Are you getting a good deal on groceries at Walmart??


My Facebook has been flooded with people posting about the new Walmart Pickup in Harrisonburg.  I think I have daydreamed about this at least once a week since becoming a Mom.  There have been times I would have paid serious money for someone to either do my shopping for me,  or just deliver it to my car. (Honestly some days I’d even pay for someone just to push the cart or hold a kid!).  I know you know what days I’m talking about! Those days when someone is sick, or its cold and you have to deal with winter coats, or you just gave birth, or the kids refuse to wear pants.  So I am in love with this idea of Walmart Pickup.  I just placed my first order…how amazing to be able to sit and do my grocery shopping while the kids are napping!! Tomorrow I’ll stop by on our way home from ballet and hopefully have exactly what I ordered placed in my car!

Here’s the big question, are you getting a good deal? I almost never shop for groceries at Walmart simply because the store makes me grouchy- too many people and too much walking.  This week I’ve spent a good amount of time comparing Walmart and Food Lion prices, and here is what I have found:

  • Convenience: Walmart wins! Having groceries delivered to my care is priceless.
  • Price: Walmart doesn’t really have sales, but their everyday price is lower on almost every item.  This is great news if you NEED something this week.  However, the majority of  my grocery savings comes from stocking up on sales items.  The everyday price of an item at Walmart is much higher than the sale price of items at Food Lion, Martins or Kroger.
    • Exceptions- Jam was almost twice the price at Walmart than Food Lion! I also found that Cabbage and pasta noodles were higher. I’m sure I’ll find more and I’ll start a list.
  • Website: I love the Walmart site.  It shows the price per unit for every item which makes comparing prices between brands and sizes super easy!
  • Coupons: You can’t use coupons (or WIC) when you use Walmart pickup.
  • Referral codes:  Right now first time users get $10 off their order of $50 so Walmart will definitely been cheaper for you! See the link for my code at the end of this post.

So where will I be shopping?? I will probably do some shopping at Walmart to fill in on items I haven’t been able to stock up on (or when it’s raining etc.)  I’ll stick to Martins & Kroger for stocking up when they have good sales but I’ll still do the majority of my shopping at Food Lion.  I have found Food Lion is friendliest to WIC users (I may post on this later!), and they almost always have something I can stock up on each week.  I will still only go to one store a week because I don’t have time (or energy!) to run around to multiple stores!

P.S.- If you want my referral code to get $10 off your Walmart order of $50 it’s:

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How to save on paper products when you have expensive taste…

How to save on paper products when you have expensive taste...

I buy store brand of almost everything except for paper products!  When it comes to napkins, paper towels and toilet paper I want the good stuff.  No matter how good of a deal I might find, or how awesome a coupon is, I do not stray from my favorite brands.  If you are like me, it is possible to still have your high quality items AND save money.  Basically what do you need to do? Find ways to use less.

Toilet Paper- You can’t really use less BUT I have found when I buy the good stuff, we do use less.  It only take a few squares of the good stuff to get the job done vs. what seems like half a roll of the cheap stuff.  I tend to buy all my Cottonelle on Amazon for 2 reasons: First they have really great deals if you wait for them.  I try to buy as much toilet paper when it’s on sale as I have space for.  The second reason is that if you buy enough you get a really awesome big box which makes a great fort and hours of fun for the kids.  🙂

Paper Towels: We have gotten in the habit of using dish towels for many of the jobs we used to use a paper towel for.  We also use old baby spit rags and the foldable cloth diapers as rags for spills and cleaning.  The exceptions are really nasty or greasy messes (I won’t list examples, if you have kids and pets you know what I’m talking about).  For those I get my Bounty or Viva towels.  Like the toilet paper, we use less of the good stuff because one sheet is usually enough.  I also buy these in a big pack on Amazon about once a year. (Cheapo paper towels are great for paper mache crafts though!)

Napkins: For almost every meal we use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.  Not only do you feel extra fancy using a cloth napkin, they tend to work better anyway.  After each meal, we fold our napkins back up and leave them at our seats, and we use them for several meals before washing.  I typically only do laundry once a week, so we have about 15 napkins in our weekly rotation.  I also keep a set of cloth napkins that are only for when company comes over.  Our daily ones are pretty stained, but we know they are clean so it doesn’t bother me for every day use.  The only time we use paper napkins is for picnics and spaghetti night (or an equally messy dinner).

