$100 gift card giveaway!

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. vs. 30

Today is one EXCITING day at the Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman blog!

A few post ago, I announced the winner of the homemade soap giveaway. To see that, check it out here. In that post, I told my readers/fellow bloggers that if anyone had something they wanted to donate for a giveaway to contact me. I had two people who donated something!

The first giveaway that I am doing is…”drum roll please*…..

A $100 gift card!!!!!!!!!

Dria Mitchell, one of my readers, is subscribed to a hair company called NuMe. To learn more about this company, check it out here. Basically, they sell hair products and styling tools.  Since Dria is a shopper with their company, they often send her baskets full of products. This past month they sent her this $100 gift card and instead of using it for herself she wanted to donate it to this blog…what a gal! Dria, by the way, is one fashionable, classy lady. To follow her on Pinterest, click here.

So this $100 gift card will be given away to one reader. In about a week, I will be announcing the winner. You could use this gift card for anything from a straightener to shampoo/conditioner to hair extensions. So this is what you have to do to be entered into the giveaway: (if you have already done some of these steps, just do the ones you have not already).

1. Leave a comment on this post with your name, email (so I can contact you if you win), and what post you like on this blog.

2. “Like” Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman on facebook.

3. Subscribe to Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman via email or RSS on the right side of the blog.

So, let’s do this! Enter now.

menu planning and store sales.

 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. vs. 18

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the importance of menu planning and how beneficial it can be for you and/or your family. To see that, check it out here. Well, I recently have been trying to improve the way I do menu planning.

Planning meals is a great way to be organized and save money; however, if you use it to try a lot of new recipes with all of these ingredients that you don’t have/are expensive, then your grocery bill sky rockets..and you wonder: “How did that happen?!”

A couple of days ago, I shared a website with you all about how to find recipes using whatever is already in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. It was called “What’s in your fridge?” This was a challenge to utilize what food you already have and plan your menus around that.

Well, today I want to talk about how to plan your menu based off store sales. This is another money-saving tip with your grocery bill. Before making your menu, get an inventory of what you have in your home, as mentioned before. THEN find out what your local grocery stores have on sale that week. After that, decide what’s for dinner in the upcoming week.

Here are ways to find your local store sales:

1. Store fliers/weekly ads.

These can be found online, in newspapers, or in the store.

Here are the links to find the grocery stores’ fliers  that may be in your area:

Aldi

CVS

Dierbergs

Dollar General

Dominicks

Jewel Osco

Kroger

Meijer

Save-A-Lot

Schnucks

ShopRite

Target

Walgreens

Walmart

2. Sign up for emails through Money Saving Mom

This is a great resource and a little bit more convenient than the first option. Money Saving Mom allows you to go to her store deals link and sign up for any local store sales. Then every week, she will send them to your inbox. It’s that easy!

3. Talk to others. 

If you have friends who are also wanting to stay on a budget, get a system where you each share sales, coupon, etc with each other. My mom calls me frequently just to tell me that blueberries are on sale at one store or pork loins are $1.99 a lb at another store.

What to do next?

Once you know what stores have sales, plan your meals.

For example:

At Kroger this week, Ragu Pasta Sauce is on sale for $1.49. At Aldi, Happy Farms Shredded Cheese is on sale for $1.79.

I already have ground beef, spaghetti noodles, onions, eggs, diced tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper at home.

So I can purchase the sauce and mozzarella cheese on sale and buy cottage cheese regular price (or look online for a coupon).

Then I have all the ingredients I need for Lasagna Casserole from Money Saving Mom.

Also, for lunch, I can plan to eat cottage cheese 2 days that next week and find another recipe where I use mozzarella cheese for another dinner that week.

See how that works? It saves you more money rather than just picking out  a recipe that looks good and having to buy most of the ingredients in that recipe.

Use what you have in your home, shop the sales, AND go to multiple stores. Go where the deals are!

