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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Minimalist in Manhattan Update

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Hey gang,

Summer is officially here! What does that mean? Seasonal fruits popping up at your grocery stores, BBQ-ing, and outings with family and friends to local parks and beaches, among many other things. I’ve noticed some very obvious changes in sales at our local grocery store that has somewhat made budgeting difficult over the last few weeks. Aside from eggs and cold cuts (such as hotdogs), everything has been insanely over priced!

Before I meal plan for the week, I’m going to check out all the catalogs for nearby grocery stores that I don’t usually shop at to see if prices are any better.

Anyone else experiencing a spike in prices?

-Jocelyn

 

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9 Foods to Buy When There is Nothing On Sale

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There really hasn’t been any good sales in the neighborhood over the last few weeks (hence I haven’t really posted anything lately  – on top of that, my parents are in town! More on that in another post.)

I couldn’t imagine being tight on money, needing to feed my family, and not really having many options. All the meat and produce (the bulk of wholesome, fresh food) are ridiculously high this week, as it was last week as well. This dilemma inspired my blog entry today.

So, when the price of meat and produce is high, what should you buy?

Here are 9 go-to pantry items I recommend buying, as well as other foods that generally do not fluctuate in price very much or often:

  1. Canned tuna (A can of tuna is more than enough protein for a meal, and you are likely to find a can of tuna for less than $1.50.
  2. Rice
  3. Dried beans, legumes, and pasta.
  4. Canned tomatoes (stewed, diced, sauce, pasta sauce and paste). Very versatile. You can make anything from pasta to stew with canned tomatoes.
  5. Oats, grits, polenta, porridge.
  6. Tortillas
  7. Bread
  8. Bananas (bananas generally are always under $1 a lb, and can be purchase for less than $3 a bunch all year round.)
  9. Eggs (even when eggs are expensive, it’s still a great investment. Even if you pay $4 a dozen, that’s still a week of protein-rich breakfast. If you can find a dozen eggs for under $2 a dozen, I highly recommend stocking up. Eggs are such a great meal idea any time of day – breakfast for dinner anyone?)
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Easter Haul: Staying Conscious In The Mist Of a Sale

When I go shopping, I always ask myself – will I wear this regularly? Even more importantly, I ask myself – what will I wear this with? Even if I love this piece of clothing, this shade of lipstick, or this pair of earrings, if I can’t foresee myself wearing this item right now -I won’t buy it. I only buy something because I love it.

Just because I have a gift card, doesn’t mean I should buy it. Just because it’s dirt cheap, doesn’t mean I should buy it. Today was a great example of this conflict. I have been doing quite a bit of shopping lately and I’m starting to notice how much consumerism can bother me. Spending money makes me feel guilty. Have you ever felt this way?

I admit, I’ve been stressed down to my bones due to life’s usual ups and downs, and retail therapy – wearing something new, really brightens my day!

Truly – minimalist or not, you should not feel guilty about treating yourself to something you love. Every once and a while, buy yourself something you love. It is a form of self-love. When we dress ourselves, we are loving ourselves and expressing ourselves too. When I wear a colorful floral top, or a bright shade of pink lipstick, I’m saying – hey! you know what? today I’m going to have a bright and colorful day.

Before I get anymore philosophical on ya –

Here is what I managed to snag off several $5 and $7 clearance racks!

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Floral print “swing” tops by Ambiance Apparel from Rainbow Shops, NYC. 
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Thick marble open-front cardigan (mid arm length) – brand unsure, Velvet elephant print (hippie, bohemian) wide-leg yoga pants by Hot Kiss. Super soft denim jeggings by Sapphire Red.
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Copy-cat perfume/body spray of Carolina Herrera fragrance.

 

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Budget Planner Addict – That’s Me!

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Organization, planners, and bullet-journals are becoming such a fad. And, I can understand why. When you’re organized, you get a lot more stuff done. For those who procrastinate a lot, like myself, having a planner prevents you from putting things off when you don’t want to do them.

My New Year’s Resolution to get organized has turned into a small scale obsession. Now, I don’t know how I can get anything done without my planner. I plan my entire life in this thing: appointments, work days, pay days, everything pertaining to this blog, hobbies such as gaming and writing, money, budgeting, shopping lists, meal plans, cleaning schedules, misc. goals and projects – everything and everything goes into my planner. My whole life is in this thing and without it, it would be chaos and things would not get done – or at the very least, not as efficiently as they could get done. Does that sound a little nutty to you guys?

A lot of people assume getting organized needs to be expensive – but that’s hardly the case. I have spent less than $10 on all of my planner accessories, including the planner itself. It can be done on the cheap. Bullet journals can be custom made with a simple $1 composition book. Pens, stickers, tape, markers, highlighters, post-it notes ect. can be all bought from 99 cent stores. I bought all my cute accessories from Wish.com! They have tons of very affordable stationary accessories!

I live in a small space, and things can become cluttered and messy quickly without organization. I have papers, cosmetics, accessories, pens, ect. just scattered around my desk and in the living-room because I haven’t really invested in any kind of organization. I’m still in the process of getting rid of the clutter. Heck – we don’t even really have furniture. So far, I’ve picked up a pencil container to store all my stationary and school supplies.

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Then I realized that a large plastic pencil case from the dollar store can also organize just about anything else that is small – jewelry, make up, nail polish, ect. I can probably also find a filing folder or binder at the dollar store for mail and misc. papers. Your neighborhood dollar or discount stores will more than likely have tons of baskets, bins, canvas boxes, crafting containers, and so on to help you get organized as well!

