stretchingcents

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

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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: http://r.wmt.co/fv7C1

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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

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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…

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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.

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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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