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My Subscription Addiction
My Subscription Addiction
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Why HelloFresh is Worth it During Periods of High Inflation

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Not going to lie—the economy has me spooked. Between job losses, sky-high inflation, interest rate hikes, and dwindling 401K balances, it seems like the sky is falling... probably because in some ways it is. And while I won't run out and purchase a pre-owned designer handbag, a new pair of shoes or some trendy wool hat, I still need to eat and I'm trying to cut corners (and costs) anywhere I can.

My mom always used to say you should never go to the grocery store hungry and whether I drop in to pick up a few items at 8am or 8pm, if I'm starving, I will undoubtedly spend unnecessary money on things like Combos, Cool Ranch Doritos, and organic fruits and veggies for myself and my bunny rabbit. And to make matters worse, whenever I stop by Target or Walmart for essentials like toilet paper or deodorant, I somehow get tricked into buying sale items and the $10 I anticipated spending suddenly turns into $80.

So, I guess you could say I have a little bit of a shopping problem. The thing is, I love shiny new things—who doesn't—but it's almost impossible for me to stick to my shopping list and a budget, and that's just one of the reasons why I think committing to a weekly meal subscription kit like HelloFresh is worth it during this period of high inflation.

About HelloFresh

Take control of your budget with HelloFresh, which is one of the most popular meal kit delivery services and subscriptions that really does help you save time and money. Not sure what to cook during the hibernation months of January and February and don't feel like venturing out into the cold? They've got you covered! Whether you're feeding a family of 2 or 6, you'll get high-quality, pre-portioned and fresh ingredients, along with easy-to-follow recipes that you can choose week by week. It’s no wonder HelloFresh is consistently one of our readers’ favorite meal kits, coming it at #1 on our annual list of Best Meal Kit Delivery Subscriptions.

HelloFresh sources high-quality and totally fresh ingredients like produce (fruits & veggies), organic items, and meat, seafood and poultry from sustainable suppliers and delivers them right to your door. They offer vegetarian, pescatarian, and reduced-calorie menu plans, and you can customize your order, so if you're oddly picky like me (I don't eat pork, beef or fish) simply use the HelloCustom option to swap out sides or proteins.

When you sign up, choose your plan preference—Meats & Veggies, Veggies, Family Friendly, Fit & Wholesome (around 700 calories per serving), Quick & Easy, and Pescatarian—the number of people you'll be serving (2-4), and the number of recipes you'd like to receive per week. Then, confirm your plan and scroll through the meal choices—each week you'll get to choose from over 30 different recipes.

Cutting Corners, Costs & Expenses

Ok, so you may be wondering how I can justify spending money on meal subscription kits right now, and I have answers. As mentioned above, I love to shop and once I'm in a store, I will fill up my cart like I won a game show shopping spree—except I'm not on TV and I actually have to pay the bill. But let's backtrack even more... whether you take public transportation or drive to the store, that costs money. And if your favorite grocery store happens to be a 15-minute drive from your home (I'm looking at you, Wegman's) not only am I spending money on gas, but I have to pay a total of $4.75 on tolls, and then anywhere between $0 - $5 to park my car in the garage.

Additionally, even if I create a shopping list or have a recipe on hand to check off while I'm at the store, I purchase more than I need and this time I'm referring to extra ingredients that can be wasteful. If a recipe calls for a tablespoon of paprika, I have to buy an entire jar. If I need a splash of balsamic vinaigrette, I have to buy the entire bottle. And if it calls for one egg, I have to buy at least half a dozen and it all adds up.

Oh, and let's not forget about my memberships to DoorDash and Grubhub which seemed like good ideas at first when they were sending me all these crazy discounts, but now they're just additional expenses I simply cannot justify. Sure, Grubhub essentially gives back the $10 once a month when you order pickup, but I end up grabbing a quick drink at the bar while I wait for the food to be made! So, there goes the $10.

HelloFresh Just Makes Cents

Not only are groceries expensive, but there are so many additional expenses too! But with HelloFresh, all you have to do is order online, and then sit back and wait for the meals to arrive. Starting at just $60.95 per week for 2 people and 2 recipes (that's 4 a week at $12.49 per meal), pricing is based on how many recipes you select and how many people will require food. So, if you're a family of 4 and you choose to receive 4 recipes per week, that's $9.29 per meal, and if you bump it up to 6 meals per week, you're only spending $8.99 per meal.

Oh, but I forgot to mention that HelloFresh always seems to have a great deal, and right now you get 10 free meals, free shipping and three surprise gifts which brings the cost of a 2-person plan with 3 recipes per week down to $4.69 per meal. As someone doesn't have children to feed, it makes the most sense for me to commit to a 2-person plan with 3 meals per week because it gives me a few options and lots of leftovers!

Now look, if you follow strict diets like Paleo or Keto, you're vegan, gluten-free or allergen-free, HelloFresh does offer some options, but if you're all or nothing with these diets, you may have better luck with a meal delivery service that caters to these dietary needs.

Verdict

No matter what we do, everything is pricey these days and we're all looking for ways to save money. And while I understand a meal delivery kit may not make sense for everyone, I am able to justify it for myself because I know how reckless I can be when it comes to spending money. I'm kind of like Isla Fisher's character in "Confessions of a Shopaholic."

