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emeals

Intentional Living, Money

3 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in 2015

January 8, 2015

That grocery bill tho!

It’s one of the hardest categories to control in your budget without high levels of intentionality…and that’s what I want to discuss here today.

It’s time to get intentional about your grocery spending and reduce that category in 2015.

1. Meal Planning

I don’t want to admit it but more often than not, I wandered into the grocery store the past several months without a game plan.

This resulted in a higher incidence of impulse purchases…I can’t resist those chocolate covered peanut clusters at Sprouts if I don’t have a handy dandy grocery list in hand.

It also led to buying random items that didn’t necessarily make a week worth of meals, so I ended up being at the grocery store making impulse purchases more frequently. It left me feeling like we never had any food in the house since I bought tons of groceries but none of it necessarily went together. Last but not least, it left me throwing out spoiled food since I would buy things and never know what night I was cooking it or with what foods I was pairing it with.

Ugh.

Why wasn’t I using eMeals, the meal planning service being SENT to my phone app weekly?

Laziness.

How could I be so lazy as to not use the pre-made plan being sent to me weekly? I have no clue. Can I blame the adoption? 🙂

I am jumping back on the wagon and committed to reigning things in this year. To my delight, eMeals just sent me an email all about their NEW plan – Budget Friendly. That sounds like my kind of plan.

Below is a sample recipe from their latest plan:

Smoky Chili

1½ lb ground beef
½ (9.6-oz) pkg ground pork sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1½ cups homemade chicken broth
2 (15-oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (15.5-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ (15-oz) can corn, drained
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
 
Cook ground beef, sausage, onion and bell pepper in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until meat is browned and crumbly; drain. Stir in broth and all remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Head over to eMeals for your 14-day Free Trial and check out all the plans they have to offer.

Do yourself a favor and meal plan in 2015. It will make a massive difference in your grocery bill and significantly reduce waste, trust me.

2. Couponing & Price Matching

Have you heard about Grocery Smarts?

If I am going to coupon, it HAS to be easy. I don’t have time to search and scan all the ads and my coupons from the Sunday paper.

That’s where Grocery Smarts comes in handy. I literally tell it what state I am located in and then select the stores I shop at and it shows me what items are on sale, how hot of a sale it is, what coupons I can combine with the sale, and the final estimated cost of the item.

All I have to do then is find the coupon in my paper ads or print it from online.

As for price matching, you can absolutely bring all the ads with you to your favorite grocery store and price match at the checkout counter. We’ve also been using Walmart’s savings catcher and they more or less do the price matching for us and give the savings back to us on a Walmart gift card.

3. Staying on Budget

Last and absolutely not least…a way to reduce your grocery spending is to set a realistic budget for you and/or your family and then STICK TO IT!

This can be the hardest part but it’s vital to actually bringing more order and control to this area of your life. Once you know your budget, meal plan around it, and then have a system in place to hold you accountable.

Cash envelopes are pretty darn hard to argue with. When the money is gone, it’s gone.

We use YNAB – You Need a Budget software and are totally in love with it. Every time we are at the grocery store, we immediately pull out our phones first to consult the budget and determine how much is left in groceries for the month. At checkout, we then enter in the grocery store and amount spent..and seconds later our budget auto syncs to let us know what’s left in the grocery category.

So simple.

You can sign up for a FREE 31-day trial with YNAB or use this link to get $6.00 off if you do decide to purchase it.

I hope these tips are helpful to you for not only saving time but lots of money in 2015. We all have bigger goals than the grocery bill on any given month so freeing this category up will allow you to hit some other milestones in your budget!

Marriage

5 Ways eMeals Will Help You in 2014!

February 17, 2014



I am really proud to be part of the eMeals.com blogger network! It’s a lot of fun to get to be “part” of a company that I really believe in and find useful! Trust me, if I didn’t love something, it wouldn’t make it onto this blog and I wouldn’t spend my time or energy promoting it.

