Paycheck Chronicles

Can Dinner Be $5? Let's See

I am always and forever on a hunt to decrease our food bill.  With four hungry (and opinionated) teenagers, we spend a LOT of money on food.  And, like most people, we try to eat healthy.  And, of course, we are busy.  We are great at avoiding drive throughs and takeaway, but we're not great at eating healthy, inexpensive, sit-down dinners every night.  There are way too many nights when dinner is something mostly prepared, or that everyone just forages for themselves.

At the Financial Bloggers Conference (whoohoo!), I met Erin Chase, the founder of $5 Dinner website.  I know that we're not really $5 candidates, just because there are six of us, but I will be delighted with anything I can learn to cut that food bill!

$5 Dinners offers recipes, subscription meal plans, how-to videos, and a sale-coupon matchup section that has pages for many large grocery stores, national drug stores, warehouse clubs & big box stores.

When I went to the site, the first thing that caught my eye was a (pay for) menu for freezer meals.  I love freezer meals because I can purchase and prep all the ingredients in one big day, then have a freezer full of fabulous meals at my fingertips.  Never mind that I don't have access to the right ingredients, nor do I have a freezer in which to store these things...I was just looking.  A side bar ad invited me to join $5 Dinner's mailing list to receive a free e-book with 31 slow cooker recipes.  That's something I can actual use, so I did.  The recipes are different from my usual repertoire, and I look forward to trying some of them.  And who doesn't like free?

I then spent some time looking through the recipes, in particular using the ingredient search function to try to make a menu out of the things I already have in my house.  I'm really looking forward to Carmelized Onion and Barbecue Meatloaf, Penne Rustica, and Black Bean and Corn Enchilada this week!

Lastly, just to torture myself because I have access to none of these stores, I spent way too much time looking at the sale-coupon matchups.  I am a free stuff addict, and pages like these are the key to getting free stuff without making it into a full-time job.  When I get back to US shopping - watch out!

Websites like Erin's $5 Dinners are a huge help to families trying to keep their costs down and their family dinner time up.  It looks like I'll be coming in around $5 for each of the meals I've chosen, though I do have a LOT of the ingredients already on hand.  Take a peek around and see what works for you!

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