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Weekly menu plus an easy Ribs recipe


Sometimes you just gotta splurge a little! Ribs are not usually in our budget, (in fact we rarely spend over $1.80/lb on meat) BUT  they are on sale this week at Food Lion for $1.99 /lb. and we were totally craving ribs so we had to buy them.  This week I only had room in the budget for one rack, and wish I could have stocked up on a few more! My recipe is at the end of this post.

My Menu this week:

Sunday: Ribs, butter noodles, green beans

Monday: Chicken bake (Chicken thighs, carrots & rice baked together in the cast iron skillet)

Tuesday: Chicken Fettuccine with mushrooms and spinach on the side, and garlic toast

Wednesday: Buffet Night (aka-Leftovers- We lay out all the Tupperware containers and let the kids pick their meal)

Thursday- Fast dinner before Bible study- Quesadillas and corn

Friday- Breakfast for dinner: Cinnamon rolls, bacon, eggs, wheat toast, canned peaches

Saturday- Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli

Sunday- Alice’s Bday! Pizza & Salad


Here’s my Ribs recipe! You start them in the slow cooker and finish in the oven. They taste better than many restaurant ribs and are MUCH cheaper to make yourself! If you are skilled with a grill, you could probably finish them on there instead of in the oven.

  1. In crockpot, add enough water to just cover the bottom (about 3/4 cup).
  2. Add 3-4 drops of liquid smoke to crock pot.
  3. Season ribs with salt, peper, garlic powder, onion powder & cumin (adjust to your taste) and then stack them in crock pot.
  4. Cook on 4-5 hours, or low for about 8.
  5. Remove ribs from crockpot and place on a broil pan (or a cookie sheet with sides)
  6. Preheat oven to 375.
  7. Spread your favorite sauce on ribs.
  8. Bake 5 mins until sauce bubbles.
  9. Flip ribs and sauce the other side.
  10. Cook another 5 mins or so until the sauce bubbles.
  11. Remove from oven and eat!
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Finding something beautiful in the mess…

IMG_20170503_135121633                IMG_20170503_135135198


This week is teacher appreciation week and Tommy’s school asked that kids bring their teachers a flower.  My yard is full of beautiful flowers hidden among the weeds, and we gathered 4 bunches of flowers. One for his teacher, one for his classroom aid, one for his sister and one for me.  As I was looking at my  bouquet I was amazed that something so beautiful could come out of such a mess of a yard.  That’s when I realized just how many beautiful things I can find in my daily life even when it feels like I’m surrounded by mess.

In the first picture of my roses, you might see a tangled mess of roses and weeds growing up an arbor supported by 2x4s.  However, when I choose to look at this a different way, I see a shed in the background my husband built for me to hold all my teaching supplies when I decided to become a stay at home mom.  I see the weeds, but I know they were growing while I was busy taking care of my family.  The lady who lived in my house several owners ago was an amazing gardener.  In fact, she left detailed plans of what was growing in every flower bed which have been passed down from owner to owner.  This sometimes feels like a HUGE responsibility to maintain.  However, several years ago I was talking with a neighbor about how nice her yard was looking and she told me what the lady who lived in my house once told her.  She said not worry about the flowers right now because you are busy growing babies.  This is so true.

I can look around my living right now while I’m writing this blog.  It is a disaster! I could look at all the mess, or I can see evidence my kids had fun this morning.  I could look in every room of the house and find something beautiful if I choose too.  Sometimes that’s the hardest part though!  Most days I end up focusing on the fact that I can’t remember the last time I washed my kitchen floor, or even washed my hair.  BUT I know someday my roses will be perfectly pruned a free of weeds, someday I’ll be able to use my nice glassware from my Granny instead of baby food jars as vases, someday my house will be clean, and someday I’ll shower more than twice a week.  Someday I’ll probably miss all this mess because my kids will be grown, so until then I’m going to choose to find beauty in all this mess.

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Today’s Costco trip and items to stock up on.


