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This Week’s $70 Grocery Budget

Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

After three weeks of traveling, it felt good to be home all week this week and to be back into the swing of regular grocery shopping and menu planning again!

Here’s what we bought this week…

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • 2 bouquets of flowers — marked down to $1 each (this was one of my favorite deals!)
  • 5 cartons of Almond Breeze — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items (got $0.25 + $0.75 back from iBotta)
  • 2 bags of frozen peas — $1 each
  • 1 bottle Eat Kansas City barbecue sauce — marked down to $0.69
  • 2 boxes Honey Bunches of Oats — $1.49 each when you buy 5 participating items (got $0.50 each back from iBotta)
  • 1 bottle of Simple Truth Marinade — marked down to $0.69
  • 2 bags of Kettle Chips — marked down to $0.69 each
  • 1 bag of Kettle Chips — marked down to $0.79
  • 2 bags of peppers — marked down to $0.99 each
  • 1 bag of Tortilla Chips — marked down to $0.79
  • Half & Half — $1.99
  • 2 gallons milk — $2.79 each
  • Veggie Chips — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items
  • Zevia — marked down to $1.25 (got $0.75 back from iBotta)
  • 2 bags of avocados — marked down to $0.99 each
  • Kale Salad Mix — marked down to $2.99
  • 2 Colgate toothpaste — $1.99 each when you buy 5 participating items, used $4/2 Digital Coupon = free
  • Total with tax: $35.45

Kroger Shopping Trip #2

  • 5 bottles of Simply Lemonade — $0.99 each with Friday-Saturday Deal
  • 5 packages Ballpark Buns — $0.99 each with Friday-Saturday Deal
  • Saltines — $1.29
  • 4 bags of marked down produce — $0.99 each
  • Bananas — $0.70
  • Italian Meatballs/Brats — $1.99 each with Friday-Saturday deal
  • Total with tax: $27.41

Sprouts Shopping Trip

  • 6 ears of corn — 6 for $1
  • Watermelon —  $1.77
  • Total with tax: $2.96

Filling Up Our Freezer Again on Our $70/Budget

If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you know that while we were out of town, our freezer power went out and we lost everything in our freezer.

Gratefully, we had opened up our home a lot in the weeks prior and the freezer didn’t have that much in it because we’d eaten down a lot of the surplus (I had been thinking I really needed to replenish it!)

Also, we’re grateful that everything was stuff we’d gotten really inexpensively and that all of the packages stayed in tact so it was not a huge mess to clean up.

I thought it would be fun for you to watch me fill back up my freezer — while sticking with the $70 weekly budget. Here’s what it looked like after week 1. (The package of hot dogs and the buns/bread was in our fridge freezer — I moved it out here since that freezer was pretty stuffed.)

The chicken and ribs were from last week’s Friday-Saturday deals.

And here’s what it looks like as of this weekend. I’m excited because we not have 14 pounds of meat in there! (We usually eat 3-5 pounds of meat per week and I try to stock up on at least 4-7 pounds, so that we’re usually always putting a little more in the freezer than we’re eating.)

What We Ate On Our $70 Grocery Budget This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.

Our Menu Plan

Breakfasts:

  • Fried Eggs, Cereal, Pancakes, Apple Muffins, Banana Muffins

Lunches:

  •  Leftovers, Salad, Mac & Cheese, Fruit

Snacks:

  • Fruit, Popcorn, Cookies, Peppers

Dinners:

  • Sunday — Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs
  • Monday — Barbecued Chicken, Corn, Fruit
  • Tuesday — Barbecued Chicken Pizza
  • Wednesday — Mac & Cheese
  • Thursday — Mac & Cheese, Marinated Chicken, Salad
  • Friday — Ribs, Corn, Peas
  • Saturday — Takeout from Chili’s

$70 Grocery Budget Totals

Total spent on groceries: $65.82

Cashback earned this week: 400 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards + $3.10 for submitting my receipt to iBotta rewards.

Cut your grocery bill!

Want to cut your grocery budget? Go here and sign up (it’s free!) I’ll send you my 10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill By $50.

Who wants a FREE $5 Amazon gift card??

