Back to School Meals made easy shopping at Smart & Final!

It is already stressful enough starting back to school. Between pickups, dropoffs, homework and just getting back into the swing of things- here are some ways you can make dinner EASY!

Of course I always get the best ideas and plan at Smart & Final! One trip and that’s it- I can get any size of items I need for the family and more.

For the first week of school I like to put together BASIC meals. If you don’t have a plan, you may end up going out to eat-and if you are like me, you have spent enough money already-PLUS going out to eat still takes so much time

Here are some deas for meals that are 3-4 ingredients with minimal preparation.

Stir Fry– First Street Orange Chicken, heat and eat rice, and frozen stir-fry veggies.
Chili Dogs– Hot Dogs, First Street Buns, Chili, and a bag of chips or frozen fries.
Chicken Caeser Salad and Breadsticks– Caeser Sald Kit (family size) Tyson Frozen Chicken Strips and First Street Breadsticks (My kids LOVE these)
Crockpot Tacos– Chicken Breasts, block of cream cheese, small jar of salsa- cook on low all day and shred, serve in tortillas.
Texas Toast Pizzas- Frozen Garlic Texas Toast, pizza sauce, cheese and toppings, bake until cheese is melted.
Meatball Subs– First Street frozen meatballs, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese- add chips or fries.
Spaghetti and Meatballs– Use the meatballs to make spaghetti and meatballs and serve with a salad kit or frozen garlic bread from previous meals

By having the items on hand to make easy meals you will save time and CLEAN-UP. These 7 meals are my first week of meals with school starting. I go to Smart & Final- I buy many items with the First Street brand because they are a better deal and tastes as good or better. Then I grab the lunch and breakfast items-plus any bulk snacks and drinks needed for lunches. They also have great prices on staples like milk, eggs, cheese, bread, etc. If you make a list you can get everything in ONE TRIP! No big stores, extra stores-or wasted time.
I know these may not be completely healthy ideas or the freshest of ingredients-but it is better than fast food-and much cheaper. The first week of school I would rather focus on the kids and family unitl we establish our new routine and then I can bring back more of our usual meals when things calm down.

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Coupons Smart & Final

Studio 40 Live Back to School Prep Segment!

Here is my back to school organization and prep ideas segment from Studio 40 Live!

The groceries and meal ideas featured are from Smart & Final (One Trip and That’s It!)

The organizational items I found at Target and Walmart.

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Back to School Shopping Tips and Plan

I just want to let you all know how I do my back to school shopping, and…maybe it might help you. 

Grades my kids are going into-


I have College, Middle, and High School shopping to do. And-everyone thinks certain things are NON OPTIONAL for back to school. It is 100 degrees outside-but you need more pants??? So this is how I get started.

1. Take Inventory
I go through my kids clothes and take an inventory of what they have-especially pants and shorts. Many times kids think they need WHOLE OUTFITS, but if their shorts or jeans are good, some new tops will make a new outfit  for less money.  

If shirts are stained, ripped, ugly, or old I allow them to be thrown out. Then ask “What clothing items are you fine with wearing for school?  This is when I say “THANK GOD FOR BOYS!!”

2. Make a List
After we inventory where they I I have them make a list of what they need or want when they start school. The younger ones I make the list myself.  It doesn’t bother me that the teen girls will make a HUGE list that seems like it will cost a million dollars. I encourage them to write it all down. This is how I find out what they really want. If you go shopping and buy something they wont wear it is a waste of money-plus it will help then focus when we are actually at the stores. 

3. Set your budget. 
Hopefully you have set aside some money for these expense, but if not plan how much you are actually going to spend before you shop. I have told my kids before-I know you want __________, but this is how much money I have to spend, so do you want me to spend it ALL on your shoes, or do you want to wear the shoes you have and buy 3 shirts?  As long as you prepare them (especially if you think they might be disappointed) they have time to adjust and they will know when you are out shopping what they will be able to get. One year I have said “I have $200, I can get what you can on the list, and then in September I will let you know how much I can spend then as well.” 
Usually for the older kids I get a couple NEW outfits, one pair of shoes they REALLY want, and a few shirts that I hopefully kind good deals on to mix into their existing wardrobe. Then, if they need more and I have to wait for next month’s budget then they know there is more coming and will make better decisions while we are out shopping. 

