6 Tips How to Save Money on Groceries without Price Matching Video

how to save money on groceries without price matchingDid you hear the news that Walmart will be discontinuing its price matching? My local Utah Walmart discontinued price matching on May 3, 2017. I made a video for you with 6 Tips on How to Save Money on Groceries without Price Matching. Since filming this video, I found out that Walmart stores in Utah and surrounding states have discontinued price matching, but there are Walmarts in some states that still do price match. Call your Walmart to see if they are going to discontinue price matching. As this continues to trickle out nationwide, there is a good chance that eventually all Walmarts will discontinue price matching. Leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions or what tips you have to save money on groceries.



If you can’t view the video, head over to my YouTube Channel here to watch it.


save money on groceries without price matching

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5 Tips How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck & Start Saving

stop living paycheck to paycheck and start saving money saving tips

When I was going to college full time, I had a part time job and wasn’t making a lot of money. I didn’t want to take out a loan, so I tried to be as frugal as possible by managing my paychecks and paying for rent and food each month, and then saving as much money as possible so I could pay for each semester. You can read more about how I almost paid for college without taking out a loan here. It wasn’t easy. And there were months where I was barely scraping by from paycheck to paycheck and wasn’t able to put money into savings.

After I married my husband and we had our first child, that first year when I was a stay-at-home mom was challenging as we went from two incomes down to just one. We had to figure out how to make it work each month to solely live off my husband’s paycheck, and there were some months where we barely had enough from our paycheck to cover all of the bills. Even though those were hard months, we luckily weren’t at the point where we were living paycheck to paycheck. If for some reason my husband was suddenly unemployed, we would still be able to meet financial obligations for a short time because we had savings. We didn’t want to touch that savings unless it was for an emergency because we knew that if we had to regularly dip into our savings each month to pay bills, we would soon find ourselves in an extremely stressful and difficult situation. So we found ways to live frugally.

If you find that you can’t sustain yourself a few days without a regular paycheck coming in and you have to rely on each paycheck to manage your day-to-day life, then you won’t be able to plan ahead for unexpected situations that might occur, like a trip to the doctor’s office or a broken down car. You’ll end up using a credit card then have to work hard to try to pay it off. There are a number of reasons someone may end up living paycheck to paycheck. It could be an event outside their control or it could be a result of their own financial choice they made. Either way, it’s a stressful way to live.

I want to share with you some tips on how to stop living paycheck to paycheck and start saving money. It won’t be easy. It will take dedication and determination, and you’ll have to make sacrifices along the way, but in the end it will be worth it. You won’t have the stress of debt or trying to come up with money for the things you really need or those unexpected situations that might arise. Here are 5 tips to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

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7 Ways to Save Money on School Lunches

7 Ways to Save Money on School LunchesWith the school shopping complete or nearly complete, the kids are headed back to school. But one thing you still need to think about is school lunches for your children. My daughter will be in third grade this year, which means she will be eating lunch at school. However, paying for cafeteria lunches each day can start to cost a lot. With some planning and preparation, you can pack school lunches for your children that are nutritious and yummy, and if done correctly, can actually be cheaper than buying lunch. And packing school lunches doesn’t have to be too much of a hassle. Here are 7 ways to save money on school lunches.

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6 Ways to Save Money & Increase Your Savings This Year

6 ways to save money and increase savings this year

In June 2013, my father passed away. It wasn’t totally unexpected. He had diabetes, his health had been declining, and earlier that year, the doctor said his kidneys were failing. However, I was still shocked when my brother called me to let me know my father passed away. That week was stressful as we hurried to make funeral arrangements and clean out my father’s apartment. But the biggest stress was the financial burden of the funeral that fell upon me and my three siblings. (You can read the full post on on Money Saving Mom).

We had to come up with $7,000 to cover the funeral costs. Luckily, we were able to split up the cost between my siblings and uncles. That still meant that my family needed to pay $1,000. Thankfully, my husband and I had an emergency fund to pull from to cover our portion of the funeral. If we didn’t have an emergency fund, the financial burden would have been placed on my siblings or we would have had to put it in a credit card and go into debt.

