Meal kits are a concept that continues to grow rapidly across the US and many other countries. For example, HelloFresh alone delivered more than 964 million meals last year, up from just 137 million just 5 years ago (source: Food Box Mate).
With the costs of groceries constantly rising and millions of us suffering in this cost of living crisis, I wanted to share some helpful tips for anyone who enjoys using meal kits like HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, Sunbasket, or any of the other similar companies.
Meal kits are particularly amazing for any families struggling to plan their weekly meals or be careful with calorie-controlled meals. The per-portioned ingredients make sure you’re always eating the right amount of food.
These tips have helped me save thousands of dollars for my family over the last few years. In particular, tip number 4 is an incredible secret hack that is guaranteed to save you money.
1 – Bulk Out Your Meals
Meal kits send a set of pre-portioned ingredients for a specific number of meals. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t put your own spin on their meals and cook additional healthy portions.
My favorite trick is to add an additional can of beans or lentils to meals. These are super cheap to pick up at the supermarket, and go a long way to making your 4-meal box give you 4 dinners plus a few lunches as well.
For example, I added a can of lentils to this One-Pot Pork & Black Bean Chili and it was absolutely delicious.
There are some other food worth considering to help bulk out those meals, including:
- Rice or Pasta
Depending on the meal you’re cooking, this can be a super quick and easy way to reduce the cost you’re paying per portion significantly.
2 – Buy Bigger Boxes
Using the basic economic principle of ‘economies of scale’, meal kits always provide a cheaper cost per portion if you order larger boxes. It’s slightly paradoxical but by spending more overall, you’re making each meal cheaper.
Let’s take Blue Apron as an example. Ordering a 4-person meal kit for 2 days a week costs $9.49 per portion, compared to a 4 day box which costs just $7.99 per portion. Saving $1.50 per portion adds up over time.
If that means you receive more meals than you need, then remember you can always cancel next week’s delivery. Use the urgent perishable meals first but you can always find meals that last up to 10 days.
To make this work, make sure to take steps that help keep your meal kit ingredients fresh like storing your herbs in their own fridge drawer or wrapping leafy greens in a paper towel.
3 – Switch Services to Grab Retention Offers
Since meal kit services are based on a subscription model, their entire business relies on you staying subscribed. As customers, we can use this to our advantage by switching smartly.
Whenever you cancel your subscription (which is always super easy to do), you’re going to receive multiple follow-up emails trying to entice you back. This includes getting discount vouchers for up to $50 off your next few orders.
Here’s an example I got from Marley Spoon at the start of the year!
This means you can switch between 2-3 services and almost always have a discount code. When used alongside our final tip, this means you can easily save hundreds of dollars every year.
I’ll leave you in suspense no longer.
4 – Grab Coupon Codes From Facebook Groups
This is the biggest hack that very few people know about. You don’t have to wait for any service to send you a retention offer directly. Most services regularly provide codes that can be used by anyone, even customers with existing subscriptions.
There are loads of Facebook groups where subscribers share their codes for others to use, which is how I’ve managed to never pay full price for a meal kit.
In the example above, there’s an amazing code for 40% off that anyone can use. That makes sure your meals for that week are going to be significantly cheaper than buying each ingredient at the grocery store anyway.
With these four tips, it’s definitely possible to get meal kits down to around $3-4 per portion which makes them an amazing option for saving money on your monthly grocery bills.
You’ll even save time and effort at the supermarket, which I love. It’s just super convenient having a box delivered right to the house with most of my week’s groceries sorted. At these prices, it’s a no-brainer.