Feeding 5 For $100 Per Week: Last Week of October 2016


Aldi: $41.00

(This post contains affiliate links that help support our family.)

We went to a festival yesterday and I had to shop afterwards. It was almost 8 pm, I was starving, and we considered eating out, but instead I bought tots and chicken at Aldi. We’re going to call that a frugal win. Just pretend you don’t see those cheesy poofs and squeeze cheese, which will probably end up in the garbage. Pro tip: eat before shopping. Also, some things don’t taste as good as you remember as a kid.


Kroger: $88.24

I submitted for $6.25 in Ibotta rebates (referral link). I don’t go out of my way to get things that get a rebate, but buy the things I usually need and submit for a rebate if one matches. They have rebates for milk, bread, fruits, and vegetables that are not brand-specific, so you don’t just need to buy processed stuff to get cash back.

Butter was on sale and there was a digital coupon that could be used 5 times. That made it $2/lb. this week, which is my stock-up price. I bake from scratch, and this may last me all winter. Did you know you can freeze butter?

I also took advantage of a sale and Mega Event savings, $3 coupon, and $4 Ibotta rebate on Pediasure. If you’ve been reading a while, you know we have to send one to school for one of the kiddos as part of an eating plan. Some weeks we are a great eater and it doesn’t get used, and some weeks it’s used all five days. $8.24 per six pack was too good a price.

Those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers? It was a tip from one of the members of what I think is the best frugal-living forum on Facebook, the Non-Consumer Advocate forum.  Our 2 year old scribbled all over the walls with pencil and colored pencil, and that stuff would not wipe off. I thought we would have to repaint. With no effort whatsoever, the Magic Eraser took it off immediately. It also got sticky gummy stuff off my hardwood floors, and thoroughly cleaned the tough to clean grout and shower doors. Kroger had a coupon this week and there was a coupons.com printable.


Weekly total: $129.24 (before rebate)

End of month total: $402.82 (before rebate)

Frugal Steps and Stumbles


This post contains affiliate and referral links.

Frugal Steps:

  1. I finally decided to try Top Cashback and I was able to get a new Finding Dory DVD for free after rebate. If you want to try it yourself, you can get cash back by shopping for clothes, electronics, or even travel. This DVD will be a Christmas gift for the kids. It is not uncommon for them to have a great rebate for the total cost of an item. (I do get compensated for referrals, however I do not recommend anything I do not use myself.)
  2. I took a CVS survey to get $5 in Extra Care Bucks. If CVS ever emails you asking if you want to join their survey panel, say yes! I get offers every few months for ECBs.
  3. We had enough points to get a free pizza from Dominos.
  4. My mother babysat while I went to multiple parent-teacher conferences and worked a few hours on Thursday. She brought Halloween bags for the kids she found at a craft fair.
  5. I worked two shifts and picked up a half day this morning. The girls will be at the sitter Monday/Tuesday while I do writing work and our roofer is here working, and this will cover the cost of a sitter.
  6. I couldn’t use any apps on my old dying phone since April. Now that I have a working phone, I installed the Ibotta app again and have started using it. Because you can link friends in your account as your “team” I have still been earning bonuses in there,and was shocked to discover I have $20 in rebates accumulated even though I haven’t submitted one myself in over 6 months! When you sign up, if you redeem a rebate within 2 weeks, you’ll get a $10 bonus!
  7. We are heading to the Renaissance Festival today,and our tickets are all half price thanks to a local group deal.
  8. I got a free flavored water and a free Hershey bar from Kroger digital coupons.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. We threw out some leftovers no one would eat.

Feeding 5 For $100 Per Week: 3rd Week of October 2016

Kroger Trip #1: 34.31

(not pictured) My husband ran to Kroger and bought Clif bars, soy milk, yogurt, and beer.

Kroger trip #2: $34.35

This includes pull ups for the toddler and the Sunday paper. We have some changes coming up in a couple months, and I am trying to see if I can squeeze household costs into my grocery budget.