It was a huge blessing that my husband and I made the decision years ago to build up an emergency fund. You never think something will happen to you until it does unexpectedly. It can happen to anyone at any time. It might be the death of a loved one, an unfortunate hospital visit, or a job layoff. What’s important is that you’ve planned for these unexpected events by having some savings. This is your financial cushion in case something goes wrong and you need to access money quickly. If you already have an emergency fund, it’s still important to continue setting money aside in savings so you can pay for items that your family needs or even wants without having to use a credit card and go into debt.

According to a study by Bankrate.com, more than a quarter of consumers have no emergency savings. It’s recommended that you put away at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses. If you have debt, the first step is to save $1,000 in an emergency fund, then start eliminating debt. Once your debt has been eliminated, then you can continue to build your three to six month savings. Here are ways to save money so you can increase your savings this year.


Tip #1 – Have a Plan and Set Goals

Think about what you are saving for. Is it an emergency fund? Is it extra money to pay off debt or pay down your mortgage? Or is it a family vacation? Once you know what you want to save for, then prioritize which one is the most important to you.

Now examine your financial situation, income, and needs. In other words, create a budget or a “spending strategy.” We all spend money each month, but a spending strategy will help you spend your money more wisely. Based on your spending strategy, figure out how much you can reasonably put towards savings each week or month and set some financial goals. These goals need to be achievable and have a time frame. And the goals need to be broken down into smaller goals.

For example, if you want to save $6,000 within one year (which would be a three-month emergency fund for your family), that breaks down to $500 per month, or $125 per week. So you would need to find an extra $125 in your budget each week in order to build a three-month emergency fund within one year.

Saving $125 each week, or whatever your goal is, may seem impossible because there are bills to pay such as the mortgage, utilities, groceries, a car payment, and possibly student loans. You may be thinking that you would like to save, but there’s just no money left at the end of the month. And that’s the problem. Most people save what’s left over after bills and discretionary spending. But by prioritizing, it’s possible to save that $125 a week or come close to doing it. This leads to Tip #2.


Tip #2 – Pay Yourself First

To pay yourself simply means that before you pay your bills, buy groceries, or spend any money, first set aside a portion of your income to save. You can make it easy by automatically depositing an amount or percentage of your paycheck into a savings account. If you arrange to have the money taken from your paycheck before you receive it, then you will get used to managing living expenses with what looks like a smaller paycheck. Most importantly, stay consistent and treat the money you’ve saved as if it is off-limits, except in a real financial emergency.

One benefit of paying yourself first is that you are encouraging sound financial habits. Most people spend their money in the following order: bills, discretionary spending, saving. It’s not surprising that there is usually little left over to place in the bank. If you turn it around and put it in this order: saving, bills, discretionary spending, then you are able to save the money before you spend it.

Almost everyone can save 1% of their income. Say your family’s monthly take home is $2,500. Saving 1% would be $25. Saving such a small amount may seem pointless, but it’s helping you to grow your savings. Plus, the process is painless. If saving 1% is easy, then try saving 5% or 10% a month. It depends on your financial situation and what you feel you can reasonably put toward savings each month.

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Walmart’s New Price Matcher: Savings Catcher

walmart savings catcher

Have you heard about Walmart’s new Savings Catcher program? It has finally been released nationwide.

Savings Catcher compares your receipt to advertised prices from top stores in your area, and if it finds a lower advertised price, you get the difference on a Walmart eGift Card. Here is how it works:

walmart savings catcher 2

  1. Enter your receipt number or scan the bar code by downloading the Walmart App. You have 7 days from the date of purchase to enter your receipt.
  2. Walmarts matches the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product. They work with an independent third party to collect weekly print and online circulars from top retailers in your area.
  3. If Savings Catcher finds a lower advertised price, you get an eGift Card with the difference.