I love Costco. However, is it worth the membership price for everyone? Probably not.  I share a membership with my parents, so for us it is 100% worth it.  It might not be for you if lack self control because they are experts at getting you to buy things not on your list! It also may not be for you if you don’t have the space to stock up on items, or you don’t have enough people eating the food for it to be consumed before it goes bad.

Today I was able to buy 8 pizzas, 4 loaves of bread, 32 gogurts and 18 sleeves of Ritz for $40.97.  I think that’s a pretty good deal!

Here is my list of items I ALWAYS buy at Costco.  I buy them even if they are not on sale! They may not always be cheaper, but when you factor in the quality of the items they are a great deal:

  • Green beans (Usually about $10 for 12 cans)
  • Kirkland brand trash bags (They never break!)
  • Sliced American Cheese (I split it up into smaller portions and freeze)
  • Kirkland brand sticks of butter (I keep one package out and freeze the rest)
  • Finish Dish tabs (These go on sale a couple times a year and I really stock up)
  • Bread ( 2 loaves for about $3.00!)
  • Frozen Pizza ($12 for 4 pepperoni and $10 for 4 cheese)

Items I buy when they are on sale:

  • Bug spray
  • Gogurts
  • Juice boxes
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper Towels

Items I NEVER buy because they NEVER come out cheaper:

  • Diapers (I’ll do a post soon on how and where to get brand name diapers & wipes for cheap)
  • Baby Wipes

How do I find out if something is a great deal?  The Costco coupon book can be a great way to pull you into the store, but sometimes the deals won’t actually save you any money.  I use THIS SITE to check prices before I leave home!

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What “Screen Free” week will look like in my house…

You're invited

This coming week is “Screen Free” week.  I encourage everyone to try at least limiting their family’s screen time this week.  My kids have complained about the idea the most, but I think I’m the one that is going to struggle!

What’s our normal screen time? From 6-6:30 I watch the news while checking in on my emails and Facebook messages.  I get the kids up at 6:30 and then they get to watch TV while I make breakfast until 7.  The TV goes off until we get home from taking Tommy to school and then Alice gets to watch 30 mins to an hour of TV while I get a few things done like the dishes and making the beds. The TV goes off until later in the day, and I try to keep my phone put away as much as possible during the morning.  I do tend to replay to email and messages when I hear my phone buzz though.  During naptime (1-2:30) I spend a lot of time on the computer or my phone working on my Usborne business, writing blog posts, or planning for church things like Bible study.  After Tommy gets home from school the kids choose when they want their TV time which is usually about an hour.  They typically choose to watch TV while I’m cooking dinner.  While cooking, I typically check in on Facebook and check emails.  Once the kids go to bed, Zack and I usually watch TV or do computer work.

Are we going totally screen free this week?  No. As much as I’d love to, I can’t totally get away from my phone and computer.  We are going to try and go totally TV free though.  I am actually unplugging them tonight just so we don’t turn them on out of habit.  I have also downloaded an app on my phone called “Quality Time” that I have set to turn off everything other than texts and phone calls.  I have this scheduled to run each day from 9am-12, and 3:30-7pm so that when my kids are awake I’m focused on them.  I will still do work before they get up, during naptime, and after they go to bed ( I have to keep earning money right?)

Why do I want to do this? I really like my family, and I know my phone and the TV distracts me from giving them my 100% attention.  I also tend to use TV as a babysitter when I’m trying to get things done and my plan is to try and find ways to get them to help me instead!

I’d love to hear if you are planning on going screen free! I have a Facebook group set up here: Where I will giving away prizes when people post about their week.  Stay tuned for updates on my week!

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How to save on your phone, cable & internet

There are plenty of websites and lists of ways to save on your bills, but I decided to write a list of tips that will actually save you money.  They are all things I have learned from experience and have saved us bunches of money.  I understand every situation is different, and each family has their own needs, but here is some things that have worked for us. At the end, I’ll show a breakdown of my current bills.

1) Do you really need it?

