eggs, black beans and tortillas to play around with for breakfast.

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Here are the details for this week’s meal plan & grocery haul:

-MEALS-

Breakfasts: Lots of cereal! Egg sandwiches, egg wraps, omelets – basically anything you can do with eggs, we can do for breakfast this week.

Lunches: Leftovers. Mac & cheese (box). Hot dogs.

Dinners:

Burrito Bowls

Enchiladas

Nachos

Shoyu chicken (recipe linked)

Teriyaki meatballs (recipe linked)

Sloppy Joes

Meatloaf

I will definitely update mid-week to let you know how well we’re sticking to our meal plan!

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2.12-2.19 Meal Planning & Grocery Haul

Hey all,

I really wanted to share with you a real-life example of how I budget, meal plan and grocery shop. I wouldn’t usually consider this grocery trip a “haul”, but since I purchased all our meals for the week ahead, that’s pretty significant! We live in NYC, so we do all our shopping by foot, groceries included. I usually would not purchase this many items in one shopping trip because it would be too heavy. Thankfully today, Thomas tagged along and was able to help me lug everything home 🙂

So, first things first, last night, for…gosh, probably 4+ hours I scanned Pinterest for recipes (I wanted to switch it up this week and try something new, exciting and different!) and came up with 4-5 large meals (dinners) that would give us at least 2-3 leftovers (lunch and dinners). Before I wrote anything down, I also scanned all the brand new grocery catalogs on Flipp (mobile app). What I try to do is work my meal plan around what is on sale for the following week. Pro tip: It is a great idea to hit up the stores on day 1 when the sales drop because you’re less likely to run into a situation where that item you tried to purchase is already sold out. On the downside, it will probably be crowded, BUT at least the shelves will be full.

Before I go further, I’d like to say that I kept to about 90% of my list. Sometimes something on my list isn’t available – therefore, I improvise. I also have some items at home already, and a few that still need to be purchased.

In pantry/fridge: Potatoes, ground beef, peas, oatmeal, bread crumbs, butter/jam.

Still need to purchase: Pasta sauce, cheese, and kielbasa from the dollar store – $5 estimate

My goal was $40 for 7-10 days. I cashed in at $40.40 cents. 

~Meal Plan~

Breakfasts: Oatmeal & banana (have in pantry), Raisin brand w/ banana, french toast & banana, banana pineapple smoothie, toast w/ butter/jam (have in pantry), Pop tarts.

Lunches: Tuna sandwich w/ fruit. Egg salad sandwich w/ fruit. Mac & cheese. Brunch (bacon, eggs, home-fries & toast) x2

Dinners: Meat loaf, mash potatoes, and peas. Cajun red beans and rice (2+ leftovers). Sweet Italian chicken & peppers over pasta or in a sandwich (2+ leftovers). Chicken Parmesan over pasta or in a sandwich. Chinese pepper steak w/ rice.

I did this all at C-Town, a small grocery chain in NYC.

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Here are the links to a few of the recipes mentioned above:

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Peppers

Louisiana Red Beans & Rice

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Resources For Low-Income Students: Surviving College When You’re Dirt Poor

“I’m in college – therefore I am broke.” That was indeed my reality for the last 5 years of my life! The cost of tuition has risen across the board – both locally and at private institutions, leaving young people with skyrocketing student debt and tired bodies from working 2-3 jobs just to get by.

In fact, low income youth are less likely to attend college today than ever before!

In 2010, I was offered financial support to attend college by my grandparents. I knew I wasn’t academically prepared for a 4 year college, but I was being offered an opportunity of a lifetime. At that point,  I had only taken a few semesters of community college. There I played catch up – learning basic English and Math through a special needs program that offered support for dyslexia. In 2008, I graduated from high school with a incredibly low GPA, and no math whatsoever under my belt. I had never taken my SATs or ACTs. I didn’t even apply to college while in high school because I knew I couldn’t get in.

Many low income students come from neighborhoods lacking in quality public education to prepare them for college. “A new study confirms that low-income students understand that education is a path out of poverty, and most aspire to go to college—at an even higher rate than most students overall. Yet, unlike their middle- or upper-class peers, poor students are significantly less likely to head to college after graduating from high school.” (source)

Low-income youth WANT to go to college but are faced with huge financial obstacles and a lack of resources that sometimes lead to harsh realities such as youth homelessness. Several years ago, my husband experienced this reality first hand. For about 6 months, he went to college during the day, and slept in a park at night.

It wasn’t soon before I realized staying in school was just as equally challenging as getting in. The first 3 years of my undergraduate studies, I worked a regular 9-5 during the day, and had classes all night long. I was out of the house from 8am-10pm, and was incredibly overworked. This barely left me with any time to enjoy the experience of being in college. I didn’t have the time or energy to go out with my classmates after class. I wasn’t thinking as big, or dreaming as big I wanted to. I was incredibly envious of my peers. I wasn’t having as much fun, and I was jealous. I was sleeping on the floor of my office, stealing toilet paper, and going to events just so I could sneak food in my purse to bring home for dinner. And, you know what? I wasn’t the only student doing this. I wanted an education so bad, and I was determined to make it work. This is when lifestyle changes started happening and I opted in for a more thrifty, frugal, and minimalist life.

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Below you will find some resources I’ve gained as a low-income college student:

  1. If you’re thinking “I need to get there first…how do I get in?”- check out this article here, which provides a list of organizations that help low-income students get into college.
  2. The second you receive your acceptance letter, send an email to the financial aid department at your university. This is crucial! You want to start building a connection with these people because they’re more or less going to determine how much federal and state financial assistance you can receive. Don’t be afraid to express your concerns and ask questions. That is what they’re there for. Check out this beginner’s guide to financial aid!
  3. Are you worried about where you’re going to live next semester? Having trouble paying your rent? Check out SNAPS, a resource for homeless youth. If you’re in NYC and you need a place to sleep tonight, contact the The Crisis Intervention Program. Here is an excellent guide to student and youth homelessness.
  4. Do you have enough to eat? Soup kitchens and food banks are for everyone. If you live in the NYC area, here is a list of locations of where you can receive a hot meal. Like I mentioned above, student activities and events are a great place to get free food. Need advice on coupons, grocery shopping, frugal meal plans and recipes? I have tons listed here!
  5. Are you insured? Ask your university adviser if you’re covered for any kind of healthcare services on campus. In some cases, you may be able to apply for student insurance through your university. If not, you can apply for Medicaid here.
  6. If you’re not making ends meet right now, and you need help, there are several social services programs that provide cash, housing, heating, utility, and food assistance. If you live in NYC, you can apply for assistance programs such these quickly and easily online here. If you live elsewhere, seek out your state’s HRA (Human Resources Administration). For non-profit resources, take a look at the GuideStar Directory which provides a list of non-profit social services.

If you’re struggling right now, and trying desperately not to drop out all-together, just know you’re not alone and there are resources out there to help you get through this difficult and challenging time.

If you have any suggestions or resources I didn’t list above, please let me know in the comments below!

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