How I Menu-plan

I'm excited to share this article with you because I simply love eMeals!  I love that I can choose from different plans, my menu is created, and grocery list is created for me.  My home runs more smoothly when I use it.  I hope you'll give it a try!

October 2012

Having a Dinner Plan is Half the Battle 

Is coming up with a consistent monthly food budget making you crazy? Or guilty? Or hungry?

Jane DeLaney, the founder of eMeals and a friend of DPL and Everyday Cheapskate, puts things in perspective by sharing her experience with creating a food budget:

“People often ask how much I spend on groceries each month. As you can imagine, my food budget has changed over the years. But one thing that never changes is if I don’t set and stick to a fixed amount for groceries, my good intentions will quickly disappear into a black hole.

“Families with an annual income of $50,000 to $90,000 should budget 11 to 14 percent of their after-tax income for groceries.

“For example, a family of four to six with an annual income of $75,000 would budget $500 per month on groceries. In today’s economy that seems nearly impossible, but with eMeals it can be done.

“Can the average family spend even less than $500 a month on groceries? Absolutely. In fact, I routinely feed my family dinners that cost only $4 to $5 for the entire meal! And for my family of six, that includes four teenagers.

Of course, those $4 dinners require a lot of time and effort with couponing, rock bottom prices, meat markdowns and free produce from my neighbor.

“I am always striving to make dinner as cheaply as humanly possible. But consistently saving money at the grocery store isn’t about the coupons, free produce or special sales—what I call ‘props and varables.’

“What I came to realize was that counting on these variables each week are a ‘hit or miss’ approach and that set me up for the five o’clock stare into my cupboard, which then led to a last minute grocery run or the fast-food money pit drive thru. And we all know that a single fast-food bombshell can cancel out all the savings from couponing that week.

“So, what’s the answer? Menu planning.

“As my family grew and I went back to work, time became critical. This forced me to think realistically instead of idealistically. Dinner had to show up every night, come rain or shine, dirt cheap or not. I finally accepted that the best tool I had in my grocery saving arsenal wasn’t coupons. It was consistent, realistic, practical dinner planning.

“Meal planning allowed me to stay with my fixed grocery budget. Using recipes that were already budget-friendly and then building a menu based on the week’s grocery sales, were two variables that consistently translated into a working, frugal menu from week to week.

“So, what is a realistic amount to budget for the cost of one family dinner? At  eMeals we believe that a do-able, projected amount that can feed a family of four to six is approximately $11 to $12 per dinner. That’s $360 for an entire month of dinner groceries. The amount is based on current prices and weekly sales. And of course, a very young family or couple will be able to save even more money every week.

“If you have never created and followed a dinner plan from week to week, I encourage you to take on the challenge to try it for just one week. Having a dinner plan translates into a grocery-spending plan that is key to making your overall budget consistent and fixed.

“You’ll gain family time, sanity and control of your food dollars. With this realistic and predictable approach, your very own dinner table becomes a money saving tool waiting to happen!”

Subscribers to eMeals pay about $5 to $7 a month to access their family-friendly, organized, seven-day dinner meal plans online, including simple, easy-to-follow recipes and a grocery list that incorporates items that are on sale that week.

Choose from 35 menu options including low fat, low carb, gluten-free, clean living and vegetarian. eMeals estimates dinners will cost $75-85 per week for families and $60 per week for two-person plans.

Special DPL?Offer: eMeals is generously offering a 15 percent discount on an eMeals membership. Just enter coupon code DEBTPROOFLIVING when checking out at

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...