  • Home Phone– If you have a cell phone, do you really need a land-line phone?  We kept one for several years because we didn’t want to give out our cell phone to businesses or  to my students at the time.  When we kept track of how many people actually called our home phone, we realized what a waste of money it was!  We saved about $17 a month by canceling. So far, I haven’t had that many extra calls on my cell phone, so no regrets there.
  • Cell Phone- How much data do you really need? There are 4 people sharing our plan (3 smartphones) and we share 6 GB of data a month.  We have never ever gone over.  In fact, there are 5 days left in this billing cycle and we have only used 3.85 GB. Yes, there are MANY unlimited plans, but do you REALLY need that much? Could you connect to wifi? Could you use your phone less?
  • TV- This can be a touchy subject!  Totally getting rid of the TV is not an option right now for our family, but we have learned to live with very few channels.  A few years ago we were looking for ways to cut our bills and decided it was time to cut the TV package we had.   I “need” (ok not really) the local news and weather and we really like having a few kid choices. When I called to say we wanted only the local channels they said there was no such package, but when I said I would be canceling, they told me about a few unadvertised  packages.  We decided to try it for a month, and if we REALLY missed our channels we would switch back.  We did miss our channels but realized it was only because we were watching way to much TV to start with, and decided to just watch less TV.  I would challenge you to cut the TV totally off for one week….you’ll be amazed at how much you will get done!

2)  Ask about unadvertised deals

  • Companies always have unadvertised bundling packages.  Like I mentioned above, until I threatened to cancel, they said they didn’t have what I wanted.  Be  sure to make it very clear what you want, and let them know you will change companies if they can’t give you what you want.
  • Comcast also offers a few random discounts if you talk to the right person.  We currently have a discount of $10 a month simply because I talked to the right person and they said they could give me a discount because we used such a small tv package (???). It is listed on the bill as an extra “Bundled Services” discount.

3) Compare Companies

  • If you are stuck in a contract, it usually will not make sense to switch companies, but as soon as you can, you should shop around.  We used to have Direct TV, and had really poor reception at our house, so as soon as we could, I called comcast to see what kind of deal I could get.  Everyone likes honesty, so I was honest with them and said basically “this is what I have with Direct TV, I pay ____ each month, can you do better?”  Of course they wanted my business and gave me a better deal. I then called Direct TV, and said “Comcast can offer me _____ for ___ price.  Can you do better?”  And again…of course they could!  They offered to take  about $40 off my bill each month for 3 months, which was an amazing deal!  I kept Direct TV for 3 extra months, then called Comcast again and said the same thing.  Direct TV couldn’t match Comcast’s price, so we switched!

4) Check your bill EVERY month!

  • This seems like an obvious tip, but I’m sure people miss mistakes companies make on their bills ALL the time.   These mistakes I usually find are weird charges on my cell phone bill, charges for extra cable boxes, late charges when we paid early, being taxed extra because we were listed as living in the wrong county, not getting discounts I was promised, and the list goes on.  One month I found over $25 in errors on my cell phone bill!

5) Remember no one likes a grouchy person- and ask for discounts!

  • If something is wrong, its up to the company to make it right.  The biggest thing to remember is that no one wants to help a grouchy person though!  No matter how mean and rude the person on the other end of the phone is, be nice and I promise you will get what you want!  Here is how a conversation went with Comcast once:

Me: I called 3 weeks ago to get our new cable box and it still hasn’t arrived.  Can you check to see when it will come?
Comcast: I see you called last month, it was never ordered.
 Me: I understand this is not your fault, could you please re-order it?
Comcast: Yes (with a sigh that made me feel like I was asking for a HUGE favor)
Me: Since we have been without TV in that room for 3 months while we have been waiting for our box to be repaired, and then a new one sent, could you give me a discount?
 Comcast: No we don’t do that kind of thing.
Me: Thank you for being so helpful already, are you sure there isn’t anything you can do for me?
Comcast: Actually, I can go ahead and credit you $20, will that make things right?

See how easy that is!  Throw in a few compliments, and ask more than once in a very nice way, and you can almost always get $$ taken off your bill.  I never ask for anything outrageous, only what I think is fair.

6) Ask for Job related discounts

  • Teachers get 15% off with Verizon.  I think nurses can also get this discount, and a few other professions.  It never hurts to ask!

