Hokulani Hotel – Hawaii (part I)

ALOHA!!

In my previous post I mentioned my husband and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon back in June. Today I am sharing about our short time in Oahu! It was nothing short of beautiful and amazing and even though we have only been back for a month, I am eager to visit again! Next time, I will definitely be upgrading our seats to first class (6+ hour flights are not exactly fun). Thank goodness for some amazing friends who gave us a delayed wedding gift which included some cash and gift cards for drinks + Starbucks before our flight took off! We flew Delta and I hands down will fly Delta again! Their app is incredibly user friendly and their in flight entertainment is A+! If you’re searching for an airline, we highly recommend Delta!

We stayed in the beautiful Hokulani Waikiki! Upon checking in, we told the front desk we were visiting on our honeymoon and they sent up complimentary champagne to our room! We had an amazing view of Waikiki (including Louis Vuitton + many more amazing shops across the street + down the road). Our room oor suite was breathtaking! The bathroom was so spacious with an AMAZING shower! (Coming from small town Iowa, we were in AWE of the shower) + isn’t it all about the little things in life?! The rooftop pool + hot tub was stunning, even though we didn’t have a chance to take advantage of it! Make sure to check the hours of your hotel bars, this bar was only open noon to 6 pm. (slight downfall)

Hokulani Avenue in Honolulu

We also had traditional shaved ice right down the road from our hotel, hands down nothing beats traditional shaved ice in Hawaii!

We (obviously) visited Pearl Harbor during our short stay in Oahu. I just cannot articulate into words how powerful this experience was. Hearing our National Anthem at Pearl Harbor still gives me chills thinking about it. Visiting Pearl Harbor is an experience every American needs to have! It was such a moving experience and one I will cherish forever. The tour and video we experienced there were so educational and informative. We left there learning so much more than we thought we would about the events of that day. We spent quite a bit of time + money (of course) in the gift shop there. I think one of the coolest souvenirs we purchased on the trip was a newspaper from the day of the bombings. Just made it so much more surreal.

Highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance of your trip. Pearl Harbor only issues a certain number of tickets each day, so you can wait in line in the morning to get tickets, but you definitely will not be guaranteed in. Pearl Harbor was the one place we hands down absolutely knew we NEEDED to see, so we purchased ours in advance to ensure we were able to visit.

We visited through a tour we booked which also included visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center (SO AWESOME!), the Dole Plantation (I’ve never had anything better than fresh Dole whip from the plantation), a macadamia nut farm, a Buddhist temple, the North Shore, and more. Our tour was through Discover Hawaii tours and I cannot say enough good things about our tour! Plus by purchasing the tour package, we had transportation ALL day! The tour guide picked us up just a couple blocks from our hotel (which was an easy 2-3 minute walk for us). Be prepared for a long day (12 hours) and a lot of walking (but so worth it)!

The Polynesian Cultural Center was so educational and informative. My favorite part was the cultural and native dancing and singing. We took so many videos and have watched them on replay countless times. We easily could have spent the entire day here, plus more. Our tour guide was awesome and showed us many different activities to watch and experience while we were here.

The North Shore was BREATHTAKING! I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful the North Shore of Oahu was. It truly looks like a scene from a movie. We didn’t spend much time at the North Shore but I would highly recommend spending some time here if you visit Oahu.

North Shore in Oahu

Stay tuned for part II to hear about our 8 days in Maui, including AMAZING food (some of the best I’ve ever had), shopping, and more!

