Meal delivery services: they’re an amazing thing, but you pay for the service. By my estimates, it costs about twice as much to order meals through meal delivery services. But sometimes, that convenience is worth it. And if you’ve been picking up takeout or going out to eat a lot, meal delivery services can be a huge saving. And if you’re able to get an introductory offer or returning customer deal, even better! (I have affiliate links listed below that provide deals, but they may not be the best deals available for you. Be sure to shop around!)
Here are the five times that I think it makes a lot of sense to give a meal delivery service a try.
1. When You Are Moving
Whether you’re in temporary lodging, or just dealing with the chaos of moving, meal delivery might make your life easier. Certain companies, or parts of their menus, are super-simply and even come with their own baking dish. Last night, I made a fabulous chicken and vegetable dish from Home Chef that literally took me about 5 minutes to prepare and then pop into the oven in the provided recyclable pan.
2. When You’re Not Confident In Your Cooking Skills (Or You Are Teaching Your Kids)
One of the things I love about meal kits is that they are easy, and they build cooking confidence. This is great if you’re a newer cook who has a limited list of things that you can make, or if you’re trying to introduce your kids to cooking. Some companies have ever-so-slightly more complicated recipes that can introduce techniques like browning meat or deglazing a pan.
My kids are competent cooks, but they like the convenience and step-by-step instructions of meal kits. And I like being able to say, “Make something for dinner” versus “I think we have all the ingredients for caramelized onion meatloaf and mashed potatoes and green beans and no I can’t remember where the recipe is so you’ll have to find it online. Oh and the meat isn’t completely defrosted yet.”
3. When You’re Frazzled And Have Been Turning To Takeout
Sometimes, life gets overscheduled and the next thing you know, you’re picking up takeout a couple of times a week. A meal delivery service can help you break the takeout habit and rebuild your eating-at-home habits.
Plus, these meal kits are less expensive than comparable takeout meals.
4. When You Are Traveling
If you are away from home, and your accommodation has a kitchen, a meal delivery plan might be a brilliant way to save money some of that per diem for other purposes. You’d probably need to pick up salt and pepper and olive oil from the grocery store. Bring a food storage container from home and you’ll be the envy of your temporary workplace with savory leftovers for lunch.
Some people even go so far as to bring an instapot, air fryer, or slow cooker with them when they travel!
5. When Someone At Your House Needs Care
Whether it’s a new baby, a broken leg, or a serious illness, caring for someone is exhausting. It often doesn’t leave time for things like shopping and coming up with meal plans. Having pre-planned meals delivered right to your door might make it possible for you to have home-cooked meals without quite so much work.
When You Shouldn’t Be Using A Meal Kit
Obviously, I’m going to remind you not to spend money on meal kits if you really can’t afford them. If you are pinching pennies, meal kits are definitely a luxury and maybe aren’t the best choice of your spending. But only you can know that!
Ways To Save Money on Meal Kits
There are several ways to save money on meal kits.
First, always ask your friends and family for referral codes. Meal kit companies give away free meals to new customers all the time. You should be getting a substantial discount on your first few boxes.
Second, check with your premium credit cards to see what offers they are running.
Lastly, always check out your shopping rebate sites. I’ve seen rebates as high as 40% on meal kit services.
Companies To Try
I have not tried a ton of meal delivery kits, because I am cheap. But I do have friends who give me recommendations 🙂
Hello Fresh: Probably the best-known meal delivery, Hello Fresh offers a “free box” if you use my link: Hello Fresh. Meals are available for 2 or 4 people, and you can select 2 through 6 meals per week. I have found that their protein portions are big enough to share with smaller children if you’re not a huge protein eater.
Home Chef: This may be the favorite of the meal kits that we have tried. I liked the menu options. You get $35 off your first purchase using my referral link: Home Chef
I’ve heard great reviews about Gobble. People like Blue Apron and Green Chef. And EveryPlate advertises lower-than-average costs, so that’s nice. All three of these are on Rakuten. Factor has a huge rebate with Rakuten and the meals are already prepped. Just heat and eat.
I’m not adding Marley Spoon to this list because they were not our favorite. Orders were wrong a lot, and none of the recipes made us go “woo!”
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