hobbiesThis is probably my very biggest problem.  So many responsibilities that I know I have to manage but instead I want to go and play with my various hobbies.  I can’t be the only one with this dilemma :-).

I recently found a way to add a couple of hours of free time to each week.  I’m a pretty big fan of Dave Ramsey and on his site found out about a way to save money each week on the grocery bill by using a meal planning website.  I was skeptical since I’ve tried a few computer programs trying to manage this task in the past and really found that it added something else for me to obsess over rather than make things easier.  I tried his suggestion anyway.

So happy with that choice.  I’ve put a link in the right margin to this service – labeled Save Big On Groceries – (I do get a little commission from them for sharing the link, just so you know, but that isn’t why I’m writing this – can hardly get rich from it :-).  The program is called e-Mealz and to my surprise the clerk at Publix knew exactly what I was talking about when I was shopping from my first subscription-generated, list last week.  At that point I was still skeptical.

If you opt to subscribe to a specific grocery store’s menu and shopping list the service implements the current product sales into the menu for the week – maximizing the savings.  I chose the Publix list.

My next area of skepticism was quickly quashed as I went along picking up the items from the list.  The prices matched exactly even though a disclaimer warns of potential variances.  I happened upon an item (Tuna) that was on sale as buy one get one free.  The store was sold out.  There was a clerk there who offered to help me.  He went to the back to see if they had more, they didn’t.  He asked me what kind of list it was that I had and I vaguely commented I just subscribed to this service.  He finished my thought by saying it for me, e-Mealz.  Now I was really impressed 🙂

The clerk substituted another similar item for the item that was out of stock so I still got my deal and the correct ingredient!  This is why I love Publix – this wasn’t the first time I’d had this kind of customer service and I’m confident I’ll continue to get this kind of service.

Okay, so the menu looks so, so at this point, the shopping trip was a snap, but what will these dishes really taste like?  Still not convinced this was going to be all it was touted I started making the meals last week.  I’ve completed almost one full week’s worth and am thrilled beyond words.

Not only have the meals been delicious, they are a bit healthier than what I usually come up with on my own (1001 meals with french fries 🙂 and they’ve all been incredibly easy to prepare and clean up.  No more pining away time trying to come up with a plan, implement variety, consider health factors AND keep the cost down.

This system has met each of these criteria and as you continue to accumulate menus you can just start eliminating any that you don’t particularly like without messing up the system.  I haven’t had to do that yet but surely expect it to happen fairly quickly.  I’ve always been particular.

I’m aware this reads like I’m working for their company but I can’t help it.  My husband and I have been working in earnest to stick to a budget and be a little more attentive to the health concerns of our lifestyle and I’m still in awe at how well this has worked out.

Grocery shopping and  meal planning is my all time most-procrastinated activity when it comes to matters of the household.  Now it is just a 30 minute operation to make note of staples and extras needed, compare stock in the pantry against the list for the coming week and I’m off to the store. Oh, and the shopping goes faster too since the list is sorted – grouping the items in logical sets so you aren’t running back and forth or missing things on the list.

Give it a try and see what you think – it’s dirt cheap, less than $1.50 per week!  You save that many times over just by cooking at home – never mind the sales price savings on the menu items for the week.