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6 Ways To Save Money On Your Food Shop


(Photo source)


With prices rising everywhere from the supermarket to the petrol station, it can seem almost impossible to make your money stretch as far as it needs to go. When you only have a certain budget for food shopping each month, it is vital to find ways to make your money go as far as you need it to.


To help you make your money go further, we have put together a handy guide to help you. For all the best tips on saving money when you shop, have a read below:


  1. Plan in advance


Before heading to the shops create a list of everything you need to buy. Don’t just randomly add bits on, go through your cupboards and fridge and only write down the things that you actually need.


When creating your weekly shopping list, make sure to take into account the meals you are cooking through the week. So, that you can get everything you need. Before planning out your menu for the week, have a look to see what is on sale in the supermarket and go from there. Use coupons to make your budget go further.


Before going shopping make sure to eat something – going shopping when hungry will make you want to buy more than you need to. Make sure that while you are at the supermarket you stick to your list. Don’t make the mistake of making impulse purchases.


  1. Make Healthy choices


Many people don’t realize it, but opting for healthier choices is actually cheaper than buying junk. When you buy unhealthy foods, like cakes, crisps and fizzy drinks you are spending money on products that have less nutritional value and don’t go as far as healthy foods.


By choosing foods and drinks with high nutritional values, you get more for your money. For example, cans of fizzy drink have empty calories and no nutritional value to them.  Cans of fizzy pop could be easily replaced with sparkling water for 1/8 of the price mixed with some fresh fruit juice.


It is a good idea to compare food prices based on the amount of servings you will get from a meal, along with its nutritional value. Remember that the best food is full of nutrients not calories.


  1. Choose fruit and vegetables that are in season


Before going shopping, have a look at your local newspaper or supermarket magazine to see what the best fruit and vegetable buys are. The cheapest fruits and vegetables tend to be the ones that are in season; this is because they are often priced at a rate that will sell them quicker.

For example, during the summer corn on the cob can cost a tenth of what it would cost during the winter months.


As well as going to your local supermarket, make sure also to go to your local farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets often have excellent deals on in-season produce.


  1. Take advantage of sales and coupons


(Photo credit)


Look through local magazines and newspapers to find all the best coupons and deal vouchers. Sunday newspapers always seem to have a lot of coupons in them, so they are always worth a look. Planning your weekly grocery shop around what is on sale can really lower your food bills. Especially with the added discount that comes with coupons.


Don’t make the mistake of buying something just because you have a coupon for it – if you wouldn’t usually buy it, then you don’t need it.


Don’t worry about buying too much food, as long as it’s within your budget then it doesn’t matter. Use your freezer to store any excess food, you don’t need to use right away.


  1. Opt for frozen, canned and dried


Instead of always buying fresh ingredients, next time you are shopping for a recipe, try using canned, dried or frozen foods instead. Although they may be a lot cheaper than fresh foods, it doesn’t mean that lack nutritional value. In fact, some frozen vegetables are more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. To lock nutrients and vitamins in, produce is frozen, dried or canned when it is at the perfect ripeness.


One of the best things about buying frozen or dried foods is that you are able to only use the amount you need. All you have to do is get what you need to use, reseal the box and place it back in the freezer or cupboard. Not only are frozen and dried foods long lasting, they’re also incredibly cost effective.


While canned foods are also cost effective, they are often sat in juice, syrup or salty water and so are not always as good for you. However, if you are willing to rinse them off, then they can be incredibly good for you.


To save money on milk, you can use dried or evaporated milk for cooking casseroles, desserts, mashed potatoes, or soups.


  1. Take advantage of free samples


When you go shopping lookout for free samples of new foods and products, you can try. For example, you could get samples from Walmart while you are doing your weekly shop.


As well as picking up samples in store, you can also apply for them online on specific sample sites. As well as giving away samples, these sites also give away full sized products now and then, so it is worth keeping an eye on them.


  1. Don’t buy foods you will waste


Before putting fresh foods into your shopping trolley, think about how you will use them. There is no point wasting good money on foods and then leaving them in your fridge to go off.


If you are planning on cooking with meat, for example, don’t just throw the leftovers away. Instead, you can use leftover meat to make stocks, soups, stews, salads, and many other things. If you are cooking a roast chicken for Sunday dinner, make sure to use the leftover meat to make dinner the following day. You could turn the leftover meat into soup, salad or anything else that takes you fancy.


Experimenting With Frugal Winter Crafts And Design


image from pixabay


Winter is a lovely time to start experimenting with frugal winter crafts and designing. You can find so many materials for free right at your feet!


When considering your frugal crafting adventures, first think about the type of things that you would like to make. One of the most popular is to create nature inspired home decor products. You can do these things at craft meetups, in your local hall or from the comfort of your own home.


Some people who are very into their crafting or working from home, have even been known to hire a McKinney general contractor or similar to build them a dedicated office space.


Below you will find a few things to try your hand at if you are a beginner at craft or design. You can then move on to other crafting ideas if you find that you enjoy them.


Winter flowers


You could take a long wintery walk and collect a selection of flowers, reeds and twigs along the way. Bring them home and spray paint them in white, gold or silver tones to add a wintery feel to your decor.


This is an activity that the kids will love to be involved with, so don’t forget to let them feel like they are part of the fun, by collecting their own bunches of flowers on your walk.


This could also double up as a great time to walk the family pet, or get some extra exercise in if you are trying to get fitter for the new year.


Decorate pine cones


By collecting fallen pinecones, you have some ready made decorations for your home. Place them around your house in pretty ceramic bowls, along with dried flowers and leaves to create a natural winter scene.


Attach sparkling string to them and hang them from the Christmas tree, or use glitter effect paints on them for that added festive sparkle!


Design your own Christmas cards


Use paints, buttons, dried flowers and all kinds of cheap accessories to design your own Christmas cards this year.


Your friends and family will love that you have given them something with a hand-made touch. This is also fantastic entertainment for a rainy family day indoors.

You can use stencils or Christmas stickers to make your designs look even more festive.

Christmas Eve boxes


There is nothing more warm and cozy than getting into your pyjamas on a cold winter evening. The only thing that makes this feeling even better is when they are brand new winter sleepwear bought especially for Christmas!


Some houses have a tradition in which they make a special box of goodies to use on Christmas Eve. This can include festive treats like drinking chocolate and marshmallows, a mince pie and some soft new sleepwear. Add a mini jar of homemade jam for a special sweet treat.


The idea behind this is that your kids get a good night sleep before Santa comes! These are cheap to produce and can be filled however you like. You could even put in a hand-made ‘letter from Santa’ himself for added cuteness factor.

6 of the Best Winter Indoor Gardening Tips

Winter can be a troublesome time for the avid gardener. But, you don’t have to despair any longer! When it comes to gardening in the winter, it may be advisable to bring your favourite pots and plants indoors. There are some nifty tips that you can use to ensure that your indoor garden looks fabulous this winter.


Plan Your Indoor Garden


With the seasons changing at alarming speed, you need to ensure that you are planning your winter indoor garden. Take a look at where you are going to put your indoor pots and plants. Where can you maximise and encourage growth? Do you need to invest in grow lights if you don’t have sufficient lighting? Make sure that you maximise your plans effectively. One of the best ways to ensure that your winter indoor garden is a success is to take a look at what you intend on producing. Then, you can plan around the plants individual needs.


Lighting Matters


Light is vital when it comes to having a successful indoor garden. Many people think that they have to source natural sunlight for maximum success. Sunlight, of course, has many benefits. But, artificial lighting can be hugely beneficial to those that want a winter garden. A small herb garden can benefit from lights, natural and artificial. One of the best things about artificial light is that they are perfect sources of vegetative growth. With the advancement of lighting technology, you don’t have to worry that your bills will be costly. On the contrary, they consume relatively little power. A few key lights can ensure that your indoor winter garden looks stunning.


Clean Work Areas


Okay, so working with soil may be a little messy. But, think about it realistically, if you are willing to have an indoor garden you need to expect a little mess. Create a clean area to work with. A simple sheet or piece of tarpaulin will protect your home.




Keeping your home at a steady temperature is essential for your indoor garden. Massive changes to the heat within your home will have a detrimental impact on your produce. You need to ensure that you are regulating and monitoring the temperature in a more steadfast way. After all, you want your indoor garden to be a success.






All produce; whether you are growing fruit or plants, need to have ventilation. During the cold winter months, you may not want to open windows. With this in mind, you need to invest in a fan so that your plants can thrive throughout the long winter months. This ensures that your plants are hardened. But, it also keeps pesky critters at bay.




If you want your plants or vegetables to be the greenest of green, you need to consider the humidity levels in your home. Make sure that you have a small area filled with water. Once the water evaporates, the plants will grow much more quickly.


Having an indoor garden can be beneficial to your health. Now, with winter well and truly on the way, you and your family can benefit from the winter garden.

12 Ways To Be More Thrifty In The Kitchen

The kitchen is often the source of many of our household expenses. It holds our weekly shopping, it has many electrical appliances and often gas appliances too. It is also the hub of our homes; the place where we spend a considerable amount of our time. For these reasons, it makes sense to think about how we can reduce costs in this area of our homes. Here are 12 ways to be more thrifty in the kitchen.




1. Turn down the radiators


When you are using the oven or the stove this will help heat up the room. Therefore, you can reduce your energy bills every month by turning your kitchen radiators down, or off while you are cooking. Another thrifty tip is to leave your oven open after you have turned it off and let the residual heat fill the room.


2. Seal up your kitchen windows


It follows then that your windows should not have any gaps that could be letting this warm air escape. There are many easy ways that you can fix a draughty window if you need to, including self-adhesive stripping.


3. Use your oven to cook multiple meals


This will require a bit of planning. Whenever you use the oven to cook a meal, check to see what other items you can put in there with it that you will eat later in the week. Obviously, these should be things that can be either reheated in the microwave or eaten cold, so you don’t have to use the oven again. This trick could not only save you money on your bills; it could save you some cooking time.


4. Freeze leftovers


You’ll need to stock up on plenty of Tupperware containers for this one. Unless you are convinced you will be eating them over the following few days, always freeze leftovers. This way you will decrease the chances of throwing out food that goes bad in the fridge. However, items in the freezer don’t last forever either, so it is wise to write on the containers what the food is and when it should be eaten by. Again this will prevent unnecessary waste.




5. Buddy up on boiling


It is amazing how many people use a different pan for boiling different ingredients for the same meal. If you require boiling water for multiple ingredients, add them all into the same pan and save yourself money, and time on washing up! Remember that placing the lid on top of the saucer will make the water boil faster.


6. Make thrifty meal plans


At the beginning of your week, decide what you are going to eat for each meal. Look at websites that have advice on eating for less and tasty, thrifty recipes. Once you have done this, write a list of ingredients. Pay particular attention to what ingredients can be used for multiple meals to ensure you don’t buy too much of anything.


When you are choosing your ingredients, attempt to get the best deal. Supermarket’s own branded items tend to be the cheapest. Do be wary of buy one get one free deals as you might end up buying more than you need. Choose to cook with cheaper cuts of meat. These cuts tend to be tough and chewy, hence the reason they are less attractive and less expensive. However, cooking them on slowly and on a low heat will ensure they are tender and delicious.


If you use part of an ingredient, for example, half a jar of sauce, put a note on the front of your fridge reminding you that it is in there when it should be eaten by.




7. Portion control


Try to avoid serving massive amounts of food and ending up with lots of leftovers. Be realistic about what you and your family will eat. If you are not sure, the packaging of ingredients will usually instruct you on what a typical serving weight is. Try to have a higher ratio of cheaper items such as vegetables, rice and pasta on your plate to meat, which is more expensive.


8. Choose energy efficient appliances


When you need to purchase a new appliance for your kitchen, look for products that promise to be energy efficient, therefore saving you money. There are many kitchen appliances that can help speed up the cooking time. You may want to look at a turbo chicken roaster review to see how these products can reduce cooking time. Additionally, rice cookers tend to heat up rice quicker than using the hob.




9. Stock up on dry foods


Resist the temptation to get something extra from the supermarket to flesh out a meal mid-week and use something from your dry store instead. Foods that can be stored in the cupboard like pasta, rice and beans are all cheap to buy. It will come in handy to have plenty of these items in reserve.


10. Keep your refrigerator stocked


A refrigerator has to work harder to maintain a cool temperature when it has less items in it. When you see your fridge becoming sparse towards the end of the week, have some bottles of water in reserve to fill up the space. Also, in order to make energy efficient use of your fridge don’t leave the door open for too long while you are unpacking your shopping. This could affect the temperature, meaning the device needs to work harder to return the temperature to normal.




11. Fill your dishwasher before use


It is important to make sure that your dishwasher is packed fully before turning it on. Otherwise, you will be wasting energy, and consequently, money. Rinse dirty dishes in cold water before adding them to the dishwasher. Try to use the lowest temperature setting on your appliance (usually 30 degrees). Although this will not always remove stubborn stains, you can always give them a quick rinse after they come out to remove any residual dirt.


12. Treat yourself


Once you apply all these thrifty tips into the daily use of your kitchen you will begin to notice all the money you have saved. At this point give yourself a well deserved reward. Well done you!

A Guide To Creating A Child Friendly Living Room


If you have kids living in your house, you will know that children and mess go hand-in-hand. The more children you have, the more clutter your home will be filled with.

But, just because you have kids it doesn’t mean you have to live in a mess or sacrifice on style.


To create a family-friendly living room that the whole brood can enjoy, have a read of this:


Choose a child-friendly paint


Children have a habit of leaving mucky hand prints everywhere, so you may find using a washable paint rather handy. For a paint that can be easily cleaned, choose either a satin or semigloss style. For a matte style of paint, you can choose a washable make can be easily wiped over with a damp sponge to remove stains.

If your children are always drawing on the wall, why not embrace it? Invest in a chalkboard, magnetic style or dry erase type of paint, which will allow your kids to scribble safely on the walls. Best of all, any marks can be easily wiped off.


Opt for a kid-friendly sofa


Leather sofas are one of the best options for a child-friendly home. Not only does leather look good and feel comfortable, it is also easy to clean. Sofas made out of sunbrella materials are also excellent options for a child-friendly living room. Some furniture brands offer tougher materials that have stain resistant qualities, so are better choices for a family room.


Remember, choosing a darker coloured sofa will save you money in the long run, as they tend to wear longer than lighter coloured ones. If you opt for a darker sofa, you can always buy or make lighter coloured sofa covers to put over the top of it. Plus, couch covers can be easily cleaned or bleached if necessary.


Pick a child-friendly coffee table


Watching your little one fall onto the corner of the coffee table is a heart stopping moment. In order to prevent these kind of accidents occurring, opt for a more child-friendly alternative to a square coffee table.


Why not choose a round table or even a soft table – an upholstered ottoman or a couple of pouffes are great substitutes for a regular coffee table.


Think realistically


Whilst it might be nice to place your bookshelf at a low level, with small children around it is a recipe for disaster. Make sure to keep anything potentially dangerous or special out of the reach of little hands.


If you have young children, it might be a good idea to place your television on the wall instead of on a television cabinet. Kids have a habit of pulling things over, so it is a good idea to keep your child and television safe by keeping it out of reach. For added security, you could also protect your television with a protective case, for ideas have a look at TV Shields outdoor TV cover. Whilst these covers were created for outdoor use, they can also be effectively used indoors.


Choose child-friendly flooring


Spillages, sticky fingers and spilt sauces are all part of family life. Instead of worrying about them, keep things nice and simple by investing in easy-to-clean flooring.


Things like tiles, wooden flooring, laminate, and vinyl are all excellent choices. Try to steer clear of carpet as it can be tricky and expensive to clean.


Have ample storage


The key to keeping your home looking clutter-free is to provide lots of storage for toys and other bits and bobs. Things like wooden toy chests look great in most living rooms, are relatively cheap and offer excellent storage options.

Make The Most Of Xmas Without Expanding Your Waistline

While this time of year is full of fun and delight, it can be a real challenge to avoid putting on weight! All those boxes of chocolates and biscuits, not to mention all the candy that you can get cheaply at this time of year, is so tempting. And when it is cold you really don’t feel like putting on your running shoes and doing any exercise!


We are mindful all year round of what is good for us and what is bad, but the holidays are full of treats that make us cheat our good diets. The amount of food about that doesn’t fit in our normal routines is enormous. How are we all supposed to be good girls and boys with that level of temptation around us? Or are we just expected to go with it by embracing the gluttony and having our fill of whatever we like?


Advent calendars with a chocolate a day may seem like the ultimate contributor to our broken diet, but actually they can be great at helping us form good habits. Rationing requires great will power, so getting through the full twenty-five days with just one tiny chocolate a day is great practice. Usually, when we do our big weekly grocery shop and come back with a weeks worth of junk food, it is often all gone long before the week is out. If it is there, we eat it. Not buying it in the first place is one way to try to avoid it, but it might backfire at this time of year. When you have abstained for a really long time, you can’t help but go mad for it all when it is presented in bulk in the holidays.


Besides, someone said a little chocolate was good for you, right? So why not create a chocolate advent calendar! You can have one little chocolate every day. That one a day is usually enough for us. If you buy a bar of chocolate, you tend to eat the whole thing in one or two sittings. If you buy a box of chocolate, you end up having five or six little chocolates at a time too. Something about putting a date on the chocolate makes us be good and have just the one for that day. Why not try one for every month? You can keep your diet going well with that tiny little treat once a day.


Rationing ourselves isn’t easy, but if you have been good with a diet and exercise program in the past, chances are you have good will power to try. Have you ever tried the ‘one bite’ idea? You can have one bite of everything on the table, but no second bite of anything. When the table of desserts and sweets comes out, try the ‘one bite’ idea, instead of taking an entire portion of everything. You may be surprised at how much more you will savor the one bite compared to stuffing an entire slice in!


Hopefully, there is some middle ground. The trick is to balance what we have with what we have to do to burn it off again! Try these ideas out for ways to have a good Xmas period without packing on too many pounds this year:


  1. Kids – Children get the best presents at this time of year. Surround yourself with kids, and the cool stuff comes with them. Children will naturally want to play with everything they get, so this is where you come in and get to burn off some calories. Scooters, bikes, frisbees, and anything else you can think of are all active-toys. Offer to go out with the kids to try their new toys, and you are in for some exercise keeping up with them. Even if the children are only interested in board games, getting down on the floor and getting involved will burn off far more calories than falling asleep in the armchair.
  2. Pets – Offer to take the dog for a walk, or clean out the rabbit while the owner is busy preparing the big Xmas feast. They will be thrilled they don’t have to deal with that and maintain extra hygiene when they have so much to prepare. You will get a good run around the block with a very happy dog. When you get back, you will have done enough exercise to justify a giant portion of dinner!
  3. Holiday silliness – Instead of having a high-calorie glass of wine, invite the grown-ups to play something like charades. Try a console game that requires physical movement. The sillier the better, because all the giggling and laughing helps burn off more calories! Don’t let anybody fall asleep, and all of you will be aiding the digestive process at the same time. There are some great party games on the Wii and XBox Kinect to wiggle and writhe yourselves to. Enjoy a really good workout with one of the dancing ones!
  4. Post dinner walk – Some members of the family will be up for this, especially after dark. You can check out the neighborhood Xmas light efforts, and maybe even make a game of it by grading them all! Many families make this walk around the block an annual tradition and seeing all the lights going does give you that warm and fuzzy feeling. Make an effort to walk your entire estate, leaving no street unexplored. It is a great opportunity to get to talk to people, which seems so much harder at home with the kids running around.


Image thanks to Flickr


  1. Play musical instruments – While the repertoire doesn’t have to be traditional carols or even festive in nature, having a jamming session is a great way to get a workout. Whatever you play, or even if you sing, music is quite a physically demanding activity. The breathing required for singing or playing wind instruments can help aid digestion after dinner too. This one might need a little planning in advance to make sure there is enough sheet music and instruments available for everyone. You could even have a little rehearsal earlier in the day and put on a cute recital after dinner.


I am sharing this on behalf of a Bloggin’ Mamas Social Good Campaign. Bloggin’ Mamas and Element Associates are donating a toy to a child in foster care for every blog post sharing this information, up to 25.


Today, 402,000 children are in the foster care system in the United States. Nearly 102,000 children (under 18 years of age) waiting for adoption.

During this holiday season, there’s an extra push to help them find homes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council recently unveiled a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to continue to encourage the adoption of children from foster care with an emphasis on the importance of keeping siblings together.

Check out this PSA video from the Ad Council:

Since the launch of the campaign in 2004, more than 22,000 children who were once photo-listed on the AdoptUSKids website are now with their adoptive families and over 35,000 families have registered to adopt through AdoptUSKids.

Many times, there are siblings also listed. Approximately 23% of children and youth actively photolisted on the AdoptUSKids website and waiting for placement in adoptive homes were registered with one or more siblings. Sibling relationships are often the longest-lasting relationships for children in foster care.

For more information about adoption, or about becoming an adoptive parent to a child from foster care, please visit or visit the campaign’s communities on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I am donating this space towards sharing this message. Bloggin’ Mamas and Element Associates will be donating a toy to a foster child in exchange for my post, in support of AdoptUSKids.

Great Gift Idea From Best Buy and Canon!

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.


My husband bought me the Canon Rebel from Best Buy a while back and it has been the perfect camera for my family (and blogging, too)!  I take it with me on vacations, adventures around town and events I know my cell phone camera just won’t cut it.  I honestly didn’t even know all this amazing stats about the Canon EOS Rebel T5i but I did know I love love love my camera and often recommend it!  canon1

The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs for good reason, it’s user friendly, even for a novice like me. This camera makes advanced photography easy and fun, and gives you exceptional image quality, along with a host of features to enhance your creative expression.
•      Capture Hollywood caliber full HD video

•      Continuous autofocus while taking HD video

•      Features an 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images.

•      The 3″ vari-angle touch screen simplifies navigation.

Friends and family often ask me to bring my camera places, because they know I will get a good shot with my Canon Rebel T5i.  Well, now, I can tell them to pick up there own at Best buy with this awesome offer!

Save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy*. Visit Best Buy to learn more. *offer valid 12/7-12/20


Believe me, this would be a gift that would benefit the whole family.  Seriously, take a look around my site; you will certainly be able to tell right away which photos are from my Canon EOS Rebel T5i and which ones are quick shots with my camera phone.  For my family’s memories, there is no comparison!  Best Buy is the place to go for all your gift needs!

NCAA Tailgating With Walmart, Axe, Dove Men+ and Degree (Plus GIVEAWAY)

This post is sponsored by Global Influence, as always, my opinions are 100% my own.

I’m a Devil.  An Arizona State Sun Devil (FORK ‘EM)! Most my family is, too.  We have the black sheep side who favors that other Arizona University (that shall not be named) and our rivalry is (mostly) friendly.  Luckily, my husband is a Sun Devil fan…lucky for him, since there’s no way I would’ve married him (just kidding, honey).  College sports are fun to follow and even more fun to celebrate.


Tailgating and pregames are tradition in our family.  Good food, good friends and making sure we all feel game ready is important.  Most our traditions center around food, BBQing, setting up a buffet style table and getting comfy in our seats (who are we kidding; we jump up to cheer and yell every chance we get!).

Walmart and NCAA have teamed up with products like Dove Men+, Axe and Degree to help fans take pride in their pregame grooming, just like the athletes.  You can score a $5 gift card when you by $15 worth of Unilever products in a single transaction at Walmart.  That is a great deal of products you probably already use and definitely products you need!

This partnership brings giveaways, too!  Who would you take to a college bowl game?  You can enter to win a trip for you and a friend to a NCAA college bowl game of your choice!

Share your #PreGamePride (using the hashtag) and enter to win one of 10 $50 Walmart giftcards (or one $500 gift card!) below!

Walmart NCAA

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