Here are some additional details:

  • You can submit up to 7 receipts per week, per account.
  • Savings Catcher only applies to in-store purchases.
  • Savings Catcher applies to most grocery items (excluding store brand items, deli, bakery and weighed items like meat); consumable items such as paper towels, bleach and trash bags; health and beauty items; and select general merchandise.
  • You will know within 72 hours if any items on your receipt were found lower elsewhere and if it will be applied to your eGift Card.
  • You can’t earn more than $599.99 in Walmart Rewards eGift Cards in a calendar year.
  • One of the Savings Catcher’s Frequently Asked Questions is will Walmart’s ad match guarantee still be available in stores, and the answer is “Yes”. You can still price match in-store at Walmart. Head over here to read Walmart’s Ad Match Guarantee.

One of the downsides to the Savings Catcher program is that they only price match top retailers in your area. So if there are smaller grocery stores near you, they won’t “catch” those savings. In my area, I have a smaller grocery store nearby, as well as Maceys, but the Savings Catcher doesn’t compare prices from either of those stores. One woman from Utah mentioned that they didn’t price match Kent’s, which is near where she lives.

So is the Savings Catcher worth it?

For those of you who shop at Walmart, but don’t price match, then this will definitely save you money and something you should look into doing.

However, for me, if I rely only on the Savings Catcher to price match for me, I would miss out on a lot of good deals that I could price match myself and I wouldn’t save as much money. For those of you who do price match, I recommend still doing your homework to find out what’s on sale each week. If you live in Utah, every Wednesday I post the best Grocery Deals to Price Match list to make it easy for you to price match and so you don’t have to do as much work. Once you’ve finished your shopping at Walmart, then take a minute to submit your receipt to see if Walmart catches a lower price for you. It’s really simple and fast to enter a receipt, and you don’t have to do anything to get those extra savings. And who knows, maybe they will catch some deals that are a lower price than what you purchased them for. Even though I price match a lot and look at 10+ stores every week, the Savings Catcher has been able to save me a few cents here and there on items that I’ve missed.

What are your thoughts about the Walmart Savings Catcher program?

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Free Bath & Body Works Lotion (No Purchase Necessary)

bath & body works lotion

Head over to Bath & Body Works Facebook page, and click on “Get Offer” on their latest post to get a coupon for a FREE Signature Collection Travel-Size Body Lotion ($5 value)! No purchase is necessary! This offer is valid in-store only through October 20, 2013.

If you are heading out shopping this weekend, you can just drop into Bath & Body Works to grab this deal!

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Free Museum Day (Sept. 28)

free museum day

There are a few FREE things happening on Saturday, September 28, 2013. Yesterday, I posted about the Free Entrance Day to National Parks.

And there is also an opportunity to get into a local museum for FREE! This Saturday, September 28, you can get up to two free tickets to a local participating museum that is sponsored by the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live! annual event.

Here’s how to get two free tickets:

  • See which museums are participating in your area by heading over here.
  • Once you have found a participating museum, then complete the registration form here.
  • Your ticket will be e-mailed to you. Make sure to print it off and bring the ticket with you to the museum.

The free ticket is good for two people per household and is NOT valid for special exhibits, IMAX film screenings or for use with any other offers. There is a limit of one Museum Day Ticket per household and per valid e-mail address.

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Grocery Products to Price Match at Walmart (Sept. 11-17)


walmart logo

After looking through this week’s sales fliers, here are the best Grocery Products to Price Match at Walmart this week, September 11-17, 2013.

Macey’s still has its 22 lb. case of peaches on sale for $11.99 and its Oakdell Medium Eggs, 5 dozen for $3.88. If you are needing those items, you might want to make a special trip to Macey’s to pick them up.

And the case lot sales are continuing this week for Harmons, Reams, Smith’s, Fresh Market, and Soelberg’s. Now’s the time to stock up on items you use often in your kitchen.

