Less Than Challenge

Living life with less than…

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Less Than Perfect

Last weekend, I had big plans to write a post about the amazing American cake I was baking for Fourth of July weekend. Other than the staples like eggs and oil that were already available at the house, I got all the ingredients for less than $10 and I set everything up so nicely to share with you guys:20130714-145534.jpg

Things started off well…
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…but then, disaster struck.

20130714-145917.jpgAs you may have seen on Twitter and/or Facebook last Saturday, when I tried to extract the cake from the pan to frost it…total catastrophe! I made a brief attempt to salvage the thing by frosting it anyway, but that was clearly no help .

At first, I was really disappointed and pretty embarrassed by my baking inabilities. But then, I decided to try all over again, minus the step of removing the cake from the pan. It was a total success, everyone seemed to like it a lot, and we had a very good laugh over the first attempt’s tragic end.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the little failures we inevitably face while living on less. Forgetting to use really great coupons before they expire (did that twice this week), going out to lunch when you are too lazy to make a sandwich with what you have at home (did that at least twice this week too), and having to re-buy all the ingredients for what was supposed to be a “less-than” cake after things go horribly wrong. Even though it’s no fun to fail, it’s all these little shortcomings that make it feel so good when we do score an awesome deal or knock a recipe out of the park.

So enjoy it when things turn out a little less than perfect. At least you know you’re trying, and sooner or later, you’ll get it just right.

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All-American Meal for ALMOST Less Than $5

I was thisclose to getting all the fixings for our Independence Day dinner for less than $5, but our total grocery bill came to $5.02. Still, at a savings of more than 58%, I was pretty darn pleased.

Shoprite Haul 7/4/2013

Granted, this wasn’t the healthiest or most well-balanced meal I’ve ever had, but it sure was tasty and perfect for the Fourth of July. I was only planning on making hot dogs and corn on the cob, but Brendan threw the Doritos in our basket on impulse. And he’s the only one who used mustard, so it’s really his fault that we didn’t achieve a less than $5 dinner. Seeing, however, as I ate the majority of the Doritos and he actually paid for the food, I won’t hold any of this against him.

Anyway…here’s how we did it:
(all deals from Shoprite, good thru today)

  • Fresh yellow corn on the cob: $0.19 each w/ Price Plus card (x3)
  • Oscar Mayer classic wieners: $1.79 w/ Price Plus card (half price)
  • Shoprite brand hot dog rolls: $1.69, reduced to $0.39 after sale plus coupon from 6/30 ad
  • French’s 8 oz. mustard: $1.59, reduced to $0.39 after sale plus coupon from 6/30 ad
  • Cool Ranch Doritos: $1.88 w/ Price Plus card (half price)


One little confession: you were supposed to spend $15 or more to redeem the $0.39 coupons (which I completely missed in the fine print) but the very kind cashier at Shoprite overrode the system and let us use them anyway. So extra points for Shoprite in my favorite grocery store rankings this week.

Did you take advantage of any great deals this week? Be sure to share!


Less Than Look: Independence Day

20130704-115445.jpgHappy Fourth of July, people!! Today is one of my favorite days of the year, what with the sunshine, the hot dogs, and the happiness that are pretty much inherent to the holiday. And the fireworks. I looooove me some fireworks.

I also get a lot of joy out of working red, white, blue, stars, and/or stripes into my Independence Day look, and this year is no exception.


I got this tank for less than $3 last summer at Target (thank you, 70% off rack), and I’ve been looking forward to wearing it on July 4th ever since. I did a little hunting and found something similar here in case your closet is short one patriotic racerback tank at this point.

The shorts are one of the two new pairs I was just telling you about, which means you should have no trouble finding them now at Target. (Is it obvious by now that I’m obsessed with Target?!) Whether you’re into the obvious Americana look today or not, a little denim seems entirely appropriate, don’t you think?

Whatever you’re doing to celebrate the Fourth, have fun and enjoy it to the fullest!