Faithful readers will recall that my husband and I tested, and now continue to enjoy, the popular meal kit delivery service Home Chef.
Since first writing about it, many of you have shared creative, innovative and clever strategies you are using to enjoy this service and cut your overall food costs.
Enjoy these great reader ideas.
Dear Mary: Cooking for one is not an easy task. I’m not an experienced cook, which makes it even more challenging. I end up going to the grocery and leaving with half a dinner and $50 in snacks. Or if I do plan ahead and try to buy ingredients for a specific recipe, I end up with extra ingredients that expire before I use them. Eating in restaurants gets tiresome and very expensive.
With Home Chef, I choose three two-serving meals per week ($60 with free shipping). I’m single, but still, when I prepare one meal, I cook both servings at the same time for convenience. Then I reheat the second serving the following night. HC meals are so good it doesn’t even seem like leftovers.
I can stretch some of the meals (for instance, pasta dishes) out for a light lunch, too, because the portions are large. I usually freeze the meat for the final meal and then prepare for days five and six. One night a week (usually on the weekend), I’ll eat out with friends or family.
What used to be multiple weekly grocery store trips plus ordering delivery or takeout has now changed into a $60-a-week Home Chef plan — way less than I used to spend on food. I do make an occasional grocery store or Costco run every few weeks for some snacks, fruit, light lunches and paper goods. — Asher
Dear Mary: I am so pleased that I decided to try out Home Chef (thanks for the coupon, by the way). I hadn’t planned to continue after that initial delivery, but I enjoyed it so much I’ve discovered a way that even on my fixed income, I can make this work.
I order three two-serving meals plus the two-serving fruit option one week, and then I use the skip-a-week option for the following two weeks.
That total cost is $70 with free shipping, or about $23 per week for three weeks. I freeze some of the meat and follow the instructions for where and how to store the other ingredients.
I divide the ingredients for each meal, so I prepare just one serving at a time. Each two-serving meal makes four meals for me because I’m a light eater and the portions are large. That’s how I get 12 meals plus fresh fruit almost daily from that one Home Chef delivery box!
Cooking has become enjoyable for me again, and the food is so delicious. I call HC my spark of joy. — Millie
Dear Mary: We’re a family of four with two young boys. Home Chef is not something we would have thought we could afford, but when Mary asked us to be an EC test family, we agreed, happily. Now that the test period is over, we’ve figured out how we can continue without destroying our food budget. In fact, we are spending a bit less on food each week than we did before we had HC.
Each week we order three two-serving meals (about $60 with free shipping) — three dinner meals. The portions are large enough that we share them four ways, with the adults getting larger shares.
The boys, ages 9 and 4, mostly enjoy the meals and are trying new things all the time. To stretch our HC meals, we supplement their plates with things they like, such as carrot sticks, cheese, applesauce or mandarin oranges. No one leaves the table hungry, and we are eating fresh, healthy food that is really delicious. HC is such a huge help for our busy lives. — Wendy
For more detailed information about Home Chef, go to www.everydaycheap skate.com/homechef, where you will find a $30 discount coupon that will be applied to your first order. Hope to hear how it’s working for you!
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, “Ask Mary a Question.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.