As always, if you have any questions about our trip to Oahu, anything I mentioned here, or wondering about anything I may not have mentioned, contact me!

where i’ve been (figuratively + literally)

it’s really crazy to me just how fast time truly passes. the past 6 months have been a whirlwind for me, which might explain why i’ve been MIA for a few months now. but i’m BACK and happier than ever!!

earlier this year i started the search for a  new job. i loved my current job! i loved the people i worked with, i loved what i did, but there was something missing. for the longest time i couldnt figure out what it was, but once I was able to, i felt i had set myself free. it was an amazing feeling. it just wasnt for me anymore. fast forward a few months to the end of march, i accepted an offer with a new company and i’m still adjusting to life in a new career, a new industry, etc.

and onto the fun news! my husband and i took her honeymoon to the GORGEOUS state of HAWAII in June (full post coming soon + pictures). i cannot say enough amazing things about our trip. i will be sharing pictures and reviews of some amazing spots from our trip. i’m sure by the end of that post you’ll be booking your own trip to the islands. and i would be lying if i said i wasnt already planning our return  trip back 😉

so there you have it: why i’ve been MIA, where i’ve been, and whats coming! be on the lookout for my post about our trip to Hawaii, some new lifestyle pieces coming to the blog, as well as my usual money saving tips + tricks!

thanks for sticking with me, friends! if you’re new, welcome + i hope you’ll be back! 

 

How I’m Treating Stubborn Acne {a product review}

Ever go through a period of stubborn acne that nothing you do seems to kick it? I was too, until I found this amazing product! Check out my article to read my full review and thoughts on my favorite new skin care product!

 

disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, for more information, please view my disclosure page

I’ve been MIA for almost a month now, so if you’re here right now, I thank you for not giving up on me! You see, apparently having a broken finger in a splint makes getting blog posts out just a little difficult. And when I say a little, I really mean it makes almost impossible! Lesson learned: plan out blog posts and type them out in advance. Check!

The good news is (other than my finger no longer being in a splint) I’ve had time to plan out some awesome content for you! Now I just need to get that content from my head to my fingers (so thankful I’m a crazy fast typer)! Anyways, welcome back and thank you for sticking with me!

Today, I’ll be doing a product review of a new facial cleanser I have been LOVING lately! If you’ve seen my previous skin care routine post, you know I rarely ever get acne. I’ve been blessed with amazing skin! It’s a little oily from time to time, but overall, I’ve truly been blessed!

But recently, I’ve been struggling with cystic acne on my chin. {If you haven’t heard of cystic acne before, these are the really red “bumpy” types of acne.} When treating acne, it is SO important to understand what type of acne you are dealing with, because each type needs to be treated differently. I’ve had it for probably close to 3 weeks now and just can’t seem to kick it, which has never been a problem for me. Usually I can just treat my spots for a day or two and then it’s almost gone.  But this time, my oh so stubborn personality leaked onto my skin!

Before I put ANYTHING new on my face I do a lot of research, read reviews, ask friends and family for product recommendations, etc. So you know when I’m trying a new facial product and sharing it with you, I must be in love with it.

I read so many rave reviews over the Yes to products line, especially Yes to Tomatoes products, because they are designed to treat acne. I picked up the Yes to tomatoes detoxifying charcoal CLEANSER at my local Target. I grabbed this cleanser specifically for the reason in the top left corner of the bottle it states “clears up acne”, which is what I was needing.

For the past week and a half, I’ve been using this product once a day, in the mornings and have seen a SIGNIFICANT change in my acne. I only am using it once a day because it does seem to dry out my skin a little bit. BUT it is doing amazing things for my skin! I had never used a Yes to product before, or even a product with charcoal, but I can promise this will NOT be my last time using one.

I have found a new skin care line I am loving!! At times I feel my skin almost becomes “immune” to the products I use, so I do like to switch up my products and brands from time to time. But when something is working, I definitely stick to it!

As always, I am not a doctor and definitely not a skin care expert. I am just sharing a product that worked AMAZING for me! Everyone’s skin is different so everyone should expect different results!

So tell me, what are some of your favorite skin care products to use to treat stubborn acne? I’d  love to hear some at home remedies that have worked too! Leave them in the comments! And as always, if you found this post helpful, don’t forget to pin in, so all your friends can read it too!

7 Habits of Frugal people 

 

7 Habits of Highly Frugal People -- Have you ever wondered how some people are able to stick to their budget so well? How they are so frugal and won't spend a penny on some things but have no problem splurging on other things? I've put a list together of some of the most frugal habits I practice every single day that have saved me a great deal of money.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Disclosures page.

