$5 dinner

10 11 2013

I have been really intrigued by the idea of planning $5 dinners.  There’s even an awesome website about it (I’m sure there’s more than one, actually, but I have only found the one).  

It just fits so naturally with my desire to plan dinners a month ahead, and to implement the plan and therefore spend less at the grocery store. I haven’t quite achieved the goal of cutting the grocery budget, despite careful planning and careful shopping, cutting coupons and picking sales items.  

However, that’s fodder for another post.  In this post, I wish to focus on the $5 dinner.  

I figure that a huge majority of what I spend at the grocery store is meat, so this weekend I was very excited to find that I really didn’t need anything except 5 pounds of hamburger.  I buy meat at one store only.  I checked it out at Costco, per the $5 dinner website, but everything just seemed to be far more pricey than I wanted.  I did have to stop myself from buying more meat, as the store was having my favorite “buy one get one free” sale.  But with a freezer full of roasts and steaks, why buy more right now?  

Anyway, I bought 3.72 pounds of hamburger.  It was 85/15, and I paid $1.99 a pound.  This store discounts their butcher block meat if you hit it at the right time (usually 8 pm), but sometimes you can find it the next morning.  I lucked out.  Since my goal was to spend under $15 for 5 pounds of meat, I went ahead and bought another pound of my favorite hamburger, 93/7, which was $3.48 a pound.  So for around $11, I got 4.72 pounds of hamburger.  

I made 30 meatballs, nice round ones.  This made dinner tonight, and two more dinners and one lunch.  

I made two meat loaves.  These will be two dinners and a couple of lunches each.  

I packaged the rest for other hamburger meals, and had four packages.  

So, for 11 bucks, I have meat for 9 dinners.  So the meat portion is $1.22 for 9 dinners.  I’m deliberately not counting lunches.  

For today’s meal, I made a crock pot spaghetti sauce.  I bought 3 of the 29 oz cans of tomato sauce, and added garlic salt, basil, and Parmesan cheese.  The tomato sauce were $1.08 each, for $3.24. The spices were from my cupboard, so maybe another 50 cents in all.  So let’s round up for $4 for everything.  The sauce made dinner tonight, one lunch, and two more dinners.  

So the sauce portion is $1.33 each for three dinners. 

I buy pasta when it’s on a major sale, and I regularly spend about $1 a package.  So I spent $1 on a pound package of thin spaghetti. I cooked half of it for tonight’s dinner.  

50 cents.  

We were kind of in a rush tonight, so no veggies.  

Roughly $3.05 for dinner at my house.  Not too shabby.  Now if I add in the lunches, which are 5, it really gets looking good.  About $1.10 a meal.  This feeds two people.  

Oops, forgot the egg and bread crumbs for the meatballs and meatloaves.   Let’s bump that up for 3.25 for dinners.  

The reason why I didn’t add the lunches in at first, is that we sometimes aren’t good about eating our leftovers.  

So the point of all this, is that I am doing pretty well as far as planning fairly frugal meals.  Probably could do more, but am content with this.  

What this means to me, though, is that we likely spend too much money on other items.  That’s definitely something to work on.




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