Apples, Fuji – $0.50 lb. (Rancho)

Avocados – $0.33 each (Sprouts) or $0.50 each (Rancho)

Bell Peppers, green – $0.59 lb. (Rancho – Sept. 13-15 Only) OR $0.33 each (Sprouts)

Bell Peppers, red – $0.98 each (Sprouts)

Blackberries, 6 oz. – $2.50 (Sprouts)

Blueberries, 4.4 oz. – $2.50 (Sprouts)

Broccoli – $0.77 lb. (Reams)

Carrots, 1 lb. bag – $0.33 each (Rancho – Sept. 10-12 Only)

Carrots, 1 lb. baby peeled – $0.98 each (Sprouts)

Cauliflower – $0.77 lb. (Reams)

Celery – $0.33 each (Rancho – Sept. 13-15 Only)

Cilantro – $0.25 each bunch (Rancho)

Grapes, green – $0.79 lb. (Rancho)

Grapes, red – $0.99 lb. (Albertsons) or 1.50 lb. (Sprouts)

Honeydew – $0.33 lb. (Rancho & Sprouts)

Jalapeno Peppers – $0.59 lb. (Reams)

Onions, brown – $0.25 lb. (Rancho – Sept. 10-12 Only)

Onions, yellow – $0.39 lb. (Macey’s)

Peaches – $0.98 lb. (Sprouts)

Pears – $0.98 lb. (Sprouts)

Pineapple – $0.50 lb. (Rancho – Sept. 10-12 Only)

Plums – $0.98 lb. (Sprouts)

Potatoes, 5 lb. bag, red – $1.69 each (Fresh Market)

Raspberries, 6 oz. – $2.50 (Sprouts)

Spinach – $0.50 each bunch (Rancho)

Strawberries, 1 lb. – $2.50 (Sprouts)

Tomatillos – $0.50 lb. (Rancho – Sept. 10-12 Only)

Tomatoes, Roma – $0.50 lb. (Rancho)

Watermelon – $0.33 lb. (Sprouts)

Yams – $0.33 lb. (Rancho – Sept. 10-12 Only)

Zucchini Squash – $0.78 lb. (Harmons)


Milk, gallon – $2.49 (Walgreens)

Mountain Dairy Chocolate Milk, gallon – $2.79 (Smith’s)

Tillamook Cheese, 5 lb. – $11.99 (Smith’s – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand shredded cheese, 5 lb. bag – $12.45 (Reams – It comes out to be $2.49 lb., which is a great price!)

Eggs, large 18 ct. – $1.79 (Albertsons) or Eggs, large dozen – $1.29 (Rancho)

Store brand sour cream, 16 oz. – $0.89 (Macey’s)

Dannon Activia, 4 ct. – $2.00 (Harmons)
Use the $1.00/1 Dannon coupon from the SS 8/4/13 coupon insert
Final price: $1.00

Store brand butter, 1 lb. – $1.87 (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Philadelphia Cream Cheese, 8 oz. – $0.99 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)


Pork, Sirloin Roast, boneless – $1.49 lb. (Smith’s)

Pork, Sirloin Chops, boneless, super value pack – $1.99 lb. (Smith’s)

Beef, London Broil, super value pack – $2.99 lb. (Smith’s)

Beef, Petite Sirloin Steak, super value pack – $2.99 lb. (Smith’s)


Baking, Food, and Snacks
Store brand flour, 25 lb. bag all purpose bleached or unbleached – $7.99 (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand powdered or brown sugar, 2 lb. – $1.25 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand evaporated milk, 12 oz. – $0.69 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand granulated sugar, 25 lb. bag – $9.99 (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand salt, 26 oz. plain or iodized – $0.44 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Don Julio Flour Tortillas, 14-15 oz. – $0.89 each (Macey’s)

La Victoria Salsa, 16 oz. – $1.50 each (Harmons)
Use the $1.00/2 La Victoria coupon from the SS 8/11/13 coupon insert
Final price: $1.00

Store brand green chilies, 4 oz. – $0.50 each (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)

Taco Bell Refried Beans, 16 oz. – $0.69 each (Macey’s)

Store brand refried beans, 16 oz. – $0.59 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

S&W Flavored Beans, 15-15.25 oz. – $0.59 (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand beans, 15 oz. can – $0.50 each (Smith’s) – Case Lot Sale)

