How Meal Delivery Services Can Actually Save You Money

Today’s post comes from Melissa on a topic I love to talk about – cooking delicious meals! Melissa Davidson is a writer and social media marketer with a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Montana. She’s a former newspaper reporter who now spends her time and energy writing about health, wellness and social issues. When she’s not hovering over a keyboard, Melissa and her canine companion, Romeo, can be found riding and running throughout the Rocky Mountain West.

Without further ado, here’s her guest post:

How Meal Delivery Services Can Actually Save You Money


A big sigh of relief washes over me as I pull into my driveway after a 10-hour work day to see a big box waiting on the front porch.

Who doesn’t like receiving packages? What’s in that box is the best part: food. Specifically, three meals with quality ingredients, ready for me to easily assemble dinner.

Meal kit delivery services seem to be all the rage right now and for good reasons. Here are my top 5 advantages in choosing a freshly-prepared meal-in-a-box service just for you – or the entire family:

Reduced Grocery Bill

I pay $69 for 3 dinners that feeds 2 people. That’s $11.50 per meal per person. That may sound pricey, but I can’t seem to spend less than that on, say, a steak, a starch and a fresh veggie at the grocery store.

I get my food box delivered twice a month, and spend a total of $138 on 6 dinners. I rarely make a simple trip to the grocery store and buy groceries for cheaper. In 2015, the average U.S. household spent an average of $144 per week on groceries.

With some meal delivery plans, the price drops per meal if you buy more than three dinners a week and feed more than two people.

To me, the convenience of having a box of food (complete with recipes) dropped off on the doorstep, paired with the fact that I don’t have to meal plan or leave the house to shop is worth every penny spent. I even save a few bucks on gas because I’m not driving to and from the grocery store.

Perfect Quantity of Food

When you first open a box of food you wonder how such a little box could possibly feed two people. But it works, every time. All ingredients are pre-measured to perfection. At first glance, you think it’s not going to be enough food. Panic and skepticism set it. However, it’s plenty.

How can this one lemon, shallot, chicken breast, herbs, couscous, and zucchini be enough? This brings me to the realization that I tend to “over shop” for ingredients at the store and that perhaps my eyes are bigger than my stomach.  

For those health-conscious, calorie-counter types, knowing exactly what is going into your body is important. I know I tend to overeat unless things are measured out. If you’re one of those people tracking your dietary intake and weight using personalized healthcare technology, portion control is everything.

Satisfying & Delicious

The ingredients that come in the box tend to be higher quality than those found in average grocery stores and it shows in the finished product. You know you’re in for a treat when your home cooked meal looks and tastes just as good (if not better!) than something you’d find at a gourmet restaurant or swanky country club. The difference in making it yourself versus on an assembly line is truly remarkable and worth the little bit of extra effort.

Simple, yet creative, recipes with a good combination of fresh and flavorful ingredients make all the difference. The fact that you prepared it yourself is the cherry on top.

Time Savings

I don’t know about you, but I hate going to the grocery store. It’s last on my list of chores and I pretty much do anything to avoid it. I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, though. So, slogging through the aisles while pushing a cart and loading it with supplies is pretty much a must, except during the weeks the deliveries arrive. Americans spend an average of 40 minutes per shopping trip at the grocery store, and that’s not counting travel time to and from home.

The elation that comes from seeing the big food box on the porch means one less trip to the store for a few days and less hassle overall.

It’s Fun

Food should be fun. Every meal can’t be perfectly planned and executed, but having a recipe card with fresh and measured ingredients certainly takes the pressure off. It’s nice to try things you wouldn’t normally think to make for yourself or loved ones. Cooking together with your family also contributes to the general health and happiness of your family members. Studies have shown that cooking at home helps kids eat better and can even help improve their grades in school.

If opening the box to see what you’re going to make for dinner over the next three days brings a bit of happiness and peace of mind, it’s totally worth it. You may even feel a little fancy.

15 comments… add one
  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Nov 23, 2016, 10:27 am

    I do agree that these services can be cheaper than eating out. For the cooking-challenged it’s a great opportunity to practice gourmet meal prep. Ideally, though, people who want to save big bucks could just prep these dishes at home.