You may say, “Well, doesn’t it use more gas whenever you go to multiple stores?” Yes, but if they are all within just a few minutes within one another, it is more cost effective to shop at different stores (wherever the deals are) rather than stay at one place in fear of using a little bit of gas.

What are ways you are able to save a couple of bucks on your grocery bill? 

Remember: It’s about spending less so you can give/save more.

* This is part of the Somewhat Simple link party.

what’s in your fridge?

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household… vs. 15a

So last night my roommates shared with me this wonderful website that solves all of my problems! Well, kinda.

I love to plan weekly meal menus. However, whenever I do that, I find myself wanting to get recipes that require ingredients that I do not currently have. Well, I often want to do those recipes so badly, that I can’t stop thinking about it. So I just buy the ingredients (which in turn means I spend more money than I need to, when I have food in my refrigerator/pantry/freezer already!).

This website is called My Fridge Food. On the home page, you can do a “quick find,” where you just put main items that you have. Or you can click on “Use detailed kitchen” and put in pretty much any item you can think of that you have in your home. Then whenever you click the magical “Search for recipes” button it will bring up all the recipes that you can make with the food you already have! It will also pull up recipes that you have most of the ingredients for and let you know the one you are missing (in case you think you can substitute or for something or leave that ingredient out). Is that a miracle or what? Okay, maybe I’m a little too excited about this. However, there are SO many benefits to this:

Benefit #1: If you didn’t have time to make a menu for the week yet, simply put in your ingredients and quickly find something to make for your meal.

Benefit #2: You can actually utilize the items you have in your home.

Benefit #3: You can learn new ways to cook. You may think something like, “I didn’t know I could make that using that!”

Benefit #4: It’s organized. And you all know how much I appreciate that.

Benefit #5: It’s suspenseful. Okay, yeah this seems kinda silly. But as I was putting in all the food I had, I found myself getting impatient and excited all at the same time wanting to know what the magical search button would come up with.

Benefit #6: It’s free! I mean, what more could you want?

So props to whoever made My Fridge Food. I wish I would have patented it myself.

Let me know if you try it and if you like it!

Coming soon: Monkey Bread post….a recipe spontaneously found on My Fridge Food!

 

an introduction to couponing.

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. vs. 20

So I have this friend. She’s probably one of the most hospitable people I know. Whenever I am sick, she brings me a “care package” of vitamins, hot cocoa, soup, etc… She also will randomly bless with me with beauty products. And almost every time I go to say, “thank you,” she lets me know that most of the items she was able to get couponing! And instead of keeping them for her and her hubby, she wants to bless me with them. Gosh, what a friend. So today she is the guest blogger giving us some tips and a simple introduction to couponing. She doesn’t have a blog; however, she will see your feedback through this blog. So give her some love and let her know what you think!


How would you like to start saving money on your grocery bill? Well after the famous TLC show, Extreme Couponing, I decided I would give it a try. I thought that if I could start saving just $50-$100 a month, it would be worth it.  That is a savings of $600-$1,200 a year! Sometimes when we can see the big picture, it makes it more worthwhile. On average, I usually spend about 2 hours a week. However, some weeks I don’t spend much time at all, especially during the holidays. But its up to you how much time you will set aside for this. The more time you put into it it, the more money you will save.

Here are some helpful hints just to get you started:
Where to find them: Start by ordering your Sunday paper. The Southern Illinoisan (for our local region) has a special 20 for $20. If you live in this area, go to their website. Trust me… you will make that dollar up in no time. You can also ask family and friends to save their Sunday coupons for you. Once you have your coupons you can cut the ones you use and put them in a small coupon booklet that you can keep in your purse. You have no idea how many times I am at the store and see something on sale that I have a coupon for! Since I had it with me, I was able to use it. You can also store them is by putting a date on the front of the paper with a marker. There are many websites like Coupon Mom that give helpful tips on couponing.  On her website, all you have to do is go to the store you like, and she will give you a rundown on all the sales with the dates on the coupons for it. Another great resource is Money Saving Mom.