Nalley Chili, 15 oz. – $0.89 each (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand cream soup, 10.5 oz. – $0.50 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand tomato or chicken noodle soup, 10.5-10.75 oz. – $0.44 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Minute Instant Rice, 14 oz. – $1.49 each (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand tomato sauce, 8 oz. – $0.20 each (Smith’s – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand tomato paste, 6 oz. regular or Italian style – $0.44 (Fresh Market – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand tomatoes, 14.5 oz. – $0.49 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Campbells Spaghettios or Spaghetti, 14.75-15 oz. Original – $0.59 each (Fresh Market – Case Lot Sale)

Hunt’s Spaghetti Sauce, 24 oz. – $0.79 each (Rancho)

Betty Crocker Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, 6.8-7 oz. – $0.29 each (Albertsons – When you purchase 10 participating products promo)

Store brand pasta, 48 oz. spaghetti or elbow macaroni – $1.99 (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Betty Crocker Specialty Potatoes, 3.7-6.6 oz. – $0.59 each (Albertsons – When you purchase 10 participating products promo)

Knorr Rice or Pasta Sides, 4-5.7 oz.  $0.88 each (Smith’s – Case Lot Sale – Purchase for a 72-hour kit)

Botan Rice, 20 lb bag. – $9.99 (Smith’s – Case Lot Sale)

Betty Crocker Hamburger, Chicken or Tuna Helper, 5.1-12.2 oz. – $0.59 (Albertsons – When you purchase 10 participating products promo)
Use the $0.50/1 Betty Crocker Chicken Helper coupon from the SS 9/8/13 coupon insert
And/or use the $0.75/3 Hamburger & Chicken Helper coupon from the SS 9/8/13 coupon insert
And/or use the $0.80/4 Betty Crocker coupon here
Final price: As low as $0.09!

Milford Valley Chicken, 5 oz. – $0.83 each (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand premium chunk chicken breast, 5 oz. – $0.99 (Fresh Market – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand chunk light tuna, 5 oz. – $0.69 each (Soelberg’s – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand vegetables, 11-15.25 oz. can corn or green beans – $0.49 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand canned fruit, 15-15.25 oz. – $0.79 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand peaches or pears, 29 oz. – $0.99 each (Fresh Market – Case Lot Sale)

Liberty Gold Pineapple, 24 oz. – $0.88 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand mandarin oranges, 10.5-11 oz. – $0.50 (Reams- Case Lot Sale)

Skippy Peanut Butter, 16.3 oz. – $1.99 each (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)
Use the $0.55/1 Skippy Peanut Butter coupon here
Final price: $1.44

Store brand peanut butter, 18 oz. – $1.65 each (Smith’s – Case Lot Sale)

Welch’s Grape Jam or Jelly, 32 oz. jar – $1.67 (Macey’s)
Use the $1.00/2 Welch’s coupon from the RP 7/28/13 coupon insert
Final price: $1.17

Mrs Butterworths Syrup, 64 oz. twin pack – $5.99 (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand ketchup, 24 oz. – $0.88 each (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)

Clover Club Potato Chips, 8-10 oz. – $1.67 (Macey’s)

Nabisco Ritz Crackers, 12.25-16 oz. – $2.00 (Harmons)
Use the $0.75/2 Nabisco coupon from the SS 8/11/13 coupon insert
Final price: $1.63

Betty Crocker, Motts, Ocean Spray or Sunkist Fruit Snacks or Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers or Fruit Roll-Ups Fruit Flavored Snacks, 4.5-5 oz. – $1.25 (Reams – When you purchase 4)
Use the $0.50/2 Betty Crocker coupon here (print twice)
Or use the $0.50/2 Betty Crocker coupon from the SS 8/4/13 coupon insert
Final price: $1.00 each!

