We’re living in a time when home meal services are gaining popularity rapidly. They’re convenient, and they help keep people from eating out–which saves time and can be healthier. But are home meal delivery boxes worth it–especially when it comes to saving money? We will tackle that in today’s post.
When I first saw advertisements for meal delivery services a few years back, my immediate thought was: “We could never afford that. Plus, I cook most of our meals from scratch. Why would I pay someone to pre-measure ingredients for me?”
Fast forward to our current, very-busy season with four kids, and now I see there are many benefits to meal delivery services. For some people, meal delivery services are most definitely worth it.
When are meal delivery services worth it?
1. You have more money than time.
If you live an extremely busy lifestyle and are not able to get to the grocery store often, a meal delivery service may be worth it for you. If you need the time-slashing that pre-measured and even sometimes pre-cut ingredients affords, then a meal delivery service may be just what you need.
2. You are not able to leave home often.
If you’re not able to leave home often or are simply stuck at home due to an illness, small children, the weather, or even a worldwide quarantine (ahem), then a meal delivery service may be worth it for you.
When I originally wrote this post, my state had just issued a shelter-in-place for all residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we were still able to get food at grocery stores and take-out from restaurants, our family had decided to order online as much as possible.
Pros of Meal Delivery Services:
1. Saves time. There’s no doubt that cooking with contents from a meal delivery service will save you time.
2. Saves money–over eating out. If you enjoy eating out weekly or bi-weekly, ordering a meal delivery kit will definitely save you money. Our family can eat two meals for the price of one over what we would pay when eating out.
3. Saves health—over eating out. Cooking at home is always healthier than eating out. Unfortunately, we just have no control over the ingredients when eating out or getting take-out. One really great benefit of meal delivery services is that they send all of the ingredients and detailed instructions for putting meals together–so you see with your own eyes exactly what is going into them.
4. The meals are usually full of flavor and are not run-of-the-mill. After trying several meal delivery services over the years, we’ve noticed one thing in common–each meal is usually bursting in flavor and has a more gourmet flare than what I normally make from home. Yet, the pre-measured ingredients make putting the meals together a cinch. You feel like a top chef–without spending hours in the kitchen!
Cons of Meal Delivery Services:
1. It’s more expensive than doing it all yourself. If you have more time than money, you will want to opt for DIYing your meals from grocery shopping to finished product. While meal delivery services are more affordable than eating out, they will eat into your budget if you are accustomed to making all of your meals at home.
A key to saving money is to always search for coupon codes before ordering, unless you decide it fits your family’s lifestyle to sign up for an ongoing subscription.
This post on the Dave Ramsey website also gives a really good cost comparison between using a meal delivery service and cooking from scratch at home.
2. You actually have to do the cooking yourself. Most meal delivery kits are made to get dinner on the table in as little time as possible. You save time by not having to grocery shop, not having to hunt down ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry, and not having to measure things out (most of the time). However, if you hate cooking and have enough money to eat out or get takeout, you may not like the fact that meal delivery services actually require that you cook yourself.
Our Personal Experience
Our family has tried several meal delivery boxes in the past but we have never gotten one on a reoccurring subscription.
A little while ago, we tried out our first Home Chef box.
They sent us ingredients to make turkey meatballs and beef empanada bowls. Not only were the meals healthy, but our kids loved them! We made meals for a family of four stretch to feed our family of six.
While we doubt we will be regular Home Chef customers, we will definitely be ordering again when they run amazing deals like they’re running right now!
Here’s how to get this deal:
Step 1: Click here, and then click the red “Redeem Here” button at the top of the page (in the green bar).
Step 2: Enter email address. They will send you order updates, menu updates, and future promotions. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Step 3: Pick the number of portions (2, 4, 6, or 8) & number of meals per week (2-6).
Step 4: Indicate food preferences. You can list foods to avoid, and the meals will tell you if they contain gluten, dairy, or nuts, which I found SUPER helpful considering that our family is gluten-free!
Step 5: Enter shipping information, and pick your first delivery date. You will be charged for this delivery upon checkout. Shipping is $10.99. Your preferred weekly delivery day can be changed anytime. You don’t need to be home when your meals are delivered.
Step 6: Enter payment information.
Order your Home Chef box today! [/content_box]
I selected 4 portions with 2 meals (so it was dinner for our family of 6 for two nights) . Again, this fed our family of 6 (kids are 11, 9, 7, and 3) for two dinners. This is much cheaper than us ordering take-out. The meal for 4 is for four adults, so that box should be fine if you are ordering for 2 adults and 3-4 children. I would go up to the next size box if you have more than 4 young children.
You will now be charged for your first delivery. Yes, this happens before you can pick your meals, which isn’t preferable, but Home Chef does offer enough meal options to satisfy pretty much any tastes. My husband is fairly picky when it comes to vegetables, and I’m fairly picky when it comes to meats, and we found meal options that both of us–and our four children all loved. For all future deliveries, you will be charged the Friday before your order arrives. You can choose to skip a future delivery by the Friday before the delivery date at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Step 7: Pick your meals. Meals are priced per serving. The amount your credit card is charged will be adjusted depending on the price of the meals you select. They also have some premium meal options for up to $12 per serving. As well, they offer meat-only boxes.
We ended up with a meatball meal and a empanada bowl. We–and our kids!–LOVED both meals. It was so nice to have different flavors and recipes than what I normally make! Both meals were bursting with flavor!
Is Home Chef affordable? It depends. If your family never eats out of orders take-out, then, no, it will not be the most affordable way to eat. However, if your family is used to eating out couple days per week, Home Chef will most definitely save you money over ordering to-go meals–and you get the added benefit of knowing exactly what is going into each dish since you’re making the meals yourself with their pre-measured ingredients!