Aldi: $38.49


Weekly total: $107.15

Running total: $273.58

Frugal Steps and Stumbles


Frugal Steps:

  1. I used coupon codes to get a free photo calendar and 12 photo Christmas cards from Shutterfly for the cost of shipping only.
  2. I found a Halloween costume and snow boot for the toddler, dress shoes for the kindergartener, three toys for Christmas, and 3 shirts for my son at the children’s consignment store for $38.
  3. I bought stocking stuffers for the girls (art supplies, coloring books, Disney calendars) and a couple Halloween supplies at Dollar Tree.
  4. I worked three days.
  5. I took a free webinar from Share-A-Sale to learn how to best use affiliate links.
  6. I didn’t need to send lunch with the girls for the sitter Friday,  because they had pizza and cake for a birthday. The girls were super excited to get to go to a party.
  7. I had $12 in Extra Care Bucks from CVS I had to use up. I bought CVS brand Tums, 2 Skintimate Shave Creams, and 2 tubes of CVS brand dry mouth toothpaste. I used a $2 off toothpaste coupon and a 30% off coupon, paid $12.52 out of pocket and got $5 in ECBs back.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Work canceled quite a few shifts for November, and I am down to 3. I am trying to see if another team needs me.
  2. All three kids saw the dentist this week. We have to pay 20% copay now instead of $25 per visit for dental care, so I paid $116 instead of $75. Boo.

Feeding 5 For $100 Per Week: 2nd Week of October 2016

Aldi: $ 57.58

I decided not to get our Halloween candy from Oriental Trading, since the shipping would have added to the total. Aldi had a huge bag of nut-free candy for $7.49 of equivalent size, so I went for that.


Kroger: $70.72

I knew I would be over$100 this week, because the mister needed several bags of coffee, we needed juice boxes for scout snacks, and we were out of Pediasure (one of the kids gets covered at school if they don’t eat lunch, so we have to send a prepared bottle that can stay at school).

There were three huge carts of clearance, and I was happy to see juice boxes on clearance, olive oil half price, Panera coffee on clearance, and some odds and ends. I found tomato sauce for $0.10 (I make my own pizza sauce by adding garlic powder, basil, and oregano), olives, salad dressing, and split peas. There are two snack size bags of Doritos, for yet another school donation. This time it’s to help make treat bags for the local police department. The kindergarten is in charge of bringing small bags of chips.

Why am I not worried? Remember that $38 total from last week?


Weekly total: $128.30

Running total: $166.43

Frugal Steps and Stumbles


Frugal Steps:

  1. I was shocked to discover I got my first Amazon Affiliate payment! I have earned $14.13. I am living large folks.
  2. I signed up for Google Fi officially. The new phone came in today, and the mister will probably get it rolling tomorrow. I hope to make the $50/month we pay for my phone just $20.
  3. It felt like fall a few days this week, so I kept the air conditioner off for 3 days.
  4. Did you know Amazon Prime now offers a selection of free books through Amazon Prime Reading? We get a lot of use out of our Prime membership, and I was thrilled when this came out.
  5. I worked two days this week.
  6. Our new roof was approved, and after talking with the roofer, we will only be paying $1000 out of pocket. You can’t beat that price for a roof with 50 year shingles! Of course we are so mad it has been dragged out for 3 months post tree-falling-on-house that we are looking at switching to someone else.
  7. My mother brought us a bag of apples.
  8. I made cinnamon apples twice out of my 5 year old’s half-eaten apples (I made them for her).

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. We spent a little fun money on pizza when my mother and sister came up to see the 3rd grade musical. We saved by using a coupon and getting the minimum for our needs. That was $30.
  2. I had a huge paper to write for grad school this week, so I sent the girls to the sitter.
This post contains affiliate links.

Planning Ahead to Succeed: October 2016 Budget Outlook

MAY Budget

How did we do with our September budget?


  • I worked 14 shifts. It was horrible and unsustainable, but the paychecks were very, very nice. I did my first weekend shift and they shut down our system for maintenance for most of one day, so I had to hire a sitter anyway. I was told they can’t guarantee not doing it in the future, so I told them I will work one more weekend and that is it. Saving sitter money was the only benefit of working Saturday/Sunday.
  • We came under the $400 grocery budget.
  • We spent $705 in child care. More work equals more child care. It’s still a LOT less than the $2500/month we used to pay for three kids in full time care.
  • I earned $75 for doing a research study, which I used for groceries.
  • Several family members bought popcorn and donated to our son’s cub scout troop.
  • We used gifts from my stockpile for a birthday.
  • I put $700 in my Roth account. Woot!
  • We haven’t had the driveway lifted yet. We finally learned yesterday insurance will pay for a new roof!!! There is depreciation, so we will have to pay a little ourselves.We knew we would need a new roof in 2-3 years even before the tree fell on our house, so even though this has been a huge pain, it is a positive.
  • I only bought gas for the van once to account for my regular non-vacation trips.
  • I earned about $0.44 through Google Ad Sense. Whoo hoo? I won’t see any of that until I reach the threshold though. I worked more so I posted less. I earned $1.92 through Amazon, but I still won’t see that yet.
  • We paid cash for my grad school tuition. We have only one payment left!!!