Have you ever wondered why some people are just so damn frugal? Like asking them to spend a penny on something will break their bank? Why they refuse to pay a certain price for something but yet will splurge on something else? I’ve put together a list of 7 frugal habits I practice every single day that have saved me a lot of money. Hopefully I answer some of your questions you’ve always wondered about people who are frugal.

  • They don’t impulse shop

 

Frugal people will ALWAYS do their research before buying. They research everything from price comparisons to quality and reviews. They aren’t going to spend $500 on something if it isn’t going to last as long as it should.

 

  • They live within their means

 

Frugal people live within their means. They don’t buy things they cant afford just to impress others or to keep up with the times. If you haven’t read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, I highly recommend it. He so very accurately explains the idea of living within your means and buying things you can’t afford just to impress others. This book 100% changed the way I thought about money.

 

  • They plan ahead

 

Anything involving money gets planned out, well in advance. Grocery shopping, major purchases, etc. Planning ahead usually leads to more money saved and less money spent.

 

  • They aren’t afraid to say no

 

If it doesn’t fit into their budget or financial goals, they aren’t afraid to say no. They don’t go to every single thing they are invited to if it isn’t important to them. They aren’t scared to say no and walk away if the price isn’t what they want. They’ve taken the emotions out of their money and think of it as a source of survival, not a source of happiness.

 

  • They have goals

 

Frugal people aren’t frugal just for the fun of it. They have goals set and are always working toward their financial goals. They work hard toward their goals and always know exactly where they stand up against their goals.

 

  • They know the importance of maintenance.

 

Keeping anything and everything in good working order leads to less repairs and less money thrown down the drain. Proper maintenance will usually prolong the life of something, whether it be a car or a kitchen sink.

 

  • They double check receipts.

 

I always check my receipts right after I leave the check out line. Yes, I did just watch the cashier ring everything up, but what happens if you get charged for something you didn’t buy or the items on sale rang up at regular price? I go to the customer service counter all the time to get my extra .10 back. My husband used to get so embarrassed when I did this, but he now sees that all the small amounts really do add up.

 

There you have it. 7 of the most effective habits of frugal people.

Related posts: Meal Planning, Top 10 Things You’re Wasting Money On

top 10 things you’re wasting money on

By purchasing items we don't need, we're throwing away money every single day. I put together a list of 10 common things people waste money on every single day.

 

As a society, we waste money on simple, easy things every single day. We live in a world where we “just don’t have time”. So to compensate, we pay for convenience. The $5 charge here and the $10 charge here might not seem like a lot, but when you add it up overtime, it really adds up.

I put together a list of 10 things I stopped wasting money on and saw the money really add up!! We encounter these charges almost every single day.

You’re wasting your own money!

  1. ATM fees

Paying to access my own money is just a concept that I can’t seem to wrap my mind around. Most ATMs will charge $2-$4 to use their ATM, as well as a charge by the customer’s bank of the same amounts. Paying close to $30 to take out $20 is outrageous. Set out 10 minutes early and swing by the ATM at your bank where you can withdraw your money for free.

2. Shipping Costs

To be honest, I didn’t realize people were still paying for shipping costs. Companies make it incredibly easy to get your items for free. I pay $49 a year for Amazon Prime with my Student membership; however, I order so much more from Amazon than other companies now that I have the Prime membership. The $49 has well paid for itself many times over and over already in shipping costs alone. If you can’t reach the minimum amount for free shipping or need your item right away, try reserving your item online (to save time + money) and picking up in store.

3. Internet Modem Rental

I’m guilty of paying for this up until about 2 years ago. Each month I was wasting $5 + tax on renting a modem from my internet provider. At the end of 1 year, I was paying well over $60 for an item I didn’t own. I went out and bought my own modem and it paid for itself in less than 1 year. Don’t be afraid of upfront costs if the savings is well worth it over time.

4. Monthly Banking Fees

So many banks offer free checking accounts with no minimum requirements. Most of us don’t need anything fancy when it comes to banking, just opt for the free account.

