Author Erin Chase is used to the skepticism.
Known as the $5 Mom, the San Antonio-based Chase has written two books on how to feed your family while staying under that elusive $5 per meal mark. Chase keeps her receipts for a reason.
"Everything I paid for, that's accurate," Chase says.
Indeed, every recipe ingredient in Chase's books has a price tag the not-so-grand totals are also included at the bottom of each recipe.
Some might argue that the prices are too good to be true, but Chase doesn't hesitate to share her secrets to low-budget meal planning.
"Once people see the light, once that clicks for people, they're usually like 'Whoa, I had no clue how much money I was wasting at the store,' " Chase says, which means paying attention to sale prices, using coupons and being creative with your low-cost bounty.
For her third book, "The $5 Dinner Mom One-Dish Dinners Cookbook" (St. Martin's Press, $17.99), she combines low-budget cooking with easy clean-up; something Chase says gives cooks a hand in the kitchen.
The mom of three, soon to be four, has been frugal for a while. Her attention to cost and creativity in the kitchen led to her starting a $5 dinner blog, www.5dollardinners.com, and later to her being selected as one of 10 national winners for a money-saving tip contest sponsored by Wal-Mart.
For novices to sale shopping, Chase suggests baby steps: spending 30 to 45 minutes a week figuring out what's on sale and looking for coupons through several budgeting Web sites. She also recommends waiting to find a sale cycle.
"Sales usually work in six or eight or 12 week cycles," Chase says. "You'll figure out when to buy meat, or pasta, after you've seen all the same prices at some point."
The fun part is being creative with the items on sale.
"Once you find a great price on meat, you can plan a menu of taco meat or spaghetti and get the most for your dollar," Chase says.