Amazon Prime Day is coming on Monday and I’ve got a way for you to easily earn a $5 Amazon gift card in just minutes — completely free! If you are planning to do any errands or shopping in the next 24 hours, don’t miss this!

Here’s how to earn your free $5 gift card:

1. Sign up for Shopkick through this link, use code MOM5 during the registration process.

2. Go to one store listed in the app this weekend (some of the stores listed: Kroger, CVS, Walmart, Target, Publix, Dollar General, Aldi, Sprouts, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, and more!).

3. When you’re at the store, open up your app and click on the store and then scans. Scan one product listed in the app.

4. That’s it! You don’t have to purchase anything. Just use the code MOM5 when signing up and then scan one item in-store.

5. Because you used the code above, you’ll get 1250 bonus “kicks” instantly added to your account. You can trade these in for a $5 Amazon gift card! (Or any other gift card!)

Psst! Want to earn more points? Make sure to have the Shopkick app open when you walk in the store (you’ll earn kicks for this) and then scan all the other items listed in the app that you can earn points for.

Read more about how Shopkick works and how to earn more points with Shopkick here. Also, check out my post on 7 Easy Ways to Earn Amazon Gift Cards for other ways to earn free Amazon gift cards.

photo credit

Sign up for my free 5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge!

Feeling like you’re losing momentum on your 2019 goals? Need something to help you get back on track? Sign up for this FREE 5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge!

We’ve hit the halfway mark in 2019! Can you believe it?

If you need something to keep you encouraged, motivated, and accountable, sign up for this completely FREE 5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge.

I designed this to give you a sort of shot in the arm to help you thrive the rest of this year!

When you sign up for this challenge, I’ll send you a short email every morning with a short motivational message and video from me plus a simple, practical strategy for you to implement immediately.

Plus, you’ll also get access to an exclusive Facebook Group (this is optional; I know not everyone is on Facebook!) so you can engage with others who are going through this mini course and we can all keep each other accountable to follow through with our daily projects.

>>Yes, I’m in! I want to take the 5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge.<<

I can’t wait to cheer you on in this process! Here’s to an amazing rest of the year!

How to Get the Best Deals on Amazon Prime Day

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Want to know how to get the best deals on Amazon Prime Day? In this post, I share my best tips for saving money and scoring great deals on Amazon Prime Day!

(Did you read the story of the woman who pranked her husband for April Fool’s Day by saving Amazon boxes for six months from their family and relatives and then set them all out on April Fool’s Day!)

How to Get the Best Deals on Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day is coming on July 15-16, 2019. And this year, it looks like it’s going to be better than ever!

Not only is Amazon promising to offer amazing deals (last year, the Prime Day deals were on par with Black Friday week!), but a number of other companies are also jumping on the bandwagon and trying to be competitive with the deals Amazon is offering.

Guess what that means for us? More deals and more savings!

I predict that on July 15-16, 2019 we’ll see a flurry of deals similar to what we usually see on Black Friday week. Because of this, I want to help you prepare accordingly so you can save the most money.

5 Ways to Prepare for Amazon Prime Day

To help you prepare well to maximize your savings for Amazon Prime Day Deals, here are 5 strategies I suggest:

1. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to Amazon Prime.

Not an Amazon Prime member? No worries, now is the perfect time to sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.

This way, you’ll get all of the benefits of Prime and be able to take advantage of the deals, but you want have to pay for a Prime subscription. At the end of the 30 days, just be sure to go into your account and cancel your subscription and you won’t be charged!

2. Subscribe to my Hot Deals email newsletter.

Did you see that I just launched a brand-new Hot Deals Email Newsletter? When you sign up, I’ll send you no more than 1-2 emails each day featuring the hottest and best deals hand-picked by me as soon as they become available.

This way, you won’t have to wait for the daily enewsletter to go out in the afternoon; you can jump on the hottest deals right away!

I’ll be sending out two email newsletters both days on Monday and Tuesday featuring only the BEST deals that are my top picks.

Sign up for this newsletter here.

3. Follow me on Instagram

If you’re not already following me on Instagram, I would LOVE for you to head over here and hit the follow button.

One of my favorite things is getting to personally share deals I find and am excited about on IG stories (plus, I share lots of other behind-the-scenes stuff and my grocery shopping hauls!