5.Cell Phone Insurance

Cell phone insurance is amazing! It saved me probably close to $1000 in my lifetime of cell phones. So why am I saying it’s a waste of money? Check the benefits of your credit and debit cards. I recently signed up for a Wells Fargo credit card for the sole purpose of cancelling my cell phone insurance. As long as I pay my cell phone bill with that specific credit card each month, Wells Fargo will automatically provide me with free cell phone insurance. Obviously I pay it off every month so I don’t rack up interest charges. I saved $11 + tax each month alone by cancelling my cell phone insurance through my provider.

6. Bottled water

Unless you live in an area where drinking tap water isn’t safe, STOP buying bottled water! I’m not a fan of tap water, but I’m a huge fan of water filters, such as a Brita pitcher or filter. The savings is INCREDIBLE!! I’ve bought bottled water twice in the past 3 years. Once when our town flooded and there was potential for our water to get shut off. The second time, for my bachelorette party.

7. Brand-name Products

9 times out of 10 you’re not gaining anything with a brand name product over the generic alternative. Hardly anything in my house is brand name. Target makes it SO easy to buy generic by placing the generic alternative right next to brand names and their Up & Up brand clearly states on the label *Compare to “brand name product”. Take an extra 30 seconds per product by flipping them over to compare the ingredients of the product.

8. Cleaning Products

I have very few cleaning products in my house. Simply because many general multi-purpose cleaners truly can be used for many different surfaces. For example there are many specailized products on the market for cleaning showers. So does that mean I also need to buy a different cleaner for my kitchen sink? Unless you have surfaces with very specific care instructions, a multi-purpose cleaner can be used for multi-purposes.

9. Warranties

There are very few circumstances extended warranties are a good investment. Extended warranties are incredibly specific on what they will and will not cover and most times, they will not cover much more than the manufacturer’s warranty.

10. Buying Books

I’m talking about novels. Most times you buy a novel to read it one. Why spend upwards of $15 to read a book once? Head to your local library instead where you can “rent” books for next to nothing.

 

I challenge you to try to cut just 1 of these charges out of your life for just 1 month and see just how much money you can save by eliminating one of these items.

how to save BIG at Target

Shopping at Target almost always equals HUGE savings for me! I've put together some of my tips and tricks for saving BIG at Target along with a few awesome deals I found there this week!

 

This post contains affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure page.

I’ve been getting quite a few questions lately asking how I save BIG using coupons and such, so I decided I would share a few tips and some of the top deals I’ve seen this week.

I usually am able to find the best savings at Target. Because I can use a manufacturer coupon, a Target coupon, Cartwheel, and then save an additional 5% with my RedCard. It all adds up! I’ve also found CVS also has AMAZING opportunities to save big as well!!

My Strategy

I start out each week {on Sundays} by going through new ad flyers and seeing what is on sale, where the sale is, and inputting it into an excel spreadsheet. {I use excel because then I can total and calculate everything right there, instead of having to grab a calculator} Writing down anything I would use in the flyer that is on sale, anything I’m running low on, etc. Noting the exact quantity (such as 8 oz., 10 ct, etc), the store, and it’s price.

Next it’s time to go through Cartwheel looking for those exact products I wrote down, and if it matches, write down the Cartwheel discount.

I do the same thing with Cartwheel, I did with my ads. {I’ve gotten things 50% off just from Cartwheel} before. I then go to my different coupon sources {including digital coupons such as Hyvee + Target mobile coupons} to see what all is out there and if anything matches, I add it to my row for that product. I love knowing how much my products will cost roughly before I get to the check out so its not a complete shock, especially if you have a cart full of your favorite things! I always give myself about .10 {either way} on each product when doing my calculations, just because when computing discounts with percent rounding is usually involved and can make a BIG difference with a lot of goodies in the cart.

