Monday, March 28, 2016

Modern Monday: Subscription Meal Boxes

Unless you're living under a rock, at some point in the last few years you've at least run across an add for a subscription box service. There is a subscription box for almost everything. I know my Facebook feed is inundated with ads for different subscription services. My subscription addiction and hello subscription list over 1,000 subscription boxes! Boxes range from kid products and crafts, to "bro boxes" with razors and manly products.

At the end of the day these boxes are definitely not the most frugal way to try new products. The boxes cost more than buying the individual products. However, there's definitely a joy to be found in getting a fun package in the mail. Also - I'm not sure I'd make the effort to try new things, so there's something to be said for them being "forced" upon me.

Often the first box in a subscription series is cheaper. This is especially true of the food box subscriptions. My husband and I have been trying various food subscriptions and today I bring you two of my favorites.

First up is HelloFresh. This is an online subscription that sends you a box of fresh ingredients, and recipe cards each week. You do have to cook the food yourself, but they send easy to follow directions with pictures and all ingredients except salt, pepper, and olive oil. There are three box options: classic, veggie, or family. Under each category there are various options to allow for 3-5 meals for 2-4 people. We chose to do three meals for two people and cooked after the toddlers were in bed for a stay at home date night. 

The Classic box typically cost $69/week for three meals for two people. However, you can receive $40 off the first box using the code HUCNS84. This brings your total down to less than $30 for three meals. Meals are delivered to your door in a cooler. Supposedly all the ingredients can keep four hours even on a hot summer day. You can return or keep the cool packs in the containers.

All our meals had appropriate sized meat portions, and huge veggie portions. We were stuffed! I even cooked foods I had never tried (or heard of!). There are different options to choose from each week, just in case there is a food you really do not like. The meals were all things I would have tried in a restaurant, but never thought to make at home.

This would be a great option for busy working parents or just a way to mix it up occasionally. It is cheaper than eating out, and healthier than fast food. As of this post, this week's meals included Jamie Oliver's tasty grilled chicken with green bean salad, Juicy Lucy Burger with tomato onion jam and baby gem lettuce salad, Feisty Fiesta Fish Tacos with grapefruit, avocado, and cabbage slaw, Dijon Pork Chops with crispy potato cakes and asparagus and Heirloom tomato flat bread, with fresh mozzarella, pesto and arugula. Hungry yet? Try it now - use the code HUCNS84 to get $40 off!

Second is Freshly. Too tired to cook? Too tired to shop? Have premade meals delivered straight to your front door! Choose from 4 plans: 6,9,12 or 21 meals. Choose any combination of meals. Have the meals delivered. Relax & eat! 6 meals starts at just $69/week. However, you can use this link to get 6 meals free. This will require you to pay shipping, but for the first week you will pay a grand total of $10 for 6 meals! Thats at least worth the time to sign up, pick meals, do a trial week (and cancel if you want). 

Again - neither of these options are especially frugal, although the trial weeks are more so. However, if you aren't menu planning, sale shopping, or couponing, these may actually be cheaper. They are definitely less expensive than eating out, and healthier than fast food. Both of these are subscription services. You will continue to be charged weekly if you do not cancel or pause deliveries

Have you tried a meal subscription box? Let us know what you think!

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