But since I have commitment issues—my exes are nodding their heads in agreement—I've been known to sign up for HelloFresh for a few months, then pause or cancel my membership, and start up again. And I've got a confession to make... sometimes if I cancel and restart my subscription, I may change my email address and a few other things just so I can take advantage of some of their awesome intro pricing offers all over again. Shh... let's let this be our little secret.

Starting at $56.95
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HelloFresh is a popular meal kit delivery service and subscription that takes the guesswork out of planning and prepping home-cooked meals. Feed your family or just yourself with quality pre-portioned and fresh ingredients, and easy-to-follow recipes that you can choose week by week. No grocery s... read more.

Mary Zubritsky
Mary Zubritsky

If shopping were an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medalist. And while my bank account often feels the crunch, I just can’t stop buying secondhand clothing and accessories, under-the-radar designer goods, stuffed animal unicorns (I have about 75), and toys for my pet bunny rabbit. After 20 years of city slicking in NYC and DC, I now have a car and love to tour the Virginia countryside looking for vintage shops, undiscovered wineries and breweries, historic sites, and Thai restaurants—I’m addicted to Thai food. I never leave home without a spare phone charger because I love horror movies and therefore have an irrational fear of being stranded somewhere with a dead battery.


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14 comments

Wendy

Love Hello Fresh, it’s like a built-in cooking class with every meal so it is so much more valuable than just delivery or meal planning. It is a stepping stone in building confidence in cooking a variety of amazing dishes that might seem intimidating just by looking at a recipe and having to search for all ingredients and prepare the portions from scratch. We like to get Hello Fresh off and on depending on our needs.

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Laura

Well, I finally ordered a box. And, they lost it! 😞 They offered a refund, after it was already a day late and I had asked where it was. then I had to beg to get the first box discounts on the next box, since I never received the first box. I feel like they should have offered this plus and extra something for the inconvenience. My mom has Covid and my dad is on hospice. I was really depending on this to help feed them! Otherwise, I would have just canceled. I am really disappointed with HelloFresh and I’m not optimistic about the next box. How long are the boxes in transit?

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Mary Zubritsky

Hi Laura, I am soooo sorry to hear about your dilemma (and especially about your parents). I’m not sure, but I really hope they make it up to you in a very special way. That’s terrible.

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Laura

Thanks, Mary.

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Pilar

It’s not worth it if anything you get is spoiled! Which is 3/5 times I had gotten it.

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Mary Zubritsky

OMG no! Not at all!

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Cam Gordon

I agree with you Mary, from one young professional to another. I value my time a lot more in 2023 than ever before and meal subscription services not only give me time back, but also give me quick energy top ups when I need them most. I have a passion for cooking, but still prefer to keep a few meals on order 👍. Having them keeps me from shamefully ordering takeout from my favourite guilty pleasure restaurants which then spirals me further from my health goals. Ahhh. What a cycle. Meal Subscription businesses will continue to generate more sales in 2023 and contribute to health and efficient time management for busy families and professionals

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Mary Zubritsky

It all adds up and everything is expensive. I actually took a trip to Giant to get lettuce for the bunny and bought Chips Ahoy ice cream and Apple Jacks. As if I really needed either of those items, but I was hungry.

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Gloria

Whenever I used to find myself ordering take out several times per week I switched to meal kit services. However, a lot of supermarkets have several options of “ready to cook in the oven” meals where the price point is similar and a bonus there are not many dishes to do. I dont see myself using meal kits this year.

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Mary Zubritsky

Trader Joe’s definitely has some good deals, especially with their prepared foods, and Wegman’s has some good ones too. I feel like this meal subscription kit situation is now like my obsession with Columbia House and BMG Music when I was little. I’d order my 12 CDs for a penny, my parents would be stuck paying the bill, and then I’d change my name and number and order the next round all over again! Guess they weren’t smart enough to realize it was all going to the same place.

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Lynn

I’m confused. You stated that at the lowest price point it works out to $8.99 a meal. Is that the total for 4 people, or is that per person/per serving? Because if I’m spending $36 for four people per meal then I can surely make it cheaper than Hello Fresh and your wording is misleading. Also, don’t you still need to purchase breakfast and lunch items, not to mention fresh fruits and veggies, milk, butter, etc? Spices can be bought for pennies from the bulk bin. Balsamic vinegar can be used to add flavor to soup, or to make a vinaigrette so it doesn’t go to waste. If I really don’t want to be distracted by impulse purchases then I’ve found curbside works well, as I only buy what I need and it’s brought to my car and the upcharge is minimal. I feel like you’re trying to fix a problem that isn’t actually there.

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Melissa

It looks like it’s $8.99 per person per meal. Definitely not a bargain. Yes, of course you still have to purchase your other meals and fresh fruits and vegetables. This isn’t a comprehensive 3 meals a day program. This is a sponsored post, so they are getting paid to write and promote this article. That’s why she’s trying so hard “to fix a problem that isn’t actually there.”

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Julie

Yeah trying to pass this off as cost saving is quite misleading. If you’re trying to save on groceries this is definitely not the way to go. It’s got the convenience factor but 9 dollars a person a meal (with no leftovers plus prep and cooking time) is not a great deal.

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Mary Zubritsky

Math was never my best subject! Maybe I can look at it like rentals… I still need to buy the essentials. I can’t rent my entire life (or maybe I can?). