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How to Eat Your Way and Set Your Dollar Free

Do you find yourself spending too much money on food or struggling to find a meal plan that provides lasting change? Today, I'll share with you our meal plan method that rocks our menu and can rock yours too!

Let me share some simple strategies my family uses to reshape our grocery bill and repurpose our dollars for other goals.  In our house, with two adults and two growing children, our grocery bill is $630 a month. That’s right! Everything from the food we eat, school lunches we pack, laundry detergent we use and paper goods we buy is included in that budget…and we live in an expensive state! The first step in revamping your menu to set your dollars free is...

1. Have a Plan

Having a plan is essential to your success and stretching your dollar. No, I am not talking about Blue Apron or other food delivery services. In fact, those services focus on convenience, not savings, and are typically not cost effective.  Rather, I am talking about services like Emeals, which send you weekly recipe lists as well as a list of ingredients you'll need for as little as $5 a month. 

Each recipe is broken down into three sections: first, the recipe name, side dishes, prep and cook time and nutritional information; second, a list of all ingredients in the main menu item and side dish; and third, detailed instructions on how to prepare the meal. Each recipe is outlined in detail with a compiled ingredients list at the back of the recipes. You'll also find a detailed list of staples you may need but they assume you have. In addition, they have a great mobile app.  With it, you can mark your favorite recipes as you go and save ingredients to a built in shopping list. Emeals provides a variety of recipes you can choose from for almost if not all dietary types.  For detailed visuals on these and the other steps make sure to watch the video at the top of this post.

2. Have a Strategy

Every Saturday night, my wife and I spend about thirty minutes reviewing the week's supermarket circulars to determine what's on sale. From there, we meal plan, aligning current savings with meal options.  Flyers for your local supermarket are typically located online. As you are reviewing circulars and your Emeal plan, make sure you are making a list. You can use the built-in Emeal features; however, we prefer an app called Grocery IQ. With Grocery IQ, you can have a list for multiple stores, add specific prices per item by either unit or weight and, if you enter prices, the app provides a running total. That is an awesome way to stay budget conscious while shopping. 

3. Have a System

There are many ways to accomplish this. Paprika is the one we love. An app for your device or computer, it basically serves as a recipe box like mom used to have.  One of its best features is a browser section that allows you to browse for any recipe on the internet. Once you find a recipe you like, you can save it to your recipe box, perfectly formatted with a list of ingredients and directions. You can even add it to your meal plan calendar all within Paprika.  There are 3 other features that are very helpful while cooking and following the recipe. One, it keeps your device's screen from dimming or locking while your elbow deep in that recipe. This is perfect when your hands are messy with those yummy ingredients. Two, you can scale a recipe and Paprika will automagically re-adjust the ingredients accordingly. Third, with just a couple taps you can set up multiple timers for a recipe just by tapping the words in the instructions that mention a timer. If you are new to cooking, be sure to start simple and incorporate recipes you can do with ingredients that are easy to find.

Whether you use this app or another tool, plan ahead and make the process as simple and stress free as possible. That way you can stick with your meal plan, simultaneously expanding your palate and your bank account. 

So, lets recap. Our process is:

  • Review flyers/circulars
  • Pick meals from Emeals and Paprika
  • Add meals to the meal planning section of Paprika
  • Add ingredients to list in Grocery IQ
  • Go shopping

I hope you found this information helpful. Also, feel free to join my FREE Facebook community, The “Strong Together Money Community,” designed to help you find the money to fund your dreams. 

Question: Do you need to revamp your recipe box while saving money in the process? It's not as hard as you think. All it takes is a little planning and thought. You can eat your way to success!  Need help? Contact me today. Be sure to also check out my free e-book to help you begin the journey to financial wellness.


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