I know it’s late in the week and these prices are only good for a few more days, but here are a few of the amazing saving opportunities I found at Target this week {Target’s ad runs Sunday-Saturday; these prices are valid through January 28th} I’ll do better at posting my deals earlier in the week so you have more time to run out and grab them up!

Favorite Target Deals this Week

  1. Cetaphil {on sale at Target for $8.99, regularly $10.39} + a $2 off coupon from coupons.com = $6.99 each {Total savings of $3.40 each}
  2. Colgate Total {$4.99 for at twin pack at Target} + use a $2 off-one time use on Cartwheel + $2 off coupon from coupons.com = $0.99 each {Total savings of $4}
  3. Mucinex {prices will vary by quantities and variety} 10% off using Cartwheel + $2 off coupon from coupons.com
  4. Almay Cosmetics || 10% off using cartwheel + $4 off coupon from coupons.com
  5. Diapers {I’m not a mommy, but I couldn’t resist seeing how awesome this deal was} Cartwheel + sale {with a free gift card, with select quantities + varieties} + manufacturer coupons

These are just some of the crazy awesome deals I saw at Target this week. Household products are where I save big money! You should never be paying full price for household products, there are usually always coupons out there, plus you should be stocking up when you see a great deal!

If you saw my skincare post, you know I’ll be running out to stock up on Cetaphil cleanser! This might just be the best deal I’ve found on Cetaphil yet!

Tell me what are some of your favorite stores to save big at + what are some products you want me to search for big savings on or even coupons for that matter!! I’m always up for an awesome savings challenges!!

 

 

 

It all begins with coffee…

Attention all coffee junkies! I have found an amazing protein shake incorporating coffee to get you your morning joe and breakfast in one {healthy} shake! this post contains affiliate links, for more information please refer to my full disclosure page

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a coffee girl. Always have been, probably always will be. I need at least 2 3 cups of coffee to function, on a good day. But if you see me at the coffee pot and I’m filling up for the 4th or 5th time, I wouldn’t be too surprised.

Recently I found a recipe for coffee protein shake. {I use protein shakes as a meal replacement, usually for breakfast} Yumm! {Combining breakfast + coffee, what could be better?} This recipe is PERFECT for the on-the-go coffee junkie who are trying to be a touch healthier in the new year {myself included}

 

{Vanilla Iced Coffee Protein Shake}

This one doesn’t make as many ounces as my chocolate protein shake did. This recipe will still yield about 16-20 ounces though.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk {I use vanilla, but plain works just as fine too}

1 cup brewed coffee {I let my brewed cup set for a few minutes or even stick it in the fridge for a bit before I combine it in my plastic shaker with the other ingredients.}

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

2 cups ice

For this shake, I just put it all into my Contigo Blender Bottle and shake it up. I prefer this shake as a shake, but drinking it as a smoothie is just as delicious!

If you missed my chocolate protein shake last week, you can find it here. Who doesn’t love chocolate and healthy all in the same sentence?!

 

 

 

 

50 easy ways to save money in 2017

I've put together a list of 50 incredibly easy ways to save money. It covers everything from grocery shopping, to medical tips, to fixing the leaky bathroom faucet.

It’s shortly after New Years yet and you’re probably still working away at those “resolutions” you set. You want to lose weight this year, you want to become a millionaire, you want to become a better friend, etc, etc. We all set the same goals year after year and come February we’re just done with them. We’re over it, and ready to be back to our old selves. So that’s why now is the PERFECT time to share this list with you. You should know by now that saving money is kind of my thing. I’m frugal, yet still get pretty much whatever I want. So how do I do it? Well if you’re new here, you might want to check out my previous posts, but if you’re not new, you’ have a few ideas how I do it.

I’ve come up with a list of 50 super easy ways to save money this year. These aren’t ways to MAKE MONEY, but to save money with what you already have. You see, I’m a corporate, 9-5er (I think I just made up a new word), there are some chances for overtime to make some extra money, but not steadily, so if I want something, I SAVE to get there. I can’t go out and pick up an extra shift or two like my husband can who does manual labor.