Know Your Stores: Get to know 2-3 different stores and their policies. This will take time and effort, but once you have it down its not that bad. My three stores are Kroger, CVS and Walgreen’s because they are close to home. I also like the drugstores because of their rewards programs. Coupon Mom has a Drugstore video that explains how to save at these stores. Kroger also has what they call “manager’s specials”. These are items that have been price-reduced. If you don’t know where they are located, just ask a clerk. I usually like to go through the items and see if I have a coupon for it. I have gotten some great deals that way.

 Develop a Stock Pile: Buying items when they are at their lowest price is great. However, when you do this, you often accumulate a lot of stuff. You may be thinking, “I don’t have that kinda space!” Well, I don’t have a big home either, but you don’t have to. All you need is a small space in your pantry and/or your closet where you can store these items. If something is on sale, I try to buy at least six items or more. These items are usually nonparishable items like pasta, can goods, beauty products, etc…. My husbands loves that he can just go in our closet and get toothpaste, body wash or deodorant when he is out. It’s like having a little store in your house. Of course, this will take time to build up, but it will be worth it. 

Expired Coupons: What to do with your expired coupons? Well, you can donate them for military families to use. They are allowed to use expired coupons for up to 1 year after the expiration date on base and at the commissaries abroad. Now you don’t have to throw away an expired coupon. Just go to Coupons to Troops.

 Donate: Once you have been doing couponing for a while, you can donate to a local food pantry, family, or friends. I think the best part about couponing for me is that I get to share with others the blessings God has given me.

-Mayra Miranda McHugh

saving money and being green with cleaning.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. vs. 13

One of my best friends, Amy, has a blog called A Blossoming Life. She’s a super crafty gal who can make home remedies like nobody’s business. Well, today is a special day because she is my guest blogger! Show her some love by not only giving feedback below but also visiting her blog. Today she is giving us some tips on…Saving Money and Being Green with Cleaning.

Something about creating your own products is so satisfying.  Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have to buy them in the store or I know I am helping the environment. Probably most of all I am saving money and who doesn’t like to save money?

There are so many great reasons to make homemade products.

  1. So much cheaper
  2. Eco friendly- you use less packaging and usually doesn’t contain harmful chemicals.
  3. Great if your allergic to everything under the sun (like me)
  4. Chemicals like Windex and many more, can cause asthma
  5. Fragrance added to cleaners are not good for you or your pets (especially birds)

Try not to use paper towels! One, they cost a ton of money over a period of time. We keep paper towels around for emergencies. I think we bought (or someone gave us) some rolls before we got married and we still have them. Two, think about all the unnecessary trash created by paper towel waste.

  • Instead use rags, towels, microfiber clothes, and old t-shirts (just cut them up). Once they’re dirty just throw them in the wash.

All Purpose Cleaner

  • Mix one part water with one part vinegar. You can add a few drops of essential oil. Tea tree oil is an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and an antiseptic.

Bathroom Scrub

  • Mix baking soda with Dawn or another brand. This works great for cleaning the tub or tough spots on the countertops.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 washing soda
  • 1 bar of soap (ivory, anything cheap, or they also make a laundry soap called ZOTE or fels-naptha)

Grate bar of soap with fine cheese grater. Mix in borax and washing soda. That’s it!

To use: add 1-2 tbs of detergent to each load before putting in clothes to make sure it dissolves
Side note: if you want a finer texture you can run through the food processor or blender.

 Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Washing soda
  • 4 packets of sugar free lemonade Kool-aid (or you can use citric acid)

Mix all ingredients together and keep in some kind of container. It could be a super cute old mason jar like mine 🙂 or just an empty detergent box you have.

To use: Place 1 Tbs in the pre-wash (open cup) and 1 Tbs in the main wash (closed cup). I found it to work better with one small squirt of Dawn or some other brand in the main wash

These are just some of the ways my husband and I save money by using homemade products! It is so simple and fun!

-Amy Knight, author of A Blossoming Life.