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Thrifty Tips: 25 BEST Dollar Store Items

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  1. Ziploc bags
  2. Foil
  3. Hair accessories (hair elastics and bobby pin galore!)
  4. School supplies and stationary (pens, pencils, crayons, markers and notebooks!)
  5. Greeting cards
  6. Gift bags
  7. Activity books (crossword and coloring books)
  8. Tupperware
  9. Batteries
  10. Toothpaste
  11. Tableware, silverware, glassware, and mugs.
  12. Paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissue)
  13. Baby wipes
  14. Bath products (shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, and shower gel)
  15. **Pregnancy tests!** (these dollar store pregnancy tests are no less accurate than your big brands – in fact, did you know that many of the pregnancy strips you find at a dollar store are the same ones used in pharmacies and doctor’s offices?)
  16. **First aid!** (bandages and antibiotic cream)
  17. Soy, almond, and coconut milk
  18. Dry beans
  19. Oatmeal
  20. Rice
  21. Pancake, cake, and brownie mix
  22. Maple syrup
  23. Peanut Butter and Jelly
  24. Crackers and Cookies
  25. Candy

 

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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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How do I grocery shop efficiently?

Hubby and I went back to Bravo today to stock up on some meats and buy ingredients to make chili for dinner. We didn’t use coupons or the Flipp app, and we still did really well. I simply wrote down exactly everything I needed before hand.  You don’t always need to use coupons or tirelessly look for sales to be an efficient shopper. In fact, most of the money saving comes from pre-planning meals and bringing a shopping list. Most of the money we can save comes from not buying anything you didn’t go to the grocery store for. So, yeah, it’s pretty much about self control. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy anything at all (that isn’t on your list), because it would be smart to take advantage of a sale or a deal, even if you didn’t intend on it, but it’s important to set a limit so you don’t lose track of your spending. Keep in mind that, you can buy everything on sale, and it still not materialize into a wholesome meal.

The key to being a smart shopper is not letting sales blind you into purchasing something 1. you don’t need. 2. is unhealthy, is not “real” food 3. you can’t turn into a meal without spending a lot more money. 

This is what we spent today. $26 bucks and we got all of this.

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With less than $50, I can pretty much feed myself and my husband for an entire week. We usually do oatmeal, pancakes, or cereal for breakfast (all generic, usually with coupons), and sandwiches or jazzed-up leftovers for lunch. Sometimes we skip lunch because we’ve had a big breakfast, or we plan to have a big dinner!

How do I make this happen every week? 

I plan everything out and write every meal in my calendar. I never go to the grocery store without a list (if I don’t make a list, forget it, it’s a disaster and I’ll overspend.)

This week’s dinners: Chili, cottage pie, a classic roast chicken, and stew (I haven’t worked out the details on that yet.) We will probably do some kind of pasta this weekend and go out for pasta sauce and noodles over the weekend ($2-5) For snacks, I stick to apples, bananas, and yogurt. I like to buy fruit that is easy to portion and easy to grab and go.

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Online gold mine that is Shop Miss A

 

Over a month ago, I purchased this adorable planner from shopmissa.com; an online dollar store. So, let me just say, it is amazing, and I just L.O.V.E it to pieces!

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Here is why:

  • It’s blank! What does this mean? Blank planners don’t have the dates written in.
  • It has monthly, weekly, and daily pages, as well as a yearly and monthly task list.
  • It’s faux leather and comes in various colors.
  • It has 2 pockets!
  • It lays flat! Are you left-handed? I am! And, it’s a pain in the butt writing in binders or spiral notebooks.
  • It’s fracking adorable!

More or less, Shop Miss A its an online dollar store that specializes in accessories. They have pretty much anything you can think about in regards to accessorizing.

Getting a planner for the new year is crucial for productivity and organization. I bought this specifically to help me keep track of daily, weekly and monthly tasks, as well as goal setting. Not only have I started this blog, but I do a lot of different types of writing in my personal life. I have a lot of unfinished projects that I am determined to get done this year. Writing in a planner gives me accountability.

Planners aren’t only for students, believe me. If you’re a homemaker, or a business owner, you have many tasks that need to get done through-out the day and without organization you will probably lose your mind.

I use planners to track everything from grocery lists to appointments to blog posts. If you haven’t already, I encourage ya’ll to join the planner life 🙂

Over and out!

-Jocelyn

UPDATE: Planner is sold out on shopmissa.com BUT, here is a list of retailers selling them:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01146E6DA?keywords=planner&qid=1453778135&ref_=sr_ph&sr=1 ($6.48 FREE SHIPPING)

https://www.wish.com/search/planner#cid=563320d80fb114138ac73705 ($6.00, $1 shipping PER ITEM)

FYI, links will open in new tab 🙂

Happy Shopping!

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Why you need to download Flipp on your phone right now!

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Flipp, a coupon and catalog app, is the best money saving tool available in the android and apple store right now. More importantly, it’s free and incredibly convenient.

Let me start by telling you a little bit about the app. This app allows you to put in your zip-code and generate all the shopping catalogs in your neighborhood. It also lets you clip coupons and make shopping lists. It’s an all-in-one shopping buddy.

During the holidays, this app can be quite a god-send. Every sales catalog is accessible in your phone. This makes budgeting and gift purchases a lot simpler and stress-free.

But, this app can be utilized all year long! In fact, I use this app on a daily basis to keep track of which grocery stores are selling what this week and at what price. I can plan every purchase, and every dollar I spend directly in my phone. This prevents me from over-spending at the grocery store and getting me in and out as quick as possible.

This is probably the only app on my phone I use on a daily basis that isn’t Instagram or Facebook. I love it so much!

Do you know of any great shopping, couponing or discount apps? Which are your favorite? Share in the comments below!

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