HOUSTON – With inflation pushing food prices up 10% this year, a Texas mom found a way to make $5 dinner every night. She shares her secrets with us.
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One of the top ways San Antonio mom Erin Chase saves money while shopping is with what she calls Freezer Cooking.
“I have four boys,” said Chase. “My oldest son is 17 now, then 15, 12, and 9, so there’s a lot of food going through my kitchen.”
That’s why she started 5 Dollar Dinners, a website, blog and newsletter to help families like hers save on groceries. She starts by checking grocery store circulars and buying what’s on sale, especially meat.
“I think with $5 dinners, protein cost is the first key. This is 99% the most expensive part of a $5 meal. So you have to get your meat when it’s on sale,” Chase said.
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She also snaps up fruits, veggies, and other items that are on sale. She then plans her meals for the week using those items and others already in her freezer. She calls it Freezer Cooking.
“I’m going to make three or four fresh meals with fresh meat and pull two or three meals out of the freezer because I know I got the meat when it was on sale,” she explained.
To help others, Chase is now offering freezer cooking classes and an app called MyFreezEasy that helps with meal planning based on what you can find on sale.
“So when you see chicken on sale, go into the chicken category and pick a few meals and it’ll fill out the grocery list for you, the recipes and how to put it all together in the freezer,” Chase said.
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She uses Instant Pots and Slow Cookers to prepare multiple meals at once, and freezes meals until ready to serve. She adds things like beans to ground beef or stew to further stretch her meat.
She says capping every dinner at $5 helps everything.
“Over time, adopting this mindset and applying this concept has literally saved our family tens of thousands of dollars,” Chase said.
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You can sign up for free weekly newsletters from $5 Dinners and a free trial of the MyFreezEasy app, then plans start at $8 per month.