One of the biggest reasons we hear for choosing this life is to spend more time with family. Yet once you are on the road, balancing work, outings, and home chores (like making meals or a meal plan) can end up leaving you a bit stressed. There are still only 24 hours in a day and sometimes it helps to find some tools to take the stress off. Most people living on the road are on some kind of a budget. Giving up that corporate job is great, but replacing the paycheck is not so easy. This $5 meal plan can help you to save money AND eat better!
One of the best ideas I found to help with these issues was to create a meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Doing this saved me a TON of time, a LOT of money and it has massively reduced my stress. Every time a child asks ‘what’s for breakfast, what’s for lunch?”, I tell them to check the fridge because that’s where I keep my meal plan. If I get up late, I don’t have to think about what to make for breakfast, I just have to check my meal plan. It really has made a huge impact in my life and I can’t believe I didn’t do something like this before. As most of you know, when you travel in an RV, you don’t always have somewhere close by to go pick up supplies so I have to be careful in my meal planning so I don’t run out of necessities.
At one point hubby said to me “There has GOT to be an app or something out there to help you with this meal planning.” Seemed like a logical conclusion, so I had a look online.
Scrolling through Pinterest (are you on Pinterest? If so please follow me here), I read a post about $5 Meal Plan. I have to admit I was a little skeptical, I wasn’t about to pay $5 for one meal plan! Thankfully I read further into it, it wasn’t $5 for ONE meal plan, it was $5 for the ENTIRE MONTH!!!! I’m a mom to two beautiful, high energetic kids, I homeschool, help hubby with our Amazon business and I blog, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything. I was enthralled and signed up immediately. I mean for $5 I couldn’t really go wrong.
How the $5 Meal Plan works
I LOVE that they keep everything very simple. After I signed up for the free 14-day trial (Love those), I was immediately sent a welcome video sharing how everything worked and provided me with some tips about how to save money. I am always looking for ways to save money so this scored big with me.
You receive –
Five dinner entrees with sides
One lunch and one breakfast
Each week, they send you a random goodie, this changes, sometimes it is a dessert, a beverage, or a snack.
Each week, they will include either a slow cooker recipe, a 20-minute meal, or a freezer-friendly meal. I’m always on the lookout for these types of meals so this is perfect for our family.
The best part is that they put your meal plan together with your shopping list, all you have to do is print and head to the grocery store. (I love that they hand everything to you on a platter (pun intended)). Another aspect I love about this plan is on your shopping list it gives you specific measurements so you know how much you need to buy.
Having a weekly meal plan has saved our family money since we started using it, I am no longer stressed over what to make for dinner and we don’t eat out very much because I already have a plan for each meal!
Erin and Jim have also included lots of options in their meal planning. If they offer you BBQ meatballs over mashed potatoes they will also offer a gluten-free option.
If you are creating your own meal plan, you can add up to ten meals. It gives you the option to search by the meal, the meat, the cooking method or your dietary preference. On the dietary preference, you can choose from dairy-free, soy, soy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and paleo is coming soon. As I said before, they really do think of everything. My daughter is a picky eater, while my son is a total foodie. Even she will eat most of these recipes and really enjoys some of them.
For an additional price of $8, you can buy six-week specialty plans, these include summer slow cooker meals, skimpy calorie meals, 30-minute meals, slow cooker meals, vegetarian meals, paleo meals and vegetarian meals. This is my favorite meal plan because I can plan my meals in advance and have my list ready for our monthly bulk shopping trip! With this plan, you get 36 meals separated into 6 weeks all delivered to your email in one go. I purchased the slow cooker 6-week meal plan and I combine it with my monthly meal plan and I can switch meals in and out depending on the various deals that I find at my local grocery store. This has saved me a TON of time and we have introduced some new favorites into our menu which I love.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
I love when business owners go out of their way for me and make me feel welcome and special, it doesn’t seem to happen that often anymore. Erin and Jim from $5 Meal Plan are very good at welcoming you to their family, they like to check in and make sure everything is going well, they send you little gifts here and there. For example one of them was a guide for homemade spice mixes, this is something that I always need because when I run out of something (as you do) and I can’t just run to the store. Now I have something to reference and make my own when I inevitably run out. These are spice mixes I will definitely use – onion soup mix, homemade taco seasoning, homemade ranch seasoning. I bet these are things you will use too, right? Seasonings are so expensive these days, my plan is to make some of these in containers and label them and store them in my spice rack (Yes I have a spice rack in my RV).
There’s more……. Erin and Jim also sent me a pdf of ‘members favorites’, these are recipes that are popular with other members of their $5 Meal Plan club. If these dishes work for other busy moms, it’s pretty likely they will work for my kids too, I went through the list and included them in my meal plan.
Meal Plan Builder
Once you become a member, you have access to the meal plan builder where you can make your own meal plan by dragging and dropping from a huge selection of dishes. Once you are satisfied with your meal plan, you can print it, save it, or email it to yourself.
What I love about the $5 Meal Plan
The cost: At just $5 a month, plus a 14-day free trial, it’s easy enough to try it out and see if it works for your family. Their focus is that each meal can be made for $2 per serving or less.
Customer Service: Erin and Jim made me feel like part of the family even when I was on the 14-day free trial (this isn’t always the case). They are wonderful business owners and practice Class A customer service!
Simple Ingredients: I love trying new recipes, but a lot of them include 14 ingredients to make the meal and I just don’t have room for that many ingredients in my RV, nor do I want recipes that use that many. Who has the time? Erin and Jim use simple ingredients in their meals and only a handful of ingredients for the whole meal = perfect.
Extras: As previously mentioned, I love the extra gifts in my email box and the reminders to check out extras I may not have realized they offer.
Coupons: I’m not a coupon clipper, I tried to be but I’m just not that into searching for them. Erin and Jim have a super section for coupons, all you need to do is click the coupon, print and you’re all set. If they weren’t right in front of me I wouldn’t bother, but I have actually saved some money because of these. When I first clicked on coupons, I had access to 153 coupons = $240.59 in savings!
Easy to use: this meal plan is so simple to use, it’s almost a sin not to give it a try. I love that you get your meal plan recommendation from $5 Meal Plan, but that you also have access to their meal planning toolkit, all included in your $5 monthly subscription.
Things I wish they did differently
They send out your weekly meal plan every Friday at 11 am, I wish they sent this out earlier in the week as I hate shopping this close to the weekend. However for me, I plan my meals in advance, so when I started the $5 Meal Plan I waited a week to get started and now there is no lag time.
The main focus of the meal plan is the entree, I would like to have the meal plan include more breakfast and lunch ideas. However, I am able to make up my own breakfast and lunch plan using the meal plan builder, so this works out fine.
If you’re like me, overextended and looking for ways to simplify your life and make cooking fun again, I highly recommend you check this service out.
If you have used this meal plan, I’d love to know your thoughts?