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How to Save A Ton of Money Using Meal Subscription Service Promotions

January 8, 2017

Disclosure: Some links to products on this website will earn an affiliate commission.

 

Meal delivery services are everywhere

 

Plated, Blue Apron, HelloFresh, the list goes on.

 

Their advertising implies that you can save money and time by getting weekly meals delivered to your door in a climate controlled box. I balked at this for awhile – no way is this cheaper than grocery shopping, but then the promotions started to roll in and that got my attention.

 

Plenty of articles have analyzed which of these services is the best and whether the week-to-week pricing is worth it compared to grocery shopping.

 

But I decided to churn through the different companies, hitting promotions on the way, to see if I could really save a buck.

 

Good news – boy did it work!

 

Week 1: Blue Apron

3 meals for 2 people = 6 meals

Regular Price: $59.94

Promo: $30 Off

Promo Price: $29.94

Price per meal: $4.99

Want to try it? Here's $60 off your first three boxes! (New Promo)

 

Week 2: Plated [Note: Went Out of Business]

2 meals for 2 people = 4 meals

Regular Price: $48

Promo: $24 off

Promo Price: $24

Price per meal: $6

Want to try it? Sorry, they went out of business | Updated March 2020

 

Week 3: Hello Fresh

3 Meals for 2 People = 6 meals

Regular Price: $59

Promo: $40 off

Promo Price: $19.00

Price per meal: $3.16

Want to try it? $40 off your first box, visit HelloFresh using this link

 

Week 4: SunBasket

3 Meals for 2 People = 6 meals

Regular Price: $68.94

Promo: $35 off

Promo Price: $33.94

Price per meal: $5.65

Want to try it? Get $70 off your first 3 boxes using this link

 

Week 5: Home Chef

3 Meals for 2 People = 6 meals

Regular Price: $59.70

Promo: $30 off

Promo Price: $29.70

Price per meal: $4.95

Want to try it? For $80 off visit Home Chef using this link

 

Week 6: Green Chef

3 Meals for 2 People = 6 meals

Regular Price: $63.98

Promo: $40 off

Promo Price: $23.98

Price per meal: $3.99

Want to try it? For $80 off Green Chef here

 

Week 7: Marley Spoon

3 Meals for 2 People = 6 meals

Regular Price: $61.50

Promo: $35 off

Promo Price: $26.50

Price per meal: $4.41

Want to try it? For coupon code: Visit RetailMeNot or Groupon

 

Week 8: Bonus Week! Plated Again!

Plated begged us to come back, dangling another $24 off promotion. We gladly accepted.

2 meals for 2 people = 4 meals

Regular Price: $48

Promo Price: $24

Price per meal: $6

Want to try it? Sorry, they went out of business

 

Week 9: Bonus Week! Blue Apron Again!

Blue Apron begged us to come back, dangling another $30 off promotion. We gladly accepted.

3 meals for 2 people = 6 meals

Regular Price: $59.94

Promo Price: $29.94

Price per meal: $4.99

Want to try it? Here's $60 off your first order three boxes! (New Promo)

 

 

Total Spent: $241

Total # of meals: 50

Average cost per meal: $4.82

Cheapest with promo: HelloFresh

Most expensive with promo: Plated (now out of business)

Most time consuming: Blue Apron

Most packaging: Blue Apron

Best packaging: HelloFresh

Best if you like meat: Home Chef

Our favorite overall: Plated (now out of business, updated March 2020)

 

We cancelled all of the services after the first week.

 

Experience

The experience of ordering and picking meals (for those that allow you to pick) was actually pretty fun! I enjoyed the planning – picking the day of delivery and looking forward to the box. I liked that it cut down on food waste and felt efficient. Fewer leftovers (but still some). It saved time schlepping to the grocery store and cut down on boredom from the same old recipes.

 

We really enjoyed cooking with new ingredients too and I actually think my cooking skills have really improved.

 

We had never cooked steak or plantains before!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, all of the recipes come with cards and none of them would be that hard to reproduce – we saved a few of the cards because we liked the recipes so much. 

 

 

Our Favorite

Our favorite was Plated. The meals were delicious and creative. Plated stood out from the rest from end to end – the website is the most user friendly, the packaging is easy to understand, and the instructions are straightforward. And the food was awesome! Our second favorite was Home Chef, which we did not expect to like because of the reviews online but we found it excellent. Our least favorite two were Blue Apron and Green Chef. Blue Apron’s recipes were very complicated and took a long time – and frankly weren’t that good. Green Chef’s recipes just weren’t that tasty.

 

Things to keep in mind

 

Packaging

If packaging bothers you, do not get meals in a box. There is so much packaging! However, there’s a lot of packaging if you buy groceries as well, so I was able to reconcile that.

 

Long Delivery Windows

The delivery windows are large, usually 12 hours – 8 AM to 8 PM. For us receiving the box wasn’t an issue because we could be there to receive it, but if leaving things on your doorstep is an issue, that’s something to consider. Also, since the delivery window can extend into the evening, plan ahead so that you can make other dinner plans if it arrives towards the end of the delivery window.

 

Cancellation and Skipping Weeks

All of these companies have strict cancellation policies, but it is easy to cancel (no calling required). If you don’t want to pay for the second week at the regular price, I recommend cancelling on the same day that you receive your box in order to make the “cutoff” or go into the system and “skip” a few weeks to give yourself time to cancel. I did not have any trouble cancelling any of them and didn’t get any unexpected charges.

 

Kitchen Basics

You need a stocked kitchen and some basics in order to make most of these meals. The basics include: a strainer, tongs, spatulas, frying pans, salt, pepper, and oil. Counter space helps too because some of the meals are complicated!

 

Happy Cooking!

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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