  • We spent $433.77 in medical expenses, which includes the twice monthly massage therapy I get for my arthritis.
  • We had our first weekend alone in 5 years and went to a Star Trek convention. We spent about$1000. We budgeted for it, but dropping a grand is hard for us.
  • Entertainment spending was crazy high at $150. We’ve got to put the kibosh on it this month.
  • Our son destroyed his shoes (he drags his toes), and the sole came completely away from the upper on his cheap Amazon shoes. The toes were showing through too. We went out and bought new better quality shoes for $55 on sale.
  • We finally bought our son a cub scout uniform. The used market is not great, and it was $100.

How is October looking?

  • My phone is circling the drain and any day I expect it to blow up in my face. I convinced my husband to try something other than an expensive phone and staying on our $100/month T-Mobile plan. I am getting a $249 Nexus 5X and trying Google Project Fi. I am signing up for 1 GB of data only, so a $20 base price and $10 of data per month. I am almost always home to use our wireless, and plan on getting reimbursed for that $10 of data as much as possible every month. I hope to save $25 or more every month.  If it works OK for me, my husband will switch too, as his phone is compatible. Paying $100/month for cell phones is just crazy.
  • Our roofer comes today and we find out how much we will be paying towards our roof. We have a problem over our morning room every winter with ice dams and leaking, even with heat cables. We will probably pay a little more for a leak-proof roof. Estimate: $1000-2000 out of pocket.
  • I picked up quite a few shifts, but they are starting to cancel some. I am keeping the sitter those days anyway, however, to work on things due for school as well as some writing work. I should have 8 shifts minimum.
  • I plan on putting $250 towards my Roth.
  • I filled my gas tank this past weekend and hope to milk it for a full month. It was $30.
  • My kindergartener has joined Girl Scouts and I am volunteering as one of three troop leaders. I have made a Pinterest board with frugal girl scout ideas. I will have to buy a uniform smock or vest (around $20) and pay about $30 in dues.
  • I anticipate $210 in office copays , $50 in medication copays, and $20 of OTC meds. I learned I have a hypothyroid this past week (thank you wayward immune system!), so it’s a new monthly medicine and a few extra visits/labs over the next few months.
  • Christmas: I am done with shopping for our kids/niece except for the big ticket item we are buying- an Xbox for the kids to share. We’ll also have cash gifts for the teens, my parents, a gift for my in-laws, and flowers for my best friend. I’m looking for a free photo calendar deal right now. I think I will be doing Vistaprint postcards this year for our cards.
  • I am buying food for the PTO’s staff appreciation this month and we may do Pizza for the PTO one day.
  • The mister and I have one date at a German/Hungarian restaurant- maybe $60?
  • I am making cupcakes from scratch for Halloween parties from ingredients we already have.
  • We are going to the local pumpkin patch that does not charge to get in, and spending $10 or less on pumpkins.
  • We are going to the local Renaissance Festival and have already bought half price tickets through a deal. We’ll have to pay for parking ($5?). We’ll probably pay for some kid games ($20), but will bring our food and water and say a big NO to purchasing anything.
  • This month is Halloween. We have leftover stickers we bought three years ago, and will be buying 360 Tootsie Rolls from Oriental Trading for $8.99.

What are you doing to meet your goals?

Frugal Step: Make A Menu


Most of the recipes I link to can be found in my Pinterest boards. Check them out- lots of frugal dishes!

Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Slow Cooker Potato, Corn, and Bacon Chowder

Tuesday: Leftover Chowder

Wednesday: BLTs, Salad, Oranges

Thursday: Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken over Rice

Friday: Cheese Grits, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Saturday: Dinner at Laszlo’s with friends (think goulash, schnitzel, and spatzle). Kids eat hot dogs or leftovers with sitter.

Baking: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies , Apple Pfannekuchen