My name is Dianna and I’m the founder of Budget Meal Planner! This project began as weekly newsletter back in March of 2019; I simply would send meal plans every week to anyone who was interested in trying to implement better habits. Whether that meant eating more healthy or needing help with financial discipline. I still send out those Friday emails (if you haven’t signed up yet, you’re missing out!) but since then, I have also grown that little newsletter into this full-blown website.
Every week, I hear new stories from my readers about how Budget Meal Planner has helped them. I love getting on a personal level with everyone who reaches out, and I figured it’d be fun to do a little Q&A here on the blog for anyone interested to hear more about my story. So let’s begin!
Why $5 a day?
There’s really no explanation for this. It wasn’t something that I had calculated and planned for because X reason; instead, it simply sounded doable. So, I tried to eat for $5 a day with my boyfriend — together for $10. And it worked! We’ve consistently hit our daily food budget of $5 each for nearly 2 years now, and because it’s been proven successful, we continue with the habit.
I think until we reach a noticeable difference in our income, as in becoming more comfortable with the money we have, we will keep eating for $5 a day.
What’s your day job?
I wish I could say something food-related, but food is simply an interest. My day job consists of being a graphic designer. I specialize in branding and packaging design. As much as I love my job, I think it’s what makes running this website so much fun for me. When I work on Budget Meal Planner, it’s a little break in the week to focus on something completely different.
What’s your favorite cuisine?
Mexican! I absolutely love those south-of-the-border flavors. It’s not a cuisine I have cooked much of, mostly because I don’t want to be disappointed by my failed attempts! But I cannot get enough of Mexican dishes. I actually had neighbors who were from Mexico and they would invite me over for dinners some nights, and oh my god, I am not kidding when I say it was some of the best food of my life.
Did you grow up cooking a lot?
Not at all. I mean, I’ve taught myself how to cook from a young age because my parents often worked around dinner time, but most of the time, they were simple dishes. It wasn’t until I moved out that I started cooking more diverse meals.
Have you always been conscious of your budget?
Oh, no… if you talked to me 5 years ago, you would know that I had a terrible habit of eating out. I also bought anything and everything I wanted. I will admit, I had the benefit of receiving some extra money each month and that I spent every cent of it. I never went negative or put myself through extreme financial difficulties, but it wasn’t until those checks stopped coming that I learned how to discipline my spending.
So, in a sense, I was always aware of how much I had in my bank account. But the difference is that now I choose to save money and am aware of what’s worth spending money on.
Where do you find inspiration for recipes?
I really enjoy the mindset of cooking with the seasons. Using ingredients that are fresh and affordable is a no-brainer for me. Aside from that, I travel full-time (yes, that’s where my saved money goes), and trying to replicate foreign dishes is one of my favorite hobbies. They’re not always spot on, especially with the little budget I have, but I’d say 80% of the flavor is there.
You’re traveling?! Where are you now?
At the time of writing this, I’m currently in Sweden! I’m with my boyfriend in his hometown, and we have plans to head off to Thailand in about a month from now. We’ll travel around southeast Asia for maybe 8 months or so, then hopefully head to my hometown in Missouri.
That’s all for today, but if you have any questions for me, leave them down in the comments below!