4. Find the Deals!!!!!!!
I try not to just randomly go to stores. My girls will find something in every store if I let them, so I have to go when I know I can get the best deals.
Shoes-Famous Footwear app usually has coupons and a reward system. Plus they have Buy One Get One Half off sales which helps get shoes for more than one person!
Tilly’s will have 20% off coupons and they allow the coupons to be used on SHOES! They ahve the Adidas, Converse, Vans, etc and they allow the coupons to be used on them-if you go to the VANS store, there are not usually coupons, so I try to find the shoes there-and they have a great backpack selection. has free shipping if you sign up for their program (FREE) and they will have deals or 20% off Clearance shoes-I bought my son a pair or Jordan’s for like $50 last year!
Safeway-Many times I have had Old Navy Gift Card  or JC Penney Gift Card deals on my Safeway card, I have bought the cards at less than face value and combined them with coupons in the store to save even more!
Coupon-JC Penney will offer $10 off $25 purchase coupons. Divide your purchases up. I have gone into the store and gave each of my kids a coupon and said-find $25 of stuff and here is your coupon. Then they try to find shirts or clothes on their list and then get them for $15 and they get to see the savings. 
Macy’s will offer coupons like that too. Kohls is another good one for coupons! Getting a 30% off your purchase coupon helps when items are already on sale. Whatever your store-try to find a coupon AND a sale before shopping.

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Smart & Final Gift Card Deal!

Smart & Final has an EASY deal for you this week to get your Father’s Day gifts AND groceries!

Buy $50 of participating gift cards and receive $10 off your next grocery trip!

If you buy your dad a gift card, you can buy the groceries for a BBQ or to make a nice breakfast!

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Father’s Day Game Night? Buy 2 Get 1 Free at Target Through Saturday!

Through Saturday 6/18 Target has Music, Books, Video Games, Board Games and Puzzles Buy 2, get 1 Free!

You can plan a whole game night by just adding some snaccks for Father’s Day.

My son grabbed the Retro Battleship game because it had a picture of a father and son playing on the front.

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$39 Flights From Sacramento From Southwest!

If you can travel during the week, this is a great deal! $39 Flights from Sacramento.

This deal is for Tuesday and Wednesday travel. to see the deals!

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50% Off Photos, Posters and Enlargements at Walgreens!

50% off Prints, Posters, and Enlargements at Walgreens!

I just printed some family pictures for Father’s Day using this deal!!

I found a photo of the whole family at the Rivercats game. I printed an 8×10 for $1.99 and then will have some Rivercats tickets to go with the gift!

Go to and select your photos. Then enter the promo code PRINTBIG50 and you will get 50% off!

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$30 Cash Back Plus Additional Cash Back Each Purchase With Rakuten

Have you signed up for Rakuten yet? I did and I have received SO much cash back from my online purchases!

Just sign up HERE-and earn $30 back on your first purchase. Then, each time you shop online you can use the app, or if you have a desktop the offers will pop up on the site you are on and your savings is automatically given to you!

I recently used Rakuten to take advantage of a great combination of offers for Blue Apron. I ordered 6 meals and paid $24.89 using the promo code offer from Rakuten. Then I received $20.40 cash back PLUS the really great 6 meals delivered to my house!

I have also started my back to school shopping and right now they have 8% Cash back from NIKE plus they have a great sale going on as well!

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25% Off Groupon Activities-Great Father’s Day Gift Ideas!

There are some GREAT deals on Groupon right now that will make for some fun Father’s Day activities!

There are deals on Bowling, Laser Tag, Auto Museum and MORE!

Plus when you log in to your Groupon account you can use the promo code SAVE to save 25%. I had an offer for 30% off MISSYOU since I have not bought a Groupon for awhile.

Read the fine print before buying to make sure the offer you get is available on the day you want to use them. Some say they are not valid for 24hours, and some exclude certain days/times.

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Bel Air CVS Pharmacy Food Maxx Foods Co Raley's Rite Aid Safeway Save Mart Smart & Final Sprouts Target Walgreens Walmart

FREE Movie Tickets for Jurassic Park (or any movie!)

Buy Cereal and go to the movies!!!! You can get this deal by buying your cereal at any store! Here is how-

  1. Purchase 3 General Mills participating products* in one transaction between 5/1/22 and 8/31/22. Retain your receipt.
  2. Take a photo of your entire receipt showing the qualifying items starred.
  3. Visit, enter your information, and submit the image of your full receipt by 9/15/22.
  4. Submissions are reviewed within 2-5 business days. Once your submission has been validated, you will receive an email with a link to choose your $13 Movie Reward**.

**Movie Reward choices include a Fandango Promotional Code and Vudu Promotional Code. Reward must be chosen by 9/30/2022. Limit 2 Rewards per person (any combination). No manual reproductions of receipt(s) will be accepted. One reward per receipt submission. One Reward per receipt submission. Must be a resident of the U.S.




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