Hunts Snack Packs, 4 pk. – $1.00 (Reams – Great for a 72-hour kit)
Use the $1.00/3 Hunt’s Snack Packs coupon here
Final price: $0.67 each 4-pack

Quaker Cereal, 9-14 oz. – $1.49 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)
Use the $1.00/2 Quaker coupon from the RP 8/4/13 coupon insert
Final price: $0.99

Malt O Meal Cereal, 22-36 oz. – $2.49 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)

Nabisco Snack Crackers, 5.5-10 oz. – $1.49 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)
Use the $0.75/2 Nabisco coupon from the SS 8/11/13 coupon insert
Final price: $1.12 each

Fiber One Bars, 5-12 ct. – $1.49 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)
Use the $0.50/1 Fiber One coupon here (print it twice)
And/or use the $0.50/1 Fiber One coupon from the SS 8/4/13 and 8/11/13 coupon inserts
Final price: $0.99 each

Nature Valley Bars, 5-12 ct. – $1.49 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)
Use the $0.50/1 Nature Valley coupon from the SS 8/4/13 coupon insert
Or use the $0.50/2 Nature Valley coupon here
Final price: As low as $0.99 each

DiGiorno Pizza or Pizza Plus, 19.7-36.8 oz. – $4.99 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)
Use the $2.00/2 DiGiorno coupon here (print it twice)
Final price: $3.99 each

Store brand ice cream, 128 oz. – $3.99 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)

Lawrys Marinades, 12 oz. – $0.79 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)

Store brand ice cream, 4 qt. pail – $4.99 (Reams)


Old Orchard Frozen Concentrate Juice, 12 oz. – 1.00 each (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)
Use the $1.00/4 Old Orchard coupon here (sign up to be an Old Orchard member)
Final price: $0.75 each

Langers Apple or Grape Juice, 64 oz. – $1.29 each (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand orange juice, gallon – $2.50 (Smith’s)

Tampico Fruit Punch, gallon – $1.25 (Rancho)

Store brand orange juice, 12 oz. frozen – $0.99 each (Reams – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand purified drinking water, 24 pack – $1.99 (Reams – Case Lot Sale)


Cottonelle Bath Tissue, 24 double rolls – $8.99 each (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)

Store brand bath tissue, 12 ct. ultra soft or strong double roll or 6 ct. ultra soft or strong mega roll – $4.99 (Macey’s)

Store brand paper towels, 15 roll – $5.99 (Harmons – Case Lot Sale)

Sun Laundry Detergent, 125-188 oz. – $4.99 (Macey’s)

Tide Laundry Detergent, 50 oz. liquid – $4.99 (Smith’s – When you purchase 5 participating products promo)
Use the $3.00/3 Tide coupon from the P&G 9/1/13 coupon insert
or use the $0.40/1 Tide coupon here
Final price: As low as $3.99 each

Store brand hand soap refills, 40 oz. – $2.35 (Reams – Case Lot Sale)



Each Walmart store has their own list of stores they will price match. Be sure to double check which stores your local Walmart will  price match. And below are the different starting and ending dates for  store sales. Make sure to price match these items while they are on sale.

  • Macey’s ad runs Mon. through Mon. (except in Tooele where the ad  runs Wed. through Wed.)
  • Rancho Market’s ad runs Mon. through Sun.
  • Harmon’s ad runs Mon. through Sun.
  • Soelberg’s ad runs Tues. through Tues.
  • Ream’s ad runs Tues. through Mon.
  • Ridley’s ad runs Tues. through Mon.
  • Sprout’s ad runs Wed. through Wed.
  • Albertsons ad runs Wed. through Tues.
  • Fresh Market’s ad runs Wed. through Tues.
  • Smith’s ad runs Wed. through Tues.


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My Dance Attire Purchase Experience

 dance clothes

My 4-year-old daughter recently started a dance class this year. She had been talking to me about starting dance, and since she was really excited to do it, we went ahead and enrolled her in a dance class.

One week before class started, I received an e-mail that mentioned dance would be starting soon. I did not realize that it was only one week away. I seriously thought I still had 2-3 weeks to get my daughter ready for dance. I knew that I needed to head over to the dance studio soon to get the dance shoes ordered and to pick up tights. Prior to going to the dance studio, I looked up prices for leotards. I found some reasonably priced ones on Walmart’s website. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any available at the store near me for in-store pickup. I could have ordered one, but it wouldn’t have been there by the first day of dance class.

