Whether we’re traveling by sailboat or by van, Tom and I want to keep our budget really low. That way, we don’t have to worry as much about making a ton of money while cruising or camping. A huge way to save is by making cheap easy dinners at home.
Food preparation and dining out costs most people a lot of money and has always been one of my main struggles.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend 6% of their budget on food to eat at home, and then another 5% on dining out – that’s a total of 11% on food.
I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest problems is figuring out what to make for dinner. I usually end up making the same things over and over again.
One thing that has really helped me figure out dinner on the fly is the $5 Meal Plan, which gives me the raw tools to make quick cheap meals.
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What is the $5 Meal Plan?
Just like it’s namesake says, the $5 Meal Plan costs just $5 per month, and for that incredibly cheap price, you get recipes every week and a grocery shopping list!
The program was designed by mom Erin Chase, who struggled to come up with ideas on how to feed her family of six on a budget.
She realized other people were dealing with the exact same thing. In fact, $5 Meal Plan surveyed 2,134 families, and on average, they spend two hours per week meal planning. Those same families say they hate the boring nature of meal planning and would rather be doing anything else.
So, that’s how the $5 Meal Plan was born! Erin really wants to help others prepare cheap, easy meals without the planning part.
This is what the $5 Meal Plan is:
- For just $5 per month, you’ll get a weekly meal plan and grocery shopping list with tons of cheap, easy dinner ideas
- Every meal on this meal plan costs just $2 per person
- These plans save you time, money and stress of trying to put together a meal plan every week
- The meals are healthy and really easy to prepare – anyone can cook these meals!
Why I love using the $5 Meal Plan
I have to admit I am not good at meal planning. Usually, I call Tom and we brainstorm about what to make for dinner that night. I’m not one of those fancy chefs who can look at ingredients on hand and come up with something amazing and wonderful for dinner. In fact, I’m the opposite. I have to wrack my brain to come up with something easy to make that will also be delicious.
When I signed up for the $5 Meal Plan, it really helped!
I cooked many, many meals from the simple plans she sends out every week. One of my very favorites is the baked lemon chicken, which has garlic, butter, capers. I keep a folder on my desktop with all the meal plans she’s sent out, and refer back to the plans often if I need help coming up with cheap meals.
I think one huge part of being a full-time traveler is learning on how to live with less, and on less money. Cooking at home – whether that’s in a sticks and bricks home, a van, an RV, or a sailboat, is a great step toward financial freedom.
How do you save money on food? What are your favorite recipes?
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Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.