On Amazon Prime Day, I’ll be hopping onto IG stories multiple times throughout the day telling you about the best deals that I am most excited about!

4. Follow our Facebook Page & Facebook Group

My team will be posting all the deals all day long on our Facebook Page and Facebook Group. Plus, I’ll be popping on throughout the day to do live videos covering some of my favorite deals.

Psst! We’ll be posting all of the Prime Day Deals at this link right here all day Monday and Tuesday.

5. Make a List & a Budget

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to make a list of the items you are most interested in buying, as well as the budget you have to spend. This way, you don’t just jump on a good deal because it’s “such a good deal”, when it’s not something you need or can afford.

Want to stretch your dollars even further? Now is the time to cash out your free Amazon gift cards or spend some time this weekend earning some extra Amazon gift cards.

(Tip: A super easy way to earn a $5 Amazon Gift Card is by signing up for Shopkick and then scanning one item listed in their app if you’re out shopping this weekend.)

What specific deals are you looking for on Prime Day? Leave a comment and tell us!

7 Easy Ways to Earn Amazon Gift Cards

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Looking for easy ways to earn Amazon gift cards for FREE? Check out this list of fun ideas!

Psst! Want to earn Amazon gift cards quickly for Amazon Prime Day 2019? Scroll down to the bottom of this post to see how!

How to Earn Free Amazon Gift Cards

7 Ways to Earn Amazon Gift Cards for FREE

When you’re on a really tight budget, sometimes even $5-$10 per month can help stretch your budget so much further. And that’s why Amazon can be a budgeter’s best friend.

There are SO many different ways to earn free Amazon gift cards and Amazon carries just about anything you can think of!

So that means you can use Amazon gift cards to stretch your grocery or household supplies budget, to afford diapers, to buy gifts for others on a really tight budget, or even to just buy something nice for yourself that you’ve really been wanting and can’t make room for in the budget!

These are my favorite ways to earn Amazon gift cards. And while you may not earn hundreds of dollars from each, you’ll find that you can easily earn at least $5-$10 per month from each of these — and that really adds up if you try to regularly use at least 2-3 of these methods!

1. Swagbucks

Swagbucks is my all-time favorite way to earn Amazon gift cads and I’ve been using it for years now.

It is a site that rewards you for completing tasks and doing certain actions online. When you complete a task, you’ll earn points called swagbucks that you can cash in for free gift cards.

Some of the more popular ways to earn are doing online searches, signing up for offers, printing coupons, completing special offers, and taking polls.

Go here to read our complete guide on how to earn swagbucks.

Earn Amazon Gift Cards with Shopkick

2. Shopkick

Shopkick is a mobile app that allows you to earn gift cards for walking into stores and scanning products.

The best part of Shopkick is that you don’t have to buy anything to earn the gift cards, and it can be done when you’re already out and about!

Shopkick is one of the easiest and quickest ways to earn Amazon gift cards — especially if you’re frequently out running errands or shopping.

You can go here to read an in-depth review about how it works.

Also, you can currently get a FREE $5 gift card just for signing up!

3. Ibotta

Ibotta is one of my favorite money-making apps, and it’s a great way to save money on groceries and more — without clipping coupons!

Simply look in the Ibotta app to find rebates for grocery items you’re buying and scan your receipts to get credit.

Earnings add up pretty fast and you can cash out at $20. It’s a super easy way to earn Amazon gift cards for your grocery purchases.

Go here to read more about how to get started with Ibotta.

Trade in coins for gift cards at Coinstar

4. Coinstar

Do you have any loose change lying around? Gather it up and take it to your nearest Coinstar kiosk!

You can trade in your coins for Amazon gift cards without any transaction fee. It’s super simple.

I did this last year right before Christmas and had $208 in coins! I traded them in for an Amazon gift card and used it to buy Christmas gifts!

Go here to find a Coinstar location near you.

5. InstaGC

InstaGC is a site that is similar in nature to Swagbucks. I’ve tried it out a little bit in the past and liked it, and several readers have commented with rave reviews about it!

You can earn points for simple activities like taking surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and shopping online.

They have tons of gift cards you can trade in points for — including Amazon gift cards!

Go here to get started with InstaGC.