Many of you remember this blog post introducing eMeals.com on this blog. I still wholeheartedly stand behind everything I wrote then and everything I write today. Without further ado, here are 5 ways I know eMeals will help you in 2014:

1. Keep you Healthy

Do you have a particular eating plan you are attempting to follow? Gluten-free, Paleo, Organic, Clean Eating, Low-Fat, etc? Well, eMeals has a plan for you. And guess what? If you aren’t buying junk, you never end up eating junk. If you tell eMeals you want the Paleo menu…processed junk won’t even make it to grocery list, keeping you safe and on track with your health plan.

2. Predictable budget

I am consistently surprised at how darn consistent eMeals is. Jonathan and I subscribe to the plan for two adults, which usually allows enough for leftovers occassionaly. So buying groceries for 5 dinners a week, with some leftovers, we typically spend between $75/week. We switch our plans every few months and find the Paleo one (meat in every meal) is more expensive than others but not by that much. We could get that lower by purchasing lower quality ingredients but hey, we are debt free now! We ate like no one else so now we get to eat like no one else!

3. Grow in you culinary skills

Have you ever braised something? Cooked with leeks? Bought a haricot vert? I know I had NOT done any of those things prior to eMeals. There was a learning curve to start but now I love cooking with lots of ingredients. It made me realize how narrow my menus truly were prior to eMeals. I bought the same items at the grocery store for years on end and this led to monotony and fear to try new things in the kitchen. Now I trust that eMeals won’t let me down and if it’s telling me to saute parsnips and shallots, not only will I learn some new skills, but I will also enjoy new delicious tastes.

4. Save time and energy

I work full time. We have one car. I dislike wasting time or wandering around stores without a very specific purpose. Meal planning and grocery shopping used to exhaust me…which is probably why I bought the same stuff over and over again for years. Now, I know that eMeals will think for me, organize my shopping list according to aisles, and give me step by step instructions for how to prepare the meals. Fool proof, really, and I don’t have to be in charge of one more thing around the house.

5. Consistently tasty recipes

Look at what eMeals sent me in preperation for Valentine’s Day:

emeals

Are you drooling yet? All of those, even the healthier options, sound AMAZING. Check out a sample dinner menu:

emeals 2

Again, don’t those sound AMAZING? Well, I cook them on a regular basis and they are! I am not someone that typically cooks a dish and then gets compliments. I have other strengths and I am OK with that. With eMeals though, it’s like my shortcomings are set aside since a real chef made the recipe up and all I have to do is follow directions and it ends up tasting awesome. I can hardly take credit for it!

Head on over to eMeals.com to check out what they’ve got to offer you.

15% Off Your Order at eMeals.com with Bonus Comfort Foods Brochure! Use code Dinner15

Intentional Living, Marriage, Money

Ready. Set. Save 30% on eMeals!

November 27, 2013

 
Save 30% with code Cyber

Last year many of you read my raving review of eMeals. We are still very happy users of eMeals. I love how simple meal planning, shopping, and cooking is with eMeals. It’s absolutely worth the few dollars we paid for it.

Not many of you know this but I am now gluten-free…a whole different story of how I discovered that. I was worried it would be difficult for us to cook tasty meals or I would accidentally poison myself without recognizing gluten in a recipe.

Lo and behold, eMeals had a Gluten Free plan! They also have a Paleo plan that works in a gluten free diet. I was relieved that I didn’t have to do all the research on recipes…eMeals sends me pre-designed recipes that fit the dietary restrictions I have. Thanks eMeals!

Are you interested in eMeals? This week you can save 30% by using the code: cyber 


Save 30% with code Cyber

Intentional Living, Marriage

Want to Cook Healthy Meals and Save Money?

January 23, 2013

Have I got a treat for YOU!

A year ago when I got married, I knew how to cook like three things. One of them being a grilled cheese sandwhich. Trust me, it was delicious. I  quickly learned that although I was content eating the same meal all the time for years on end, my husband was not as thrilled. But the reasons I cooked the same thing all the time were good ones!

1) Lack of Knowledge. I didn’t know how to cook and didn’t own a cook book.

