Grocery Shopping with a plan on a budget

I have always loved the idea of couponing… but honestly I could never be on extreme couponing. I am good enough that it makes a slight difference for me when I do my regular shopping trips . But that is also a very good thing for me, As I’ve mentioned before I am a bit of a neat freak and that thought of having stock piles of groceries makes me a little anxious.

So I have figured out other ways to buy what we need on a budget, with some coupons. I have also found many apps that I earn money for grocery shopping ( that’s my kind of app).

saving money

A little over 2 months ago I was talking with a friend about money and how God has called us to be good stewards of what He gives us. Here I was buying groceries bi-weekly, and going multiple times during the week and wasting tons of food that we weren’t eating. I don’t think that is His definition of being a good steward at all, so I started to make a plan to change that.

Below I will go into detail about how I bought 3 weeks of groceries for my husband and I for $175.  This $175 also included tooth paste, his/her deodorant, contact solution and toilet paper.

  • Go through Pinterest or a cook book and choose 5/6 recipes that you will actually make. (Once I get home from the grocery store I prepare the meals in freezer bags so they are ready to be cooked. With this plan I am only cooking about every 2/3 nights)
I am a huge crockpot fan. I think it makes cooking so much easier and less time consuming. All of my recipes were crockpot meals that I knew both my husband and I will like.
  • Write down all of the ingredients you need for every meal. ; then condense it. So instead of having chicken on your list multiple times for the different recipes I made a new list with how many of one item I needed.
    • My first list was: Creamy Chicken and Rice, Pot Roast, Italian Zesty Chicken, Fajitas, Beef Stroganoff, and Chili.
  • Then I wrote down regular things that I need for breakfast, lunches and snacks; Eggs, Bacon, Bread, Lunch Meat, Milk, Carrots, Apples, Hummus etc..
We usually eat leftovers from another meal for lunch but we would have a sandwich or salad during the week also. Then for breakfast it was either bacon and eggs or peanut butter and banana toast.
  • After I’ve finished writing out my grocery list I go through and either mark items with a W(Walmart), K(Kroger), or A(Aldi). Yes I do go to 3 stores but I’ve found that I save more money by knowing which place has cheaper items. The only things I usually get at Walmart are toiletries.
  • Then I go through my coupons; I usually only have them for toilet paper, paper towels and cereal. Also I have the Kroger app downloaded on my phone and go through those coupons. Then they save directly to my Kroger Account Card.
  • My first stop is usually Aldi. They are so amazing that I really can get most things there for much cheaper. I got over half of my grocery list there and spent under $75. The majority of my grocery money went towards meat.
  • Kroger is where I usually get items that I can’t find at Aldi and meat.
    • Helpful Hint: If you buy chicken breast at Kroger get it at the meat counter. It is much cheaper. You can buy it for $1.99/lb instead of spending over $8.00 for chicken breast that are already packaged.

Now on to my favorite part!!!!! After all of your grocery shopping is done use the Ibotta app. It is the most amazing app. Go through and unlock the rebates for all of your groceries that you just purchased. Then all you have to do is take a picture of your receipt and you just earned money grocery shopping. I just redeemed my Ibotta money from 2 big grocery trips and cashed in over $40.00. Now let me say that you also earn more money for the more people you get to use the app. But I promise it is worth it!

If your considering using the App. Again just download the Ibotta App; and use my code: asftawp

So to wrap this up, I know that this seems like a lot but its honestly not. It takes me about 40 minutes to do all of the planning and list writing. These steps have been so successful in my grocery shopping trips for many reasons:
  1. I make ONE grocery trip; how often do we forget things and have to go back multiply times to the grocery store
  2. I don’t spend money on junk food or food that will go to waste when I have a list to stick to.
  3. In the long run it saves me time; I don’t have to think and prepare what I want to cook that night, it’s ready. It also helps with going out to eat less during the week when I already have my meals prepared in the freezer then they only have to be thrown into the crockpot.
If you end up trying out my grocery shopping tips let me know how it goes for you. Happy Grocery shopping!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while…

This morning I got online to check my email and do my weekly planner and saw a notification that I had not posted a blog in 4 months… :/ Fail on my part. Life has been a little crazy for us in the Mills house but I won’t make excuses. I wanted to start this blog to talk about things that I love so I decided it’s time to start again.

