Financial Challenge #2: Home Delivery Meal Service Try-out

Financial Challenge Series:

We are so excited to present to you our 2018 Financial Challenge Series! Each month, one of our employees will complete a financial challenge and then blog about it right here on our Blue Chip FCU News Blog! Be sure to let us know your favorite challenges, suggest future challenges and share your own challenge results! This month’s challenge:

Financial Challenge #2: Home Delivery Meal Service Try-out

What is it:

A Home Deliver Meal Service provides you with the recipes and ALL ingredients needed to make a home-cooked meal for you and your family. Everything is delivered right to your front door making the meal prep and shopping almost non-existent!

How long did we do it:

We did the Home Delivery Meal Service challenge for one month.

Here’s how it went…

We all want to provide a healthy, home cooked meal for our families BUT, with the time requirement of meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking, our best laid plans quickly turn into take-out or pizza delivery. Having seen a million commercials on HGTV (they know their audience), we had been dying to try a meal delivery service for a long time and decided to pull the trigger and give it a shot!

After researching many different companies (Blue Apron, Sun Basket, Hello Fresh and Home Chef), we chose to go with Home Chef. Our decision was based on cost (they were one of the most reasonably priced), healthy recipe options (they had a lot of low-calorie/heart friendly options), and positive customer reviews. They also had a lot of recipes that were categorized as EASY. This was important to us non-chef level home cooks.

The order process was super easy. The recipes change weekly and you can select how many meals you want to order for the week/month. CAUTION: They only deliver to your area on specific days of the week and meal ingredients are only good for 3 – 5 days. You go online to select your meals for the week. You can choose to either receive 2 portions or 4 portions. NOTE: The portions are huge and could easily be shared with young children.

They also offer smoothie and dessert options too! The ingredients all arrived fresh and perfectly proportioned to make 2 servings. The meals tasted great and were fairly easy to make as long as you chose easy recipes. I may have accidentally ordered an Expert level meal, Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (I mean… how can you resist a jalapeno popper stuffed pork tenderloin???) that required skills I did NOT possess. The meal didn’t look pretty, but still tasted great.Picture of Home Chef chicken recipe.

Our biggest concern was how this was going to work with our monthly grocery budget. The thought was that the meals would come out of the grocery budget (about $60 per week for 3 meals and smoothies) leaving us with grocery money to buy all of the other items we need for the week/month. Unfortunately, this just didn’t work out with our budget. Full disclosure: We budget about $100 per week for our family of 4. That left us $40 a week to buy all other food and disposable products for our family.

At the end of the month, here is what we discovered:

Pro’s List

  • Convenient: Not only does this take away the stress of planning out your weekly meals, but who doesn’t want a professional chef meal planning for them???
  • SUPER Convenient: On top of planning the meals, the ingredients are delivered right to your door step already perfectly portioned!
  • Healthy: You have complete control over what meals you choose and they always had a lot of healthy options to choose from.
  • High-quality (expensive) Ingredients: If you are a fan of high-quality foods (such as truffle oil and special seasonings), this is the perfect solution for your meal planning. Because they include the specific portions needed for a recipe, you aren’t taking on the high cost of buying a bottle of truffle oil for one recipe.
  • Variety: If you are anything like me, you probably have about 4 – 5 meals your family loves and you just rotate through them every month. By the end of winter, my kids cringe when I say we are having Chicken Chili in my best, “isn’t this the greatest meal ever?” Mom voice! Home Chef offered a lot of different meal options.
  • Time Savings: The biggest plus is the time savings this program gives you! It takes 10 minutes to pick your meals online compared to the countless hours we spend monthly going through cookbooks/online food websites/ and every recipe we ever pinned on Pinterest.


Con’s List

  • Delivery Schedule: This will all depend on where you live and on what days you like to cook. For our family, we like to have our home cooked meals near the beginning of the week. We do left overs and take out at the end of the week/weekends. Unfortunately, I could only choose from Wednesday, Thursday or Friday to have my ingredients delivered. The ingredients stay fresh for 3 – 5 days. So if I want to cook on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m out of luck.
  • Cost/Grocery Budget: Depending on your monthly grocery budget, this may not be the best fit your family.


Is this Right for you?

For us… it all came down to cost. It is the typical Time vs. Money dilemma. You use either your time or your money to accomplish tasks. If you work long hours and just don’t have the time or energy to meal plan/grocery shop, then this is the PERFECT way to feed your family healthy, home cooked meals. But, you pay for that convenience. For us… it was more important to stay within our designated grocery budget. We save a lot of money by taking the time to meal plan and grocery shop on our own.

At the end of month, we were glad we tried it! We now have those recipes to use again and it gave us the motivation to meal plan and get a little more creative in the kitchen!