2) Economics. I thought it was economical to eat the same cheap things all the time and food never got wasted.

3) It was easy! I was super busy and honestly didn’t have time to cook gourmet meals everyday of the week let alone shop for a variety of ingredients to make those meals.

All my reasons, though good, seemed lame after a while. Most people knew how to cook SOMETHING. There ought to be some program out there that will work for me….right? I tried Allrecipes.com, which was nice but I felt pressure to look up and organize 10 recipes for the week, compile a grocery list, and then head to the store after being wiped out by my prep work. Plus half the recipes get changed and don’t turn out all that consistently anyway. I tried Food Network’s website and was making Emeril dishes…that cost an arm and a leg to make plus 4 hours of my night to cook. We tried frozen bag meals for a week, which was easy, but I didn’t feel great about all the processed food and sodium. I tried cookbooks but I ended up destroying them quickly with flour, wine, oil, butter, water, garlic, you name it…somehow every ingredient ended up getting on the pages and warping them.

Then I was listening to my favorite financial guru, Dave Ramsey, one afternoon and found eMeals.com and my entire life was all better! Not really my whole life, but it did take care of my kitchen, cooking, and budget woes with food though!

Look at what this FABULOUS website pulls together for you!

how it works

So this website would allow me to pick my healthy eating habits, sync up with local sales in my area, plan my meals and organize my shopping list by aisle, save me money, prevent waste, provide me with preparation and cooking instructions and all I had to do was PRINT? Yes please! Check out the plans!

the meal plans

Jonathan and I have been using eMeals for a few months now. We’ve experimented with the Paleo and Clean Eating plans. They have been phenomenal for us! I have found the recipes to be incredibly user friendly but also QUICK. I spend maybe 20-30 minutes cooking at the max, which is all I can really afford working full-time right now. God-willing I am a mother some day and stay home with my kiddos, I doubt I will have much more time to cook anyway!

I have cooked things I would NEVER have even purchased before, like parsnips, beets, quinoa, and salmon among so many other ingredients I was afraid of. There are plenty of “normal” ingredients included too but some plans are more exotic than others! Now I shop with confidence, knowing that eMeals will help me prepare delicious meals. I receive my meal plan in my inbox once a week. I click print, head to the store, and pick up my items that are organized by “produce” or “dairy” so I am not running from one side of the store to another and then back chasing forgotten items. I love how smart eMeals are. Ex: If I need half a cabbage in some recipe, it will automatically give me another recipe to use the other half so I don’t have any food go to waste!

It’s less than $5 a month to use eMeals but for that what do I save?????

1) Time – I never have to menu plan anymore or write up a grocery list. I also shop more efficiently. Hello 2-3 extra hours a week! 🙂

2) Money – I am not wasting food anymore. With a few eMeals plans it actually syncs up with local SALES in your area! I also have found that when Jonathan and I aimlessly bought food for the week, we spent about $75/week for the two of us. Using eMeals it’s been more like $60/week for groceries. That’s significant for us.

3) Health – Since being on the Paleo and Clean Eating plans, we have felt awesome! We’ve eaten so many veggies and since unhealthy items aren’t even on the shopping list, they aren’t in our house!

4) Energy – I am actually enjoying cooking more but still like keeping it to a minimum. eMeals thinks for me and all I have to do is follow the recipe, which is typically very simple and easy. I get a meal on the table in no time these days and it gives me more time to focus on activities that bring me energy, like reading or exercising. I am not trapped in the kitchen for 2 hours every night.

I don’t even know how to put a price tag all of those things but I am 100% sure it’s more than $5 a month. Below are sample photos of my weekly grocery list and menu.

sample ingredient

sample plan

When I love things, I feel the need to share them. So that is why I have written this post. I hope it will come as a blessing to all who read it! Happy Cooking!Click on the picture below to visit eMeals!

Just as we are affiliates with Amazon.com, we are also with eMeals, so if you end up wanting to use them, be sure to come back to this post and access their website by clicking on our links!