Why a Meal Delivery Service is Best For Your Grocery Budget

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It might seem counterintuitive, but paying for a meal delivery service can actually reduce your grocery budget. Not only will you get to skip the grocery line, you’ll probably find you don’t dine out or order in as much too!

This post is not sponsored by Goodfood, but I do get a meal credit if you sign up using my links in this post. However, you also get a $40 credit from Goodfood for signing up! Once you sign up for Goodfood, you’ll also be able to refer friends and family members for meal credits for yourself. 

Goodfood

Goodfood is the best meal delivery service I’ve tried

There are a number of different food delivery services available. I’ve tried a few of them and finally settled on Goodfood. I like Goodfood mainly because I find their portions are really generous. My biggest issues with other meal delivery services were small servings. Even when I ordered the 2-person plan with other providers, I almost never had enough to make two full meals. With Goodfood, I get 2 full meals even after sharing with my baby!

I also find Goodfood provides an excellent selection of meals from different cuisines. I receive a lot of Asian food recipes that, to be honest, I wouldn’t be brave enough to try otherwise. I also like that Goodfood automatically selects your meals for you, and you can then modify the selection if you want something different. You can also skip a delivery with just one click, so if you’re going on vacation or have other food plans, you can pause your subscription and start right back up when you return. 

Other meal delivery services you might want to check out depending on your budget and preferences:

How a meal delivery service cut my grocery budget in half

If you follow me on Twitter, you know my grocery spending one month was over $700 before I finally panicked to find a more affordable solution. Not only was the price ridiculously high and stressful, but I also found grocery shopping hectic and time-consuming. Switching to a meal delivery service not only saved my sanity, but it also cut my grocery bill in half! 

I now pay $80 per week, or $360/month, for 3 meals from Goodfood per week. I’m on the 2-person plan, so this has a per meal cost of $13.33. I choose the “Easy Prep Basket” where most ingredients are pre-cut to save time. Every recipe I receive takes less than 25 minutes to make. It costs $5/wk more than the “Classic Basket”, which would require a little bit more time and effort to prepare the recipes. This would reduce your per meal cost by a dollar to $12.33.

Goodfood

No, seriously, meal delivery really IS cheaper

I hesitated at the cost of signing up for Goodfood. A meal delivery service seems like a big luxury, and I hadn’t had good luck in the past. However, my grocery bill was monstrously expensive already, and I was exhausted trying to meal plan and grocery shop between my responsibilities of work and parenthood. I figured I’d give it a try simply to make life easier, even if it came at a premium.

To my surprise, a meal delivery service slashed my grocery budget in half! Even better, it also took a chunk out of my dining out budget. 

For $80 per week, I get 3 dinners for my baby and myself, and then leftovers for lunch the next day. This gives me 6 meals per week. I buy breakfast food from the grocery store. This is mainly yogurt, oats, fruit, eggs, and bread. Goodfood offers breakfast smoothies and oat bowls, but I find both easy to make myself so I haven’t tried them yet!

I found 3 meals per week as enough for me. On Fridays, I typically go out for lunch, and 1-2 times per week I’ll dine out for dinner or order-in from my favorite restaurant. Overall, food at home has become a treat at every meal instead of a stressful budget killer!

Goodfood means we’re eating really healthy good food!

It’s important to me to introduce my child to a variety of foods, as well as ensure she’s eating nutritiously at every meal. However, meal planning with this in mind is time-consuming and tedious. And few things have been as devastating as spending hours making a meal to have my 1-year-old not like it!

Goodfood meals are fresh veggies and proteins, as well as a variety of cuisines for me to easily try. Because every meal takes less than 25 minutes to make, I’m never disappointed if my baby doesn’t like it — I simply don’t select something similar the next time!

Meal delivery services cut down on food waste

One of the things I’ve always had trouble with is food waste. Throwing out food before I’ve had the chance to eat it because it’s gone bad is literally throwing out money. However, when I was trying to plan my own meals, I found I often bought more than I needed of some ingredients and then not enough of another. I was perpetually tossing produce or meat that had gone bad while needing to run to the grocery store frequently when I ran out of other foods. 

Goodfood

Surprisingly, my meal delivery service is minimal on packaging waste too. In fact, nothing from Goodfood needs to end up in the trash! Directly from their website, their recycling instructions are:

1. The cardboard box, insulation liner, bags, bottles, and baskets are made of recycled materials and are entirely recyclable – just drop them in your recycling bin

2. The solution in the ice packs is a water and salt gel designed to get colder than ice. Pop them in your freezer for future uses, or snip off the ends and pour the all-natural solution in the toilet. You’ll be left with the plastic wrapping which you can drop into your recycling bin.

Which brings me to my next point…

Easily choose meatless meals for the good of the planet

I am not a vegetarian, but I am an environmentalist and I know that eating meat is terrible for the planet. However, because I’ve always eaten meat, I don’t know any good vegetarian recipes even though I want to do my part to reduce my environmental impact in the food I consume. Goodfood has provided delicious and filling vegetarian meals!

Of the 3 meals I get delivered to my home each week, I always make 1 a vegetarian selection. This is as practical as it is green. Your Goodfood meals are designed to make it through the week until your next delivery, but meals containing seafood should be eaten within 3 days, and meat can be frozen if you don’t plan on cooking them before the “best before” date on the packaging. I opt to eat any meals containing meat first, and then I save my vegetarian meal until the last before my next order, because it keeps the best. 