    • Melissa Davidson Nov 28, 2016, 8:39 am

      I totally agree! I’m just too lazy or uninspired (well, not exactly) to come up with meal plans and then shop for them. 😀

  • Full Time Finance Nov 23, 2016, 11:06 am

    For a while we tried to use these as an alternative to eating out. However we found we tend to eat out more for convenience then for differing food (my wife is a good cook). As such we ended up doing both. We cancelled our plan as a result. I think it comes down to why do you eat out whether this saves money.

    • Melissa Davidson Nov 28, 2016, 8:42 am

      I definitely understand where you and your wife are coming from. I’ve had to cut down on eating out to make up the difference for choosing a meal delivery service instead. Cheers,

  • Matt Spillar Nov 25, 2016, 2:36 pm

    This is a good writeup of some of the advantages of meal services, I agree with a lot of the points made. My wife and I have tried Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. We enjoyed both, the food was delicious and getting to learn to cook new recipes was a lot of fun. I definitely get how attractive the convenience aspect is. My biggest hangup though is the cost. $10-12 per meal is too high in my opinion for the average person. It’s a better alternative to eating out, and could be a fun hobby/date night type activity, but for nightly dinner it’s too much for my budget. I love making big batches of a meal and then eating leftovers for a few nights, reducing my cost per dinner to only a few bucks. So overall, these meal services aren’t the most frugal way to cook good dinners, but they can certainly be a good option for some people.

    • Melissa Davidson Nov 28, 2016, 11:29 am

      I completely agree with you! You could buy similar ingredients for much cheaper. It’s those other conveniences you can’t out a price tag on, at least for me.

  • AustralianDividendInvestor Nov 25, 2016, 4:26 pm

    I love meal delivery services! Mine is slightly more expensive but the food is a) great and b) extremely diverse. I’m finally enjoying cooking again.

    I also find that even though its reasonably expensive on a per meal basis, I always have dinner planned. This stops the expenditure on last minute takeaways! Heather + cheaper = winner.

    • Melissa Davidson Nov 28, 2016, 8:43 am

      Yes! You see exactly what I mean! Thanks for your comments.

  • Your First Million Nov 26, 2016, 11:18 am

    I think these meal delivery services are going to continue to get more and more popular. It really makes things a lot more efficient especially for people who are working full time or more. The last thing I want to do when I get home from a 12 hour shift is cook a full dinner from scratch. I think this is a solution that as you outlined, saves money, time and energy. I see the industry just getting started and still has a lot of growth ahead… good business to be in right now.

    • Melissa Davidson Nov 28, 2016, 11:33 am

      Excellent points! Maybe as the competition increases, the price per meal will decrease, as well. I look forward to seeing all the ways meal delivery and other types of deliverables will expand and grow.

  • Mustard Seed Money Nov 26, 2016, 11:33 am

    Thanks for the awesome guest post. I have definitely thought about using a meal delivery service in the past and will definitely need to consider. It has to be healthier than some of the meals I’ve been eating 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Melissa Davidson Nov 28, 2016, 8:47 am

      Thanks for your comments! Give it a try, for sure. I tend to eat healthier overall as a result of my delivered meals because it shows me I don’t need to make and eat more than what’s in the box. Nothing goes to waste, either.

  • Heather Nov 29, 2016, 6:57 pm

    I see an ad for Blue Apron next to this article. Are they a sponsor of this blog? If so, that would be important to point out. Thanks.

    • Distilled Dollar Nov 29, 2016, 7:41 pm

      No, Blue Apron isn’t a sponsor! I wish I had sponsors 🙁

      That picture/ad is just an affiliate link I set up. I wrote a post a while back on the value I got out of Blue Apron so it is basically something I have used that I loved. Here’s a link in case you wanted to check it out. 🙂

  • Amanda Drew Jan 11, 2018, 2:34 pm

    That’s really cool that the ingredients in meal prep boxes tend to be better than those found in most grocery stores. It’s always easier to make good food when you start out with delicious, high-qualities ingredients. My husband and I are really busy, and we don’t usually have time to go to the store and buy food. We eat a lot of cereal, but we want to change that. We’ll have to find a meal prep delivery service near us to start using.

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