Sometimes, you just don’t want to plan a menu, figure out what you need, and go to the grocery. That’s when meal subscription services come in. From Blue Apron to Hello Fresh, there are more than enough of these meal kit plans on the market for you to choose from, but given their price tags, it may be time to ask whether or not their convenience is actually worth the price.
What should you look at when determining whether or not to purchase a meal subscription plan? There are a few key factors you’ll need to keep in mind.
Can You Afford It?
Photo Credit: hellofresh.com
There are a plenty of options out there. Some of the biggest names include Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated, and Home Chef. All of them have different price points depending on your needs, but typically, they fall between $40-$65 for three meals, two servings per meal. For example, the classic Hello Fresh plan for two people (the lowest you can choose) at three nights a week cost $54, or $9 per meal, $10 including shipping. Think about if a cost like this is within your budget.
Pro Tip: Most of the plans advertise with heavily discounted introductory offers. Use them to test different plans in order to find one that works best for you.
Check Your Grocery Bill
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Think about what’s on your typical grocery list and where do you shop? Your local grocery store? An expensive gourmet shop? If you’ve been shopping for food for a bit now, you probably know the cost of those meals. Is it more or less than the cost of a subscription service? If three meals of two servings each costs you more than the cost of one of the meal subscription services, it may just be worth investing in. On the other hand, if you try to keep your grocery budget to no more than $300 a month, or $10 a day, these plans leave no room for breakfasts, lunches and other groceries.
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Are you a good cook? Do you get all of the nutrition you need, or do you live on Cup o’ Noodles and cereal? If this is the case, your grocery bill may be pretty cheap in comparison to a meal subscription, but are you really getting quality food? While saving money is important, so is your health. If you’re not exactly a quality chef, and you feel like you need a little jazz back into your food, a meal subscription could be great for you. The meal plan ingredients tend to be of high quality and include all the spices and sauces that many first apartment kitchens lack. If your recipe needs a teaspoon of cardamom and tablespoon of champagne vinegar, they are included, fresh and pre-measured. On the other hand, since all the ingredients are packaged for two meal portions, if you are single you’ll be cooking the dish and then eating the same meal two days in a row.
Photo Credit: blueapron.com
If you are just starting to cook for yourself, you can use these meal subscription plans with their detailed instructions to learn some basic cooking techniques. Another fun thing about using the plans is that – with the right plan – you can experiment cooking different cuisines and learn to use unusual ingredients and spices.