Here is what we are currently paying:

Verizon (cell phone): I share a phone plan with my husband, Mom and Dad.  We have been sharing a plan for year because for a long time it didn’t financially make sense for my Mom to have her own plan when she didn’t use her cell phone much.  Now all of us except for my Dad has smart phones, but we still come out ahead sharing a plan. Here’s the  breakdown of a typical monthly bill:

  • Plan for 4 phones: $59.50
  • Smartphone 1 (device, access fee, taxes, warranty): $35.58
  • Smartphone 2 (device, access fee, taxes, warranty): $37.92
  • Smartphone 3( device, access fee, taxes, total equipment coverage*): $48.69
  • Phone 4 (access fee, taxes): $24.18

Cell phone bill total: 209.87 (Split 4 ways so we only pay about $120 a month)

*We pay for full coverage on my husbands phone because after hitting it with the lawn mower, bulldozing it at the dump, and just this month dropping it down a chimney….its totally worth it 🙂

Cable/Internet Bill:

  • TV (Limited Basic Service): $15.31
  • Internet (Performance Internet): $61.95
  • Taxes and other charges: $9.19
  • Discounts: -$10.00

Total: $76.45


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Grocery deals this week & a GREAT deal for teachers!

After scanning the ads, I think I will be doing my shopping at Martins and Food Lion.  I try to stick to only one store per week, but this week both stores have a few good deals on things I need.


  • The only deal that caught my eye was a dozen eggs for $0.77.  That’s a great price, but not worth it for me to make a special trip.


  • Fresh Corn is 8/$2.00.
  • Potatoes and Onions are buy 1 get 1 free.

Deals when you spend $25 in one trip: Be sure you pick up the flyer on your way in so you get the coupons

  • Strawberries are $1.99 for a 2 lb package when you spend $25!!
  • Tostitos chips are $1.98 when you spend $25
  • Triscuits are $1.88 when you spend $25
  • Italian Sausage value packs are $0.99/lb when you spend $25.

Buy theirs, get ours free deals:



  • Buy 1 Hidden Valley salad dressing for $3.19 get the store brand free.
  • Buy 1 Mott’s fruit snack for $1.99 get the store brand free.  There is a coupon in the 4/9 smart source for $0.50 off 2 which Martins doubles to $1.00 off . So if you buy 2 Motts, and 2 store brand you get 4 boxes of fruit snacks for $3.00!!




Other deals:

img_20170427_095143102.jpgCake mixes are $1.33 each, but if you buy 4 you get $2.00 off which brings each box to $0.83 which is pretty good! Yes- making your own cake is probably cheaper, but honestly, I don’t make a cake that tastes as good as the box mix 🙂



Food Lion:

  • Chicken drumsticks and thighs $0.79/ lb Good price, but not stock up price
  • Food Lion brand chicken nuggets $3.99 each. Tyson nuggets often go on sale for cheaper, but I’ll probably buy a few bags since we are almost out.
  • Food Lion brand potato chips 2/$3
  • Food Lion brand salsa 2/$3 Not a stock up price, but we eat a lot of salsa
  • Green Cabbage $0.49/lb Great to use in salads, coleslaw, egg rolls & stir fry.  You can also freeze it if you plan on cooking it later!
  • Red Delicious Apples $0.99/lb We go through about 6 lbs of apples a week! Yay for when they are on sale!!!

SUPER AWESOME FOOD LION DEAL!!! On Tuesday May 2nd, teachers, school staff and faculty get 5% off their total purchase!!! You must have your teacher ID and MVP card though, and the ad says there are exclusions…probably alcohol and cigarettes.

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$79.31 for a week of groceries (plus diapers) and my menu for the week.

IMG_20170424_121757108This week I went I spent a little more than I would have liked, but if you subtract out the cost of diapers (about $9 for 2 packs) which comes out of the “kids” portion of my monthly budget I didn’t do too bad.  Here’s what I got at Food Lion this week:

  • Carrots- $1.79
  • Watermelon- $2.99 It rolled behind the chips in the picture
  • Lemon- $0.79 Why? Because Alice insisted she wanted a lemon with her lunch and didn’t believe men when I told she wouldn’t like it I thought I’d go ahead and let her try…she no longer likes lemons (unless they are in water)
  • Lettuce- $1.59
  • Mushrooms- $1.59
  • Dried Cranberries- $5.59 Cheaper than fruit snacks!
  • Coffee x 2- $4.99 each
  • Juicy Juice x 2- $3.10 for both They were B1G1 
  • Green Beans x 9 – $0.50 each
  • Canned corn x 2 – $0.50 each
  • Canned peas – $0.50 Again Alice insisted she likes canned peas but I’m pretty sure she won’t.
  • Large can of beans- $3.59 I need this for an event this week
  • 5 boxes of cereal- $11.13 total This is NOT a good price on cereal but I get 27 oz free a month on WIC.  Unfortunately the cereals I am allowed to chose are not very healthy so we eat the free cereal for snacks instead of breakfast.
  • Peanut butter x 2- $2.17 each It is cheaper to get the larger containers, but this is the size I have to get for WIC
  • Tortilla chips- $1.97
  • Sour Cream chips- $1.49
  • Store brand wheat bread x 2- $1.06
  • Nature Valley wheat bread- $3.39 Free on WIC, otherwise not a good deal!
  • Cupcake liners- $3.48 Why are they so expensive?!?!
  • 1% Milk- $1.39
  • Whole Milk – $1.49 Both milks are free on WIC
  • Luvs- $3.99
  • Huggies- $4.99 I had a -$3.00 coupon

Total after tax: $79.31 Total after WIC- $57.03

My Menu for the week: Note- many of our dinners do not appear super healthy, BUT my kids eat crazy amounts of fruits and veggies during the day as snacks so at dinner my goal is to get protein in them.

We ate out at our favorite Mexican Restaurant Sunday night (El Paso). We always have leftover rice and beans which we bring home and incorporate into our dinners during the week.

Monday- Nachos, Corn, and fruit.  We use the leftover rice and beans from Sunday and top with cheese to make a yummy nacho dip.IMG_20170424_172320892

Tuesday- Big Salads- Lettuce, ham, hard boiled egg, cranberries, sunflower seeds, cheese, carrots &  homemade croutons.  The kids usually eat just the “toppings” for dinner. See my recipe for croutons below.

Wednesday- Spaghetti and Salad (leftover from Tuesday night)

Thursday- Quesadillas, corn, and salad.  Quesadillas will be made with cheese mixed with the rest of the rice and beans from Sunday

Friday- Carnival at the school- We will either eat dinner there, or have a frozen pizza at home.

Saturday- PBJ, fruit, and chips picnic at the playground since we have a late Tee Ball game

Sunday- Homemade fried chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes.

Homemade crouton “Recipe”:

My kids refuse to eat the heals of bread, and frankly I don’t like them either! I save all the heals in a bread bag in the freezer.  Once the bag gets full, I either make croutons or french toast casserole!

To make croutons:

  1. Cut bread into squares
  2. Season with olive oil and spices
  3. Toast in oven set at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes flipping every few minutes.  Careful! They go from not done to burnt super fast!
  4. Store in tupperware container or freeze in a gallon size ziplock.  To use from frozen- pull out what you need and toast in the toaster oven until warm.


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A few stock up items at Food Lion this week…

I haven’t made my grocery list for next week yet, but in the Food Lion ad I do see a few stock up items!  These are items that are priced pretty low and you should definitely grab if you have the money in your budget!

Canned veggies are 2/$1.  This probably includes, green beans, corn and peas.  The lowest price I’ve seen them is around 35 cents, but I would go ahead and get a month or two worth of these if you can.


Luvs diapers area  great deal this week.  There is also a $2.00 coupon in the 4/09 red plum coupon insert and you may have a $2.00 off coupon available as a ecoupon. (I already used mine this month)  You can only use one coupon per pack though.


Food Lion brand coffee in the big canisters is on sale this week for $4.99.  This is a stock up price if you like this type of coffee.  We drink A LOT of coffee so this is what we buy for our everyday stuff.  If you are used to gourmet coffee you probably won’t like it, but maybe this is a place you can start saving some $$$!

Other items that are a pretty good deal:

  • White mushrooms are $1.59 a pack
  • The Nabisco stack trays (with chips ahoy, oreos and nutter butters) are buy 1 get 1 free. You can get 2 packs for $5.29.  This is a good deal if you need snacks for snack day!
  • Juicy Juice boxes are buy 1 get 1 free and there isn’t a price listed but it is probably worth checkout out if you typically need to buy juice boxes.  We like to have these on hand for T-ball snack days.

I’ll update this list if I find more deals!



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