Shameless, Boring, Probably-too-long Plug

So my sister moved to Japan last year, and even though she SAYS she’s on her way back for a visit stateside, until I can pull her hair and punch her in the belly, I won’t believe it.

(She’s had some difficulty flying space-available at the mercy of the Air Force.)

At any rate, I am planning a visit to Japan next year, despite my semi-irrational fears of flying and enclosed spaces, so I’ve been saving money however I can manage, while still trying to pay down some debt and manage my beauty-product snobbery.

But summers are always tougher to save money, because I have all this free time. And what do I do with my free time? Go places! Like to lunch or dinner with friends, or to movies, or to Target. Target is a horrible mistress–go in for cotton balls, leave with $100 worth of stuff I don’t really need.

Last Sunday at church, the main talks were all about money and financial preparedness. This, on the heels of me declaring to my parents that I was going to buy a new TV. Not because I needed one, but because I wanted one. After those talks, I’m gonna slum with my tube TV a while longer.

I’m trying to find ways to cut spending (without giving up my iPhone, Internet service, etc.) and I found one very, very helpful website for that:

I have not been paid AT ALL to write this post (though if they do want to throw a couple of bucks my way, my Japan fund will appreciate it) but the site is making my life easier, so I thought I would share with my tens of readers.

Here’s how it works: you pick the store you frequent the most. For me, I picked Aldi (I know, I know, Kirsty…) because it is super cheap and nearby. Once a week, I get an email with a dinner menu and a shopping list for products found at Aldi, as well as an estimated cost of my grocery bill.

Downside: it isn’t customizable, so for someone like me who has some specific dietary restrictions, there are a couple of meals I just can’t make. And it’s only intended for dinners. But I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, pretty much, and lunches could be leftover dinner or just salads, soups, sandwiches, etc. so I don’t see that as a glaring negative.

Upside: they have an option for larger families, and then an option for couples. While I am not dating anyone, the couples option at least provides recipes on a smaller scale that do not require me to do any kind of fancy math.

What I do when I get my meals is identify which ones sound good and which ones I can’t have. I’ve made the meals that I can do into recipe cards, building up a little arsenal to replace those meals that I can’t eat. Then I print off the shopping list, crossing out the items I won’t need for whatever reason, and go shopping. There are a few things I will NOT buy at Aldi. Avocados, for example. They just are never good there, so I go to my local version of Kroger for a few items.

I did this last week and spent less than $50. Plus side: all I need to buy this week is bread, eggs, and lettuce. So that’s two weeks of food for $50–and actually a little more than 2 weeks since the salmon and tilapia will last a month. AND I even bought snacky things that weren’t on my list (sweet potato chips…yummmmm).

So if you are looking for a way to save some money, or if you just hate figuring out what to fix for dinner, I really recommend So far none of the meals have disappointed in taste or ease of preparation. It’s made my summer life a little easier with meal planning, which will make next school year that much easier as well.

One Comment

  1. And you know, if your sister ever gets here, there will be more than a few free meals with the fam… 🙂

    Love, mom



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