PrizeRebel Survey

6. PrizeRebel

PrizeRebel is another site that seems very similar to Swagbucks. I’m actually testing this one out right now and plan to do a full review in the near future!

It’s mostly surveys and video based from what I can tell, but they also have opportunities to sign up for free offers and do special tasks to earn points.

I’d suggest focusing on watching videos and taking their longer surveys. I seem to be getting multiple opportunities per day to take surveys worth 77 points!

Go here to get started with PrizeRebel.

7. Survey Companies

While you won’t get rich or earn a full-time income from taking paid online surveys, it is a really nice way to earn gift cards on the side!

This was one of my favorite ways to stretch our financially lean budget when Jesse was in law school.

Go here to see my list of the top legitimate paid online surveys you can trust.

Bonus: Don’t forget you can currently get a FREE $10 credit when you download and use the Amazon mobile app for the first time and a $15 credit when you upload a photo to the Amazon photo app for the first time.

Amazon Gift Card

How to Earn $25 in Amazon Gift Cards for Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is right around the corner! Want to try to earn some quick Amazon gift cards to use next Monday and Tuesday?

Here’s an easy scenario that allows you to earn $25 in Amazon gift cards before Monday:

1. Sign up for Shopkick through this link, use code MOM5 during the registration process, and then earn kicks for scanning one product in-store. A bonus 1250 kicks will instantly be added to your account which you can trade in for a $5 Amazon gift card!

2. Gather all your loose change and trade it in at a Coinstar machine. I’m willing to bet you have at least $10 in change that you can trade in for an Amazon gift card.

3. Make a $10 purchase at Whole Foods and a $10 Amazon credit will be added to your account to use on Prime Day.

{You might also qualify to receive a $5 credit when you send a $50 gift card via text or a $10 credit when you reload your gift card balance with $100 or more. If you’re already planning on spending $50-$100 on Amazon Prime Day 2019, these might be some great ways to boost your budget a little more with $15 extra! But hurry — the credits add to your account within 3 days, so you’ll want to jump on this right away to have your credit in time!}

Can you think of any other creative ways to earn Amazon gift cards? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Related Links:

Does SmileDirectClub work? (My 90-Day Update)

Does SmileDirectClub really work? In this post, I share my honest thoughts on my first 90 days of wearing my aligners and how it has worked for me.

Note: This post is sponsored by SmileDirectClub and contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own. Read our disclosure policy here.

Does SmileDirectClub really work?

I’ve gotten this question again and again in the last few months. And I wanted to give you an update on my honest thoughts and experiences with SmileDirectClub after 90 days of wearing my aligners.

Back in December, I posted an in-depth post about my honest experience with SmileDirectClub. In that post, I shared about how it works to get your teeth scanned, what the process is like, and what you can expect if you sign up with SmileDirectClub.

In May, I started wearing the aligners and I shared an honest review of SmileDirectClub with my initial thoughts on my treatment plan and what it was like to start wearing the aligners.

Smile Direct Club box

How to Get Started With SmileDirectClub

If you missed my earlier posts, here’s a basic recap of how SmileDirectClub works:

  1. You go to a SmileShop to get a 3D scan of your smile (it’s FREE!) OR you use an at-home impression kit (use coupon code MSMDEAL to get 50% off the price) to make an impression so they can build a 3D impression of your smile. (You can see what the at-home impression kit is below.)
  2. Your 3D smile is reviewed by a duly licensed dentist or orthodontist, who will guide your new smile from beginning to end.
  3. They send you a preview of your new smile showing how your smile will transform and begin production of your invisible aligners, as unique to you as a fingerprint.
  4. They send you aligners in the mail that you wear 24/7 (except for when you eat) during a 6-month process. You change these out every week or every other week during the process. (They send you texts to remind you when you need to change the aligners). (Be sure use coupon code MSMDEAL to save an additional $100 off the cost of your aligners!)
  5. You work with a licensed dentist or orthodontist the entire time and they ask you to send periodic photos to help them make sure you are on track.
  6. At the end of 6 months, you can purchase a set of retainers for $99 to help maintain your smile. You just wear them at night to keep your new smile in place.

What the First 90 Days Have Been Like

Honestly, wearing the aligners has been a lot less of a hassle and a lot less pain than I expected. Yes, I still feel them in my mouth. It isn’t as comfortable to talk.