I’m strongly considering upping my Goodfood subscription to 4 meals per week, and I would add another vegetarian selection!

Final thoughts

It’s not often that a perceived luxury purchase ends up being more affordable and convenient than the cheaper option, but for me, meal delivery proved to be exactly that.

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About Author

Student debt killer, super saver, and stock market addict. BSc. in Chemistry from the University of Alberta, MBA in Finance from the University of Calgary. CEO x 2 and MOM x 1. Currently residing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but hooked on travelling.

12 Comments

  1. So you went from spending $700/mo on ~90 meals ($7.77/meal) to $320 for 24 meals including leftovers ($13.33)…..

    How is $13.33 less than $7.77? Assuming the same $7.77/meal for the rest of your meals, that means you’re now spending $832.82/mo, $132.82 more than you were spending when the food bill was “too expensive”.

    Next time check your math before running crappy promoted posts…

    • Hi! You seem to understand my food budget even better than I do! Up until this very moment, I had no idea every meal I ate cost $7.77 because I was under the impression my breakfasts were really cheap since they’re mostly fresh fruit, yogurt, and oats. In fact, based on all my grocery receipts, it seems dinners & lunches were really the most expensive purchases of my grocery bill, which must be why a meal subscription service lowered my costs so significantly.

      Maybe you should check your math before writing crappy comments?

    • $13.33 is the price per meal for the food service, not the entire budget. Don’t worry, I know math is hard, it’s why I did a degree in it.

  2. How the hell do you spend so much on groceries??? It should cost no more than $200 for one person. The article should be titled “Meal plans are a great alternative when you have no idea how to shop for groceries”.

    • $200/mo per person isn’t reasonable for anyone who wants adequate nutrition.

      That said, my grocery bill also includes baby items (diapers & wipes) as well as personal care items (shampoo, soap, razors, toothpaste) and household cleaning supplies. These purchases are not an insignificant portion of the total bill.

      • From what I’ve seen, $200/person is doable in some areas. I remember hearing someone say that a bunch of celery is $1 wherever they live. In Vancouver, they’re $4 at the lowest. If you’re in Calgary, I’m guessing produce is also pretty expensive.

        I’m guessing all these people with such low grocery budgets are either living in areas with cheaper/more subsidized food, are super tiny and don’t need a lot of calories, or are satisfied with eating rice and beans on the regular.

    • Who says it should cost no more than $200/person for groceries? There are so many variables – caloric requirements (age, metabolism, physical jobs or training, etc.), food sensitives (IBS, diabetes, IBD, etc), location (proximity to local food production, conditions for gardening), time availability, etc, etc, etc.

      Honestly, your comment comes across as so judgmental. Why not celebrate the fact that she’s found a system that works for her to reduce her costs?

  3. It really comes down to individual lifestyles. As someone who has plenty of time to cook, meal plan, and shop (and gets a weird amount of joy out of grocery shopping), the idea of a meal kit delivery service is ludicrously expensive since the meals I make at home are significantly less that $10/serving. (Unless I’m feeling extra and want to make something with saffron.) I definitely hadn’t considered how comparable the cost could be for someone who was leaning on convenience food/takeout due to time restraints, especially if you were still wanting to include produce and protein in your diet (which is kind of important.)
    TLDR personal finance is personal and it’s cool you found something that works for you. Will stop being snobby and rolling my eyes at the Hello Fresh ads on my favourite podcasts 😛

  4. I always love stories about being branching our from what is “accepted” – especially within the personal finance world – to find that the alternative is better (especially when it actually saves money, despite what the initial assumptions might be).

    Food waste is a huge problem for a lot of people – my husband especially lol. If I didn’t make sure food was eaten up in the right order, to maintain it’s freshness, I bet our grocery bill would be double what it is! He either eats my food or eats out – it’s soooo difficult to get him to cook (at least he does the dishes, so there’s that). We’ve talked about food delivery in the past, but he also thinks it’s too “bougie”. Maybe we need to question our assumptions 😉

  5. I subscribe to Goodfood, also on the 3-meal/wk plan. It’s not necessary cheaper than if I were to go grocery shopping and prepare meals myself but having a meal delivery service does significantly cut down on the time I spend on meal preparation.

    I save about 4 hours/wk on grocery shopping and roughly 3 hours/wk on meal prep. Since I don’t drive and buy a lot of fresh veggies, I go grocery shopping multiple time a week. A meal delivery plan saves two trips out of three. Same goes for meal prep. I save about 30 min per meal and I cook about five to six times a week.

    This is not counting the time spent on meal planning. Ditto the added benefits of not having to worry about if I’m eating healthy or having enough variety in my diet. I’d imagine for people who have a regular office job and who don’t want to spend so much time on meal prep, the benefits (time, health and well-being) far outweigh the cost.

    To each his/her own. Diligently budget and review one’s groceries does yield more savings for me in the past. But if you want to be eating around 40% organic and at least 3 servings of fruits and veggies AND have the chance to try different recipes, a meal delivery plan is worth considering.

  6. I’ve done Hello Fresh and Freshly in the past. Freshly was my favorite, but the scheduling is the most difficult part. You need to know a week in advance if you’re going to be out of town or go on a camping trip. I once forgot I had a wedding in another state and my meal delivery sat on the front porch for 4 days. That was a diaster and huge waste of food.

    In terms of making my life easier with a meal delivery kit, it took far more planning than I typically do. So it wasn’t for me. I’m glad you like Good Food though!
    -Andrew

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