Here is a little briefing on what has been going on in the past four months……

WE ARE PREGNANT! We found out not long after my last post that we were expecting. We waited until we were out of the first trimester before making an announcement, which was so hard for me. I wanted to scream it from the roof tops. Nathan helped me stay calm and we both agreed we would just love the moment and wait to share it a little later. Once we were out of the first trimester we shared this picture..

IMG_2599

 

I was pretty sick until week 14. I didn’t just have morning sickness. I had all day, anytime, no control sickness. That part was not fun. But the crazy thing is I actually really didn’t mind being so sick because that was my reminder that our sweet baby was growing.

2 weeks ago we found out with our family and some of our closest friends that we were going to be blessed enough to be the parents to a sweet, healthy, growing baby boy. I have been wanting a boy this entire pregnancy. Whenever I talk to the baby I say buddy or refer to the baby as him. So I guess that means I was right. But I don’t know about other people but I never had the feeling everyone talks about or the instinct that it was going to be a boy or a girl. Nathan always tells me he doesn’t believe that stuff anyways, 50/50 chance. 🙂 I had one dream that it was a boy and one time it hit me at the doctors that it was a girl but I think that was because everyone was telling me they thought it was a girl. According to all of the old wives tales, Chinese calendar, and some even/odd test I should be having a girl. But after the ultrasound there is no way to deny we are having a little boy.

FullSizeRender (2)

All of that has been keeping us pretty busy. Excitement of our growing baby, planning, shopping, and decorating. Trips to San Diego to spend time with 2 amazing friends. Spending time with friends and family, and spending lots of time with each other since soon life is going to change. It won’t just be the two of us anymore.

Nathan has also been working pretty hard on his blog/music teaching. It has been amazing to watch him grow even more in this and continue to see how talented he is. You should totally check him out.

www.beyondtheguitar.com

That has been our lives for the past 4 months, full of joy, craziness and adventure. I have been journaling a lot and just haven’t put it on the blog yet. So the journal entries, more crafts, and now organizing a baby room post with begin again.

I also just want to say  thank you so much to everyone who read my first blog post about our loss. The amount of love, encouragement and prayers were received were overwhelming. We are so thankful for all of you and so thankful that God has allowed us this time to be parents.

 

 

 

Wood Mantel

Crafting was always something that intrigued me but I was never sure if I was really artistic enough to make it happen. But when I got married we were living on a tight newly weds’ budget in a new town and he was in his masters program full time. I had to find inexpensive ways to decorate our house the way I wanted. That is when I first fell in love with Pinterest. I started pinning away. Most of the time I had to wait for my mom to visit to make my crafts come to life. Our first project was a corner shelf made from a door. 4 years later it’s still in my house! Then we started to make wreaths (my first ones were not very pretty).

Like I’ve said previously we live in a house that was built in 1952. We have a “mancave” downstairs and that is where our fire place and mantel are. We don’t have one in our main living room. So for Christmas, or Fall I have a limited area to decorate where everyone sees. I knew I wanted a wood mantel so I looked all over the Internet and the cheapest was $200. Then it hit me, just make your own. As mentioned before, I typically turned to Pinterest for inspiration in the past. However, this project was entirely inspired and designed by yours truly!!

I drew a sketch on a piece of paper and then went to Home Depot to get all of the supplies I thought I would need.

image2image1 (1)image1  hammer and nails.

Steps:

  1. I bought 4 boards and had the guy at home depot cut them down to 50in
  2. I stained the entire board (all sides) and let it dry for 24 hours
  3. Then I laid them on top of each other until I decided how I wanted them to look on the wall
  4. I took Gorilla glue and put to boards together and also nailed them together, repeat adding one board at a time.
  5. Then my awesome step dad came and helped me hang it on the wall once it was all finished. We used these to hang:image1 (2)

Here’s the finished product:

IMG_2379

I was so excited to have this up by Fall. Loving all of my new fall decorations for my mantel. Check it out on my etsy shop if you want one of your own.

http://etsy.me/1QQ0l0Y

Bekkah 🙂

My journey through a miscarriage

Recently I was at a ladies church event where we were asked to pick a number. A number that described us or brought about a certain memory. I chose my age, 24. This year has brought me the most joy, heartbreak, encouragement, challenge, and growth. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mom when I “grew up.” I wanted to have a loving husband and cozy house filled with lots of laughing children.

In April we thought our journey was finally about to start. A positive pregnancy test! The first call I made was to my sister. I actually face-timed her while she was at work. I instantly starting crying when she answered. Right then she knew. She was so excited but had to stay calm since she still had to finish her work day. After we hung up, I put my nieces in the car and went and we went to the store to buy a batman onesie (Nathan loves batman). I wrapped it in a gift bag and set the positive pregnancy test right next to it; so when Nathan came home from work, it was the first thing he saw. The following weekend we had breakfast with my family and dinner with Nathan’s and announced our pregnancy. Nathan volunteered to bless the meal before we ate and prayed, “God thank you for this day and this food. And thank you for the baby that is growing inside of Bekkah’s belly.” My mom started crying right away and my mother in law sat next to me as calm as she could for the rest of the prayer while squeezing my hand, almost jumping out of her chair. It was one of the best days of my life.

A few days later I knew something wasn’t right. I probably called my mom 5 times in one hour, telling her over and over again that something was wrong. She told me to ask my mother in law to come over and watch the girls while she took me to the doctor. In that moment, even though I was seeking reassurance, I knew that I had lost my sweet baby. Nathan met us at the doctor and I cried the entire time we were there. I cried on and off for the next week. I don’t feel like I dealt with it the right way at first. After that week I kept telling myself,  “It will be okay, you will be able to get pregnant again soon.” “Lots of people get pregnant right after a miscarriage.” Unfortunately that has not been the case for me.

It has been 5 months since my miscarriage and I’m still not pregnant. It’s like another let down every month, having to process my miscarriage over and over again. I have honestly asked my husband if it will change how he feels about me if I’m unable to have a baby? He continues to speak truth in my life and is always so patient, reassuring me that he is here for me no matter what. Even though I struggle with this regularly, God has taught me so much through it. He has taught me more about His love for me than I ever knew. He has taught me more about His perfect timing and big picture plan for my life. He is showing me daily to lean on him, to find strength in him, and that HE is enough. He will give me the desires of my heart.

t_4478_01 (2)

Again, He sees the big picture. He doesn’t promise that He will do it in my timing or according to my plan. But He will someday bless me with the opportunity to be a momma.

So, as hard as all of this has been I am so thankful for the short time I was able to be my baby’s momma. I am so thankful that I had my family surrounding me, praying for me, and encouraging me. For this time that God has taught me about how he sees me and how much He loves me. For all of my sweet friends who continue to pray for me and for those who have gone through the same thing who reached out to me. So today and everyday, let’s think and pray for all of the women who have lost their babies. Pray that we find peace in Christ and who He is.

IMG_0008

Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” God said , “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. Genesis 17:17-19

God has a BIG picture plan!

Bekkah

Welcome to my first blog post! I’ve been processing and planning for months if I should start one and then today decided to go for it. The reason today seemed perfect is because October 15 is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. This recently has hit so close to home and I felt this was the best place to process out loud what I’m going through and what many other woman are going through. For all of you going through this I am praying for you. Please know that if you need someone to talk to I’m here. But I will go into more depth with that later….

So a little about me:

My name is Bekkah and I am married to a wonderful man named Nathan who is an amazing classical guitarist.. let me know if you need a musician ;). My dream job has always been to be a mom and a homemaker. He recently helped make that possible. I am a stay-at-home aunt, and hopefully soon to be a stay-at-home mom! I get to spend my day playing, crafting, teaching and loving on 2 of my spunky nieces. On the most beautiful days I don’t have to worry about being inside a building anymore, I get to enjoy outdoors with these girls. They have brought more joy to my life as an aunt then I could have ever imagined. And do they keep me on my toes! Whoever said keeping a  4 1/2-year-old and a 9 month old engaged all day would be easy has obviously never done it. But I wouldn’t trade this time for anything.

FullSizeRender  IMG_2192

I love crafting. I just recently made a mantel for my living room.. pictures and details to come. I would make a new wreath for my door everyday if I could but I try to stick to one wreath per season. I am also always trying to figure out crafting ways to improve my 1952 house. It is homey and has lots of character (my husband always says that is a nice way to say it’s OLD).

I am also very organized. I don’t do clutter or messes. I like labels and I have a specific place for everything that I have. It makes life so much easier. I don’t ever have to search to find something and because my house is organized it takes no time to clean. I will show you some of my tricks for easy, budget-friendly organizing soon.

So be ready for all this blog has to offer. I will include lots of crafts, organizing and home school preschool activities. As well as take you on my joy-filled, exciting and sometimes heartbreaking pregnancy journey.

My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Bekkah