How I Saved Last Week

It's been so nice to see flowers blooming and trees budding after a long winter. We enjoyed the crab apple tree blossoms and lilacs.

It was the perfect weekend to start this year's garden. I planted zucchini, carrots, beets, lettuce, cucumbers, green beans, peas and watermelon and tomato seedlings in the garden.

We were given two 16 oz. bags of mini sweet peppers and several containers of cherry tomatoes and kiwi. We really enjoyed having the fruit and vegetables, since they are things that I don't buy often. I mixed together chopped apples and mandarin oranges with the kiwi and made a fruit salad with honey lime sauce. It was a delicious treat!

I entered free codes on my Kellogg's Family Rewards account for 220 free points. I've been using the points to print $1.00 coupons for Mini Wheats cereal when I see a sale.

I answered a survey for Christian Book Insiders and received a free book download.

We payed extra towards the principle on our mortgage payment.

I signed up for a free online Bible study.

We borrowed books from the library.

I cut the boys' hair.

How did you save last week?

Meal Plan Monday - May 22

Last week I did a few price comparisons and noticed that the local health food store actually has lower prices on oats and a few foods that are recommended in The Daniel Plan. Health food stores are often thought of as being expensive, but our local store is able to buy many things in bulk and pass on the savings to its customers.

Oats were only $.70/lb. at the health food store compared to $1.28/lb. I bought both quick oats and old-fashioned oats. Quinoa was $4.62/lb. at Walmart compared to $2.99/lb. at the local health food store. I also bought buckwheat flour, which was pretty pricey at $2.10/lb., but I noticed a buckwheat pancake recipe in The Daniel Plan Cookbook that I really wanted to try. The total I spent on groceries for this week was $82.29, including what I spent at the health food store.

Here's our menu for this week:


Bagels, bananas
Omelet, toast with peanut butter
Toast with peanut butter, banana
Whole Wheat Blueberry Waffles
Homemade Instant Oatmeal with frozen blueberries


Spaghetti with meat sauce
Maple Mustard Chicken, peas, corn
Mexican Steak Fajitas
Lemon Chicken, green beans, seasoned brown rice
Chicken Stir fry with quinoa
Breakfast for dinner: Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes, Quinoa Breakfast Bake, apples slices

Get more meal plan ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

How I Saved This Week

I was disappointed to find out that our local Walmart doesn't allow price matching anymore. I was able to price match items from the Dollar General flyer that I couldn't find in the local Dollar General store and it also saved me from making a couple of extra stops when doing the weekly shopping.

We had a few unusually warm days here this day in the 90s! We were able to turn the heat off all week and save on heating oil.

I cooked a chicken in the crockpot and made chicken broth that was used in some of the recipes I made this week.

I took a survey for Christian Book Insiders and received a free book download.

I earned a free $25 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks.

A coworker and I exchanged vegetable plants....she gave me some tomato plants that she had grown, and I gave her some of the pepper plants I started in April. We won't need to buy as many tomato plants this year.

My father-in-law tilled our garden this week and I can't wait to start planting!

We borrowed a movie and several books from the library.

I bought bread at the bread store for $1.03 each.

Meal Plan Monday - May 15

Since reading The Daniel Plan, I've been motivated to make some changes to my family's diet. I knew that it would effect our grocery budget, and that we wouldn't be able to afford to make all the changes that are recommended in the book. What we can do, though, is eat as healthy as possible within our budget.

One of the changes that I want to make to our diet is to add more fruits and vegetables and to eat a greater variety. I'm going to try to focus more on nonstarchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits and superfoods. I was able to buy a lot of produce on sale this week. I spent a total of $82.20.

Apples, broccoli and spaghetti squash are all on sale for $.99/lb. this week. A coworker shared this Lemon Chicken and Spaghetti Squash recipe with me and I'm excited to try it this week!

Here's our menu for this week:


Whole Wheat Blueberry Waffles with ground flaxseed
Greek Yogurt with oats, grapefruit and honey
Omelet, toast with peanut butter
Homemade Instant Oatmeal with frozen blueberries
Bagels, bananas


Mexican Chopped Tuna Salad
Spaghetti with alfredo sauce, peas
Roast Chicken Tacos with Creamy Chipotle-Lime Sauce*, green beans
Chinese Chicken Salad with Creamy Ginger-Orange Dressing*
Lemon Chicken and Spaghetti Squash, broccoli
Meatloaf Veggie Muffins, green beans, corn

*recipe from The Daniel Plan Cookbook

Meal Plan Monday - May 8

I had a big grocery shopping trip for this week and spent around $100. I was expecting the increase in the cost of groceries since reading The Daniel Plan and deciding that I wanted to make some changes in our diet.