When I arrived at the dance studio, and as I looked through the leotards, I decided to just fork out the money and buy one. (Yes, even I sometimes end up paying full price for items when I don’t plan ahead.) I wasn’t sure if I would have time to run around to stores looking for a leotard, and I wanted to at least have something for her to wear on her first day of dance.

The next evening when I had some time, I quickly stopped in at a store nearby that sold children’s new and gently used clothing. I wasn’t too optimistic that I would find anything and thought that the dance attire would already be picked over since dance would be starting soon at many studios. However, I was lucky because right there in the dance attire section, there was a black leotard that was just my daughter’s size, still in good condition, and it was only $2.99! Plus, they had tap shoes in her size for just $2.99! I was so happy that I’d been able to find these items. It definitely saved me money, and I was able to return the other leotard to the dance studio.

It is nice to find deals on items and to know that I didn’t have to pay full price for them. Plus, these dance items will be handed down to my other daughter when she’s old enough to start dance class.

There are times when I purchase an item spontaneously, especially when there is a deadline. But I’ve learned that if I am patient and check a few other stores, I can save money. And the other thing I’ve learned is to check second-hand clothing stores first. It’s amazing how much money you can save on clothing at these stores, and they are still in good condition.

I am really excited for my daughter to dance, and I think it’s partly because I love dancing so much! She has already been to her dance class a few times and is really loving it, and as long as she wants to dance, I plan to live vicariously through her.   🙂


You might also want to read the article How to Save Money on Children’s Clothing.

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How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget

How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget

We regularly hear tragic stories of people who are affected by hurricanes, floods, fires, tsuamis, and the list goes on.  A disaster can happen to anyone at any time, and it’s important to be prepared as much as possible. How would your family cope immediately following a disaster, especially when you won’t be able to rely on anyone to help out for days? That’s why it’s important to have an emergency kit ready to go.

The last couple of years, I’ve been compiling my family’s 72-hour kits. I’ve picked up backpacks for each family member, added the essentials of food, water, shelter, warmth, light, and other items, and I’ve placed them where we can quickly grab them and go.  Below is a list of what I’ve compiled in my 72-hour kit, as well as some tips on how to do it on a budget. There are some items that are hard to find on sale, so I suggest setting aside a few dollars a month to purchase these items at a later date. And be sure to check out my ABC4 TV appearance about Building a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget.

First, head to a thrift store to pick up backpacks for a couple of dollars, or if you have a school backpack that is no longer being used, then use it for a 72-hour kit. Begin adding the items below into the backpacks.

This emergency food should be a 3-day supply for each person. Include foods from your stockpile that you already have or that you can pick up inexpensively. The meals should be easy and simple such as just adding water, and they should be food items that you would eat. Be sure to include some protein items too. Below is a breakdown of what I picked up and the price points. For some of the products you might be able to find it for a better price, and some of the products could be divided into multiple 72-hour kits.

  • Starkist Tuna Pouch (On sale for $1, used $0.50/1 coupon = $0.50)
  • Skippy Peanut Butter (On sale for $0.99)
  • Vienna sausages ($0.43)
  • Slim Jim Jerky ($2.98 for 28 sticks = $0.10 per stick)
  • Lipton Cup of Soup ($1.20 for 2 pack = $0.60 per pack)
  • Instant Lunch Cup of Soup ($0.36)
  • Top Ramen (On sale for $0.13)
  • Chicken and Rice  ($0.84)
  • Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, 10 pack (On sale for $1.67 = $0.16 per bar)
  • Quaker Instant Oatmeal, 10 packets (On sale for $1.67 = $0.16 per packet)
  • Trail Mix ($1.00 at the Dollar Store)
  • Energy bars (watch for sales and use coupons; received the one above for free from company)
  • Ocean Spray Dried Fruit ($1.88, used $1 off coupon = $0.88)
  • Dole Fruit Cups ($2.00 for 4 pack, used $1.00/2 coupon = $0.38 each cup)
  • Mott’s Applesauce ($1.98 for 6 pack, used $0.50/1 coupon = $0.24 each cup)
  • Pepperidge Farm Gold Fish (On sale for $0.75)
  • Raisins, 10 pack ($1.48 = $0.14 per box)
  • Graham Crackers, 8 pack ($2.50 = $0.31 per pack)
  • Candy (Place hard candies from Halloween in a ziplock bag = Free)
  • Gum ($0.99, used $1 off coupon = Free)
  • Pudding Cups, 4 pack ($0.50 = $0.13 per cup)
  • Minute Maid Juice boxes, 10 pack ($2.98, used $1 off coupon = $0.19 per box)

