If you aren’t familiar with meal delivery services by now, they are a subscription based box of prepackaged ingredients to make healthy home cooked meals with. On average they cost around $10 per person per meal. There is a wide range of companies in this market already, including:
- Home Chef
- Blue Apron
- Terra’s Kitchen
- Green Chef
Just to name a few!
I’ve had a few friends tell me that the biggest con to these is, you still have to grocery shop. So what’s the point? Well for me, and I think most moms will agree, I absolutely do not have the time to make a meal plan, go buy every ingredient for every dish, and then take the time to cook an amazing home cooked meal every single night. I’m definitely no chef, and I needed some help.
My biggest pros to a home delivery service: Meals are already set and you don’t need to plan. I am not a great cook by any means. The simple directions inside have made me cook way better meals that I would never attempt on my own. They are usually simple, and quick. Of course there are some exceptions, but for the most part I am only ever in the kitchen away from the baby for about 30 minutes. They are delivered straight to your door and automatically billed so you don’t even have to think about what to do for multiple dinners per week.
But depending on which service you choose, how many meals you’d like and how many people are in your family, this can cost near between $50-$100 a week. How can you make that work when you still have other groceries to buy?
Here are the tips I’ve used to successfully keep our grocery budget the same after adding a meal delivery service to the equation.
***This plan is based on an average 5 meals a week eating at home, and two days a week eating out.***
- Keep other meals of the day simple. Stick to a few key meals for breakfast and lunch that you can interchange. (Breakfast- oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, cereal, waffles) (Lunch- sandwiches, granola bars, trail mix, jerky)
- Shop in bulk. Costco is my world, guys. You can go and buy two giant loaves of bread, a huge jar of mayo and a big pack of lunch meat for about $15 and have lunch off that for a few weeks straight! (Other good bulk items- granola bars, cereal, applesauce for kiddos)
- Plan for a simple meal on the night(s) you don’t have meal delivery service for. We only have 2 nights a week unaccounted for with meal service- so I will buy a few simple ingredients to make just one meal that we can have leftovers of the next day. (Ex.- Pan of baked ziti, Pan of enchiladas, lasagna, fajita tacos, etc.)
- Buy ready to eat snacks or meals from Costco’s freezer section. If there’s a night where you’re on the go, not very hungry, or just generally busy- but these out. (Ex.- taquitos, yakisoba meals, frozen tacos, raviolis)
So all in all, I can keep my grocery budget nearly exactly the same as it was before. Dinner ingredients consumed a lot of the grocery budget with fresh veggies, sides, and fresh meats. But by only shopping for a couple very simple meals each week, I lessened spending and was able to use that extra for the meal service. However, these tips have helped me save money on groceries even when I wasn’t using a meal delivery service! I hope they can help you too!