My smile with them in looks a little weird to me (other people say it looks amazing; I think it looks like my lips are puffed out!). And yes, I don’t love having to take them out every time I eat or drink anything besides water.

But I have been so pleased with the results (more on that below!)

Do the Aligners Hurt?

I’ve gotten some questions as to whether the aligners hurt or not. I think it’s probably a little different for each person.

For me, I follow the suggestion to always switch to a new pair at night instead of in the morning. This gives you all night in your sleep to adjust to the new aligners. Usually within 24 hours of switching to a new pair, there is almost zero pain and only a little discomfort.

Does SmileDirectClub Really Work?

This is the most important question, right? I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you that I am seeing a noticeable difference in how my teeth look since wearing the aligners!

Also, it’s not just me who is noticing. I keep having people tell me how much of a difference they can see. In fact, just the other day someone who follows on Instagram wrote in and ask what kind of dental work I had had done because she works at a dentist’s office and could tell a marked difference in how my teeth looked!

I truly do feel more confident when smiling and speaking and recording live videos. I was never embarrassed of my crooked teeth; but I was conscious of them. It’s so nice to see them look so much straighter — and I’m not done with my treatment plan yet!

Smile Direct Club box

What I Love About SmileDirectClub

  • I love that the price is less expensive than getting braces. While it depends upon your doctor and insurance, you’re typically going to pay at least $3500 for traditional braces. The SmileDirectClub treatment plan only costs $1895 to $2290 for the entire process! And they do work with some insurance companies, too.
  • I love that I don’t have to go to appointments. Seriously, I know it’s silly, but it’s true. This was one big factor holding me back from moving forward with getting braces was the time involved going to so many orthodontist appointments.
  • I love that they are so thorough in explaining the process and setting you up for success. They send you emails with lots of details, they provide links to in-depth articles, and there is a booklet in your kit that answers all the questions you could have.
  • I love that you can take them out. Okay, call me weird, but the thought of having something semi-permanently stuck in my mouth that only an orthodontist can take out just makes me feel uncomfortable. I love that I can take these out a few times per day to eat and drink.

What I Don’t Like About SmileDirectClub

  • I don’t like that you have to take them out to eat or drink. You can only drink clear cool water with the aligners in. It can be a bit of a hassle to have to take them out every time to you eat or drink.
  • I don’t like that they seem to attract lipstick. I haven’t changed anything with my lipstick routine, but ever since I got the aligners, I have to be so careful about what lipstick I wear and how I put it on. Multiple times, I’ve discovered that
  • I don’t like that they feel unsanitary sometimes. It feels kind of gross to be taking things in and out of your mouth multiple times per day — especially when I’m out and about or am eating with friends. I’ve gotten better at being able to quickly take them out and stick them in the case, but it feels a little gross to do it in front of people. (Hey, I’m just being honest!)
  • I don’t like that my speech sounds and feels a little garbled. While it doesn’t sound too bad, I can’t talk as clearly as usual with the aligners in. Because of this, I’ve taken them out when I’ve recorded podcasts or spoken at a conference.

(Please note: The aligners are only going on your teeth. They aren’t doing anything with your jaw so they will not correct overbites or other really misaligned teeth issues. You can take a 30-second quiz on their site to see if you are a candidate for their services based upon how your teeth are. I’d recommend getting a second opinion from a local orthodontist if you aren’t sure. I also would highly, highly recommend going into a local shop. This way you can get a scan and make sure you feel comfortable with going through this process.)

Smile Direct Club box

Want to try SmileDirectClub?

If you can’t go into a local SmileShop to get a 3D Scan done, you can order an at-home Impression Kit (shown above). Again, I would personally recommend going into a SmileShop. It’s completely FREE to do so and they do such a great job of giving you such a high-quality scan.

But you if you do end up ordering an at-home Impression Kit, use coupon code MSMDEAL to get 50% off the price.

And if you decide to sign up with SmileDirectClub, you can also use coupon code MSMDEAL at checkout to get $100 off the price of your Invisible Aligners.

Have you used SmileDirectClub before? If so, I’d love to hear your honest opinions and experience with it. Has SmileDirectClub worked for you?