$5 Dinner Mom Cookbook and Strategies In Action!
I was lucky enough to be in on the interview with Erin Chase, author of $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook and of www.5dollardinners.com. Erin spoke about her strategies for saving – meal planning, coupon clipping and grocery shopping. I must say she was funny, knowledgeable and full of energy! Not an easy feat with a newborn and little ones running around.
So I decided to see if I could really focus on saving money at the grocery store and I implemented her strategies into my shopping routine. “Routine” – what a laugh! I have no routine. My idea of hell is to grocery shop for eternity, so I only do it when we are eating the ice in the frig for dinner. Plus I’m not a good cook. No, seriously, I know my limitations. I used to be good – but a food allergy contracted by my husband (chicken of all things) put my talents to the test and I failed.
So first step: what do I currently cook and can cook that will not alienate the affections of my husband? So I made a list and was surprised at the length of it! I started to think, “Hm, maybe this is doable!”
Then I mocked up on a scrap paper the month – squares for each day of the week – and put MY recipes in starting with the first week. I duplicated a couple and it looked pretty good. I left some blank for pizza night, hubby’s spaghetti, ‘fend for yourself’ nights and grocery store weekly sales. Easy so far.
Next I jotted down what I needed for each of my recipes. Then I went to the grocery store flyer and added in things that were on sale that I knew I could cook or could use in a meal (tuna fish, ground round on sale, pork chops and pork tenderloin on sale). Pretty good. I was armed with my plan and shopping list.
The Bottom Line
Now I really don’t enjoy shopping (I know – I’m missing some gene or something), so I followed Erin’s suggestion and made it a game! I did the unthinkable; I set a budget for myself. I wrote out what the sale prices were and estimated how much I’d need. My budget was $50. I shopped and spend $36.00! I bought everything I needed to make my meals and that included enough meat for six meals! Now I usually spend once a month around $250. That breaks down to $57.69/week; so I just saved $21.69 without even trying. What can I accomplish with trying and with coupons? I’m so impressed and pleased with myself I can hardly stand it. This meal planning thing really works! And saving money is FUN!
$5 Dollar Dinner Test
I then decided to try one of the recipes in Erin’s book for my pork chops. It was the Honey-Glazed Pork Chops found on page 178. Well, it didn’t look so good as it was cooking and I thought ‘She put this in her cookbook?’ Honestly it was the best pork chops I ever made!!! No kidding! What a pleasant surprise! Such an easy recipe: who doesn’t have brown sugar or honey or salt or pepper in their pantry? Seriously, if I could do it anyone can do it. Plus Erin has really great tips on every recipe page too!
I’m going to plan a couple more meals around her main dishes and see what shakes out. You should too!