I bought some different fruits and vegetables and I bought grapeseed oil and olive oil (two oils recommended in The Daniel Plan) that I found on clearance. The oils are much more expensive than the cooking oil that I had been using and I was pleasantly surprised to find them on clearance.

Apples were on sale for $.99. I bought a lot of them and have been eating one in the afternoon for a snack when I normally have a craving for something sweet.

These eggs were on clearance for just $1 each! The regular price is over $3 a dozen.

Here's our meal plan for this week:


Plain Yogurt with Muesli and blueberries
Omelet or scrambled eggs, toast with peanut butter
Hard boiled egg, banana
Bagel, banana
Homemade Instant Oatmeal with blueberries


Chicken Caesar Wraps, carrot and cucumber sticks
Lemon Chicken, Broccoli, French Onion Soup
Crockpot Beef and Veggie Stew, biscuits
Pizza with whole wheat crust, salad
Hamburgers, Potato Wedges, peas
Chicken Noodle Soup, leftover biscuits
Chicken Taco Salad, cucumber sticks

How I Saved This Week

It has been a very wet spring so far, but I did manage to get some rhubarb, that we were given, planted during a break in all the rain.

We received six free LED light bulbs from Efficiency Maine.

I made a birthday card with card stock and punches that I had on hand.

We paid extra towards the principle on this month's mortgage payment.

Our library didn't have a book I was looking for, but I was able to get it through the free inter library loan program.

I earned over 500 sb on

I found a great deal on eggs this week! I was very happy to find large, brown, cage-free eggs for just $1.00 per dozen.

I bought bread at the bread store for $1.03 per loaf.

I came across this post from BecomingMinimalist and really liked the financial advice that was given.

How did you save this week?

What I'm Reading: The Daniel Plan and The Daniel Plan Cookbook

I've had some nagging health issues that seemed to get worse this past winter and I started to wonder if I could change my health by changing my diet. I started reading books and researching online, but I was discouraged with the conflicting information and the very strict diets that I found. I was very encouraged when I came across The Daniel Plan. It is a plan that is meant to help people make lasting changes and seems to be a good fit for me and my lifestyle.

The Daniel Plan takes a different approach from other books on this topic.  It doesn't just focus on food, but includes four other aspects of our lives that we can change in order to live a healthier lifestyle. The five main topics are Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends.

Since I really wanted to read this book to learn more about healthy eating, I've focused mostly on the Food chapter and only skimmed through the other topics. The chapter on Food is the longest chapter in the book and is full of helpful information that is written in a way that the average person can understand. The chapter (and the whole book) is full of inspiring stores and tips that are encouraging and make a healthier lifestyle seem doable.

The Daniel Plan teaches a whole foods approach to eating with a philosophy that made me chuckle the first time I read it:
"If it was grown on a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, leave it on the shelf."
The book also includes many eye-opening facts about our modern-day health and the food we eat that were very motivating.

Consider this fact:
"Hunter-gatherer populations consumed about 22 teaspoons of sugar a year; now the average American consumes 22-30 teaspoons of sugar every single day. In 1800, the average person consumed 5 pounds per year; now we average 152 pounds a year....The average 20-ounce soda has 15 teaspoons of sugar."
I've known for a while that I need to cut back on sugar in my diet and reading this was definitely the motivation I needed!

I've also found some great recipe ideas in The Daniel Plan Cookbook. The first section of the cookbook has a lot of information including how to get started, foods to avoid, food substitutions, reading labels and much more. I liked that the authors used every day ingredients in their recipes instead of fancy ingredients that might be hard to find in my area. I think my children would even eat many of the recipes, which in my opinion is the true test of a great cookbook!

I'm planning on making changes slowly and hopefully introduce some changes to my family as well. You will probably notice some different foods and recipes in the Meal Plan Monday posts over the next few months as I experiment with new foods and recipes.

If you've read this book and followed the eating plan, I would love to hear about your experience!

Meal Plan Monday - May 1

I surprised myself and spent only $60.53 on groceries for this week.

I really like the advice that Stacy of Humorous Homemaking shared about budgeting for groceries. You can watch the video on her Facebook page.

Here's our menu for this week:


Bagels, banana
Scrambled eggs, toast
Homemade granola
Homemade Instant Oatmeal with frozen blueberries


One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein
Lemon Chicken, green beans, biscuits
Maple Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs, brown rice, peas
Chicken Stir Fry, brown rice
Tuna Noodle Casserole, salad
Skinny Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo, carrot sticks
Pasta Salad, biscuits

What are you cooking this week?