First of all, let me preface this post by stating it has nothing to do with Baltimore. Money is something that many people struggle with, and I am no different. If you know me, you know I am notorious for putting off going to the grocery store for as long as possible. I’m talking, I’ll eat a bowl of Golden Grahams for every meal, three days in a row if it means I don’t have to go to the store. I’ll pull up all my Chick-fil-A freebies on my app to avoid going to the store. I’m a product of my parents, and that means pinching pennies to the MAX. I remember my mom wouldn’t even buy something unless she had a coupon for it. And going, “out to eat” meant your choice from the Dollar Menu and a cup of water.
I am definitely not complaining about the way I was raised. I’m proud to be a bargain shopper, and this post is just one of the simple ways I’ve learned to make a dollar (or a few) stretch.
So one of the easiest ways to have a full meal on a tight budget, is to sample home meal kits. I made the word, “sample” bold, because that’s what we are going to look at today, sampling the kits.
There have been a ton of meal delivery services that have been popping up over the years, which makes it easier to avoid committing to one. This might sound crazy but in my quest over the past year to save money while eating real meals, I have tested six different boxes. I always got the cheapest price for the boxes which is usually two meals, for two times a week. Many people have written about the food they received in their boxes and compared different companies based on portion and tastiness. My breakdown will focus mostly on the first week trial price, because to be honest, at this point in my life, I’m mostly focused on bang for my buck. Also, I really didn’t notice that much of a difference in the quality of the food, I think I just enjoyed eating the meals because I knew I got such a bargain, hah. So here we go.
Blue Apron was the first box I ever tried. A friend in D.C. sent me a coupon for a free box. I got this box probably sometime in January of this year and can’t find the recipes for the food I made. I will say, though, that I had my first box stolen, and Blue Apron kindly replaced it with not hassle at all. I’ve had several friends use this service and everyone seems to love it. I do know the recipes can be a bit complicated but the food is delicious, and like I said, your first week is FREE, including shipment.
Sunbasket was the second box I tried. They offered $30 off their first week of meals, so I ended up pay $38.94. Expensive for me, yes, but they actually give you two meals for three days a week, rather than two meals for two days a week. I’ve had friends tell me they tried Sunbasket and liked it, as well.
Green Chef was the third service I tried and let me tell you, this one was far and away my favorite. The recipes were insanely easy to make and the portions were HUGE. I had enough left overs to take to lunch the next day for both me and my friend. And the food was deliiiiish. When I ordered my first box I got four meals for free. If I was to go back and re-buy a meal kit, this one would for sure be it.
Plated was the next box I tried. Plated is pretty big in the meal kit industry and I can see why. The meals were easy to make and the portions were nice and big. I received $40 off my first week so I ended up paying $15.75 for 4 meals, so not a bad price at all for some yummy food.
Hello Fresh was the next one. Hello Fresh is the one you see all the former Bachelor/Bachelorette constestants raving about on Instagram (yeah I still follow Ali Fedotowsky so what). They charge $59.94 for their classic plan, which is three meals a week for two people. I got $30.00 off my first week so I ended up paying $29.94.
Marley Spoon is the latest box I tried and I’d have to say it’s a close tie with Green Chef. Marley Spoon is Martha Stewart’s box, and I LOVE all things Martha. The food was so flavorful and so easy to make. My friend and I broiled chicken for the first time and it turned out amazing! I feel like you just can’t go wrong with Martha Stewart so two big thumbs up from us! I ended up paying $18.00 for two people, two meals a week. Totally worth it!
So I realize I didn’t really go over all the content of the boxes, but this post was mainly to focus on how much quality food you can get for a bargain. And all the boxes come with step by step directions for how to make the meals. While I did enjoy some of the food more than others, when it comes to what you’re getting for the price you’re paying, there’s really not a dud in the bunch. Also, I think a lot of people think it’s hard to stop their subscription to the boxes but it really isn’t. All were available to stop online except Sun Basket, and that just required a simple phone call.
One thing I would like to note is that deals for the boxes change from time to time. For example, recently when I was doing research for this article and going through my accounts looking at what I had paid, the current prices were different. For example, I got my Green Chef box for free earlier this year, but currently the site is offering $30.00 off their first box. So sometimes you just need to check back to different sites for different deals.
So if you’re looking to impress someone this holiday season, or you’re just sick of eating cereal for every meal (hehe) take a look at some of the different meal kits out there! Hopefully my breakdown makes it a little easier for you to spot which box might be right for you!
Also, comment below! What tips do you have for saving money? I’d love to hear them!