  1. throw loose change in a jar
  2. make your coffee at home
  3. cut coupons
  4. automate your savings
  5. cut your gym membership and workout at home
  6. meal plan
  7. make a grocery list {and stick to it}
  8. compare prices
  9. refinance your home or car loan
  10. pay-off credit cards
  11. go out to eat one less time each month
  12. buy generic
  13. buy in bulk
  14. downgrade your cable package
  15. turn the thermostat down a few degrees
  16. install a programmable thermostat
  17. cover drafty windows with plastic
  18. cut up credit cards
  19. pay bills online
  20. join rewards programs
  21. cancel unused magazine + newspaper subscriptions
  22. cut out soda
  23. bike or walk places
  24. carpool with neighbors
  25. use free samples
  26. plant a garden
  27. shop the clearance section
  28. shop at dollar stores
  29. buy produce in season then freeze it
  30. cut meat from your diet a few days a week
  31. price match
  32. maximize tax deductions + tax credits
  33. replace light bulbs with LED light bulbs
  34. DIY rather than higher someone to do it for you
  35. layer clothing in the winter time
  36. eat leftovers
  37. run the washing machine on cold instead of hot
  38. get leaky faucets and toilets fixed
  39. take a sack lunch to work instead of buying your lunch
  40. budget
  41. split memberships with others to save money {such as sharing an Amazon prime account or a warehouse store membership}
  42. buy secondhand rather than brand new
  43. might sound crazy, but have you ever just asked someone to go lower on a price?
  44. money saving apps
  45. using discounted gift cards
  46. be healthier {healthier = less trips to doctor}
  47. maximize employer benefit options
  48. perform preventative maintenance
  49. stop impulse shopping
  50. get clothes tailored when they don’t fit instead of buying new

 

I told you they were super easy!! Challenge yourself for a couple weeks by trying some of these suggestions and keep track of how much money you really do save just by following simple tips! Share them with me, I would love to hear how these tips have helped you!! and you know I definitely want to hear all about other money saving tips you all use, leave ’em in the comments for me!

If this list helped you and gave you some ideas, don’t forget to share this post on Pinterest so all your friends can start racking up pennies too!

 

 

{delicious +healthy} chocolate protein smoothie

this post contains affiliate links. for more information, please see my disclosures page.

Instead of calling them “New Years Resolutions”, I prefer to call them “goals.” Because that’s what they are. Plain + simple goals, and we’ve just set the upcoming new year as our starting line.

I have to be honest though, and say setting goals has always being scary for me. The fear of failing keeps me from playing the game. I’m the very first to admit it. But over the past few years, I’ve stopped to look around and realized a few things about myself. I was setting extreme goals, that didn’t seem to be attainable, so of course, I was constantly failing.

I am proud to say I am still going strong on my goals for 2017. Yes, it is only mid-January, but I guarantee either you or someone {many people} you know have already given up their “resolutions.” I set my goals much more attainable this year, without making them too easy.

My biggest goal for 2017: become a healthier person all around. If you’re a numbers person, this might be hard for you to read. But I set goals that are measurable to ME. Because after all, the goals are mine, and only mine to achieve.

Today I am sharing my protein smoothie recipes that have been keeping me full + satisfied, which has led to an already healthier ME. They keep me full for 4-5 hours and are so YUMMY! I drink one of these for a meal and haven’t found myself snacking in between meals.

{Chocolate + Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie}

Makes 24-28 oz.

2 scoops chocolate protein powder

8-10 oz. unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 tbsp. peanut butter

1 frozen banana {I peel + chop up all my bananas as soon as I buy them from the store. Once they are chopped up, I put each into an individual baggie to place in the freeze} So much easier when you go to make your smoothies!

2 cups ice

I use my Ninja Professional Blender I received at my bridal shower and absolutely love it! I highly recommend it! Just throw everything in and put it on low for around 30 seconds.

Eating healthy doesn't have to mean bland food with no flavor. My meal replacement chocolate + peanut butter protein smoothie is both delcious + healthy.

