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: emeals.com.
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 emeals.com. 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.