It’s recommended to have one gallon of water per person per day. Since that would be too heavy to carry, add at least 3-4 bottles of water to your 72-hour kit. Something is better than nothing. For our family, we also have jugs filled with water close to our 72-hour kit, so we can grab them and put them in the car if we need to leave quickly.

If you want tips on how to store water, read this Emergency Preparedness on a Budget: Water Storage post.


  • Clothing – Make sure to have a complete change of clothes for each family member. This includes short and long sleeved shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear, etc.  Head to a thrift store to pick up second-hand clothes inexpensively that way you don’t have to add brand new clothes to the kits. And if you purchase the clothes 1 or 2 sizes larger than what your kids wear now, then they can grow into them and you don’t have to pick up more clothes for a few years.

Check for clearances on the items below in the hunting and camping section of stores:

  • Emergency blanket ($0.99 at General Army Navy Outdoor Store)
  • Hand warmers, 2 pack ($0.64 at Walmart = $0.32 per pack)
  • Rain poncho ($0.88 at Walmart)


  • LED Flashlight ($1.00 at Harbor Freight)
  • Extra batteries (Watch for sales and coupons to pick up batteries inexpensively or for free)
  • Glow Sticks, 2 pack ($1.00 at Dollar Store)
  • Matches, 10 pack ($1.00 at Dollar Store = $0.10 each box)
  • Candles ($1.00 at Dollar Store)


  • Reach Toothbrush ($1.00 at Dollar Store, used $0.75 coupon = $0.25)
  • Toothpaste (Free sample from company)
  • Reach Floss ($0.97 at Walmart, used $1.00 off coupon = Free)
  • Deodorant (Free sample from company)
  • Shampoo and conditioner (Free sample from company; could get free travel sizes from hotels)
  • Lip Balm (On sale for $2, used $2 off coupon = Free)
  • Feminine hygiene products (On sale for $2, used $2 off coupon = Free)
  • Purell Hand Sanitizer ($1.00 at Dollar Store, used $1 off coupon = Free)
  • Soap Bar (Free from a hotel)
  • Toilet paper ($0.21 each roll) With sales and coupons, you should be able to pick this up inexpensively. Additional tip: To make more room for other items, take the cardboard tube out of the toilet paper and squish the roll flat in a Ziploc bag


  • Bandages, 30 pack ($0.88)
  • Antibiotic Cream ($0.88)
  • Gauze ($1.47)
  • Tape ($0.96)


  • Small radio with extra batteries (Save up for this item to have it in your 72-hour kit)
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for younger children (Use what you have around the house.)
  • Personal Documents (Make copies of birth/marriage certificates, wills, passports, vaccination papers, credit card, license, pre-paid phone cards, etc.)
  • Cash (Small bills and change. This is one item I slowly started to add to each month. If you think about it, in the event of a power outage, bank ATMs will not work, and debit and credit cards will not work at grocery stores or gas stations.)
  • Medication (Don’t forget to add medications in if you need them)

Remember that certain items will need to be rotated each year, so mark a date on your calendar to do this. These are just some of the basics that should go into a 72-hour kit. And with many of these items, if you watch for sales and use coupons, you’ll be able to pick them up for a better deal and not pay full price for them. After you get these basics together, because something is better than nothing, then you can focus on adding other items to your 72-hour kits that you feel you and your family will need. What are other items you’ve added to your 72-hour kits?

How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget

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