{Other items I used: Contigo Blender Bottle + Formula Container

Formula Container – Each compartment is the perfect size to hold 2 scoops of protein powder. If you’re always in a hurry + on the go like me, this is perfect, comes in both blue + pink. I measure my protein powder out at the beginning of the week and have 4 days worth right away so all I have to do is just open the cap and pour into my blender.

I find this one keeps me full without wanting to snack! It’s so delicious! I’ve tried some protein shakes in the past and well, let’s just say, they weren’t the most tasty.

I’ll be posting my iced coffee protein shake later in the week! If you’re a coffee junkie like myself, but looking for something a little healthier, you won’t want to miss this one.

part 2: how to plan weeks worth of meals to save MONEY

how to plan weeks worth of meals to save money

I posted part 1 of this post almost 2 weeks ago! For so many days, I was getting errors when trying to come into my site, and I just didn’t have the time to sit down + fix it until now. I promise, next time there is a 2-parter, you won’t be in suspense for almost 2 entire weeks!!

But today, part 2, is all about how I meal plan. This is something I’ve struggled with soo many times, until I realized just HOW much money it actually saves us each month!!

Now, when I say meal plan, I’m not talking about meal planning in the sense of making all meals for 1 week at a time. Setting out 14 containers and eating the same thing all week long. I’m talking about writing down what I’m making for the entire week and sticking to it. I get busy and don’t want to cook what I wrote down for that night, or what I wrote down just doesn’t sound good anymore, or I forgot one ingredient and don’t want to go to the store for that one thing. All of these excuses inevitably lead to you guessed it, FAST FOOD.

I failed so many times until I sat down and looked at our bank account one night and saw just how much we were spending at the grocery store + the amount of money we were spending to go out to eat. It almost made me sick to think about it. I knew something needed to change, so I decided to give meal planning another shot, or something there of it, and this time it actually stuck.

In just the 1st week alone, it saved us well over $50!!

I usually do 2 weeks at a time. Most produce will usually go bad if not used by 2 weeks, so the amount of expired food is minimal.

Deciding What to Make

To start off, I go to the meal binder I made back in part 1 of this post. In the first part of my binder, I just wrote down many common meals we eat (that I don’t have recipes in the binder for), such as tacos,  casserole, etc. easy meals like those that I don’t have {or need} a recipe for. This helps me not to make the same meals over + over again. I know I could eat taco meat 14 days in a row, but I don’t think the hubby would be too happy with that.

I list out all of the meals I plan to make in a 2 week span. I will usually only list out about 10 or so, because of leftovers, going out to eat, etc. Some meals I will make a double batch to create leftovers, if it’s going to be a super busy week or if its just a meal we really love and don’t make it too often.

Taking Inventory + Making a List

So next I write down every single ingredient {including spice packets} I will need to make those meals. {Sadly, I haven’t been able to come up with a printables for these items quite yet, soon though.} Next, I’ll go to the fridge, pantry, basement stockpile {yes, yes I do}, and cross off EVERYTHING on my list to make these items. While doing this, if I find a need almost everything for something on my list and it will be super expensive, I will usually just scratch it and replace it with something we have more of.

Of course the remaining items aren’t the only things we then buy at the grocery store. Since I only meal plan for our evening meals {dinner, supper, whatever ya’ll choose to call it}, I have to get breakfast + lunch items as well. Along with snack items, beverages, etc.

COUPONS!!

Once I have my grocery list, I then have to check out all of my coupon sites, and figure out where I’m going to go, to save the most. And yes, it is definitely OK to go SEVERAL different places to save the most money {but only if it makes sense, aka don’t drive 20 miles away to save .03 on green olives}.

I love this  grocery shopping printable from Stacy’s Savings! She has many other AWESOME printables on her blog too!! I found her blog on while looking through meal planning pins on Pinterest and have fallen in love with her blog!

So tell me, how do you meal plan? What works best for you? Share some of your awesome printables {or recipes} with me below!!

If you haven’t, make sure to check out part 1 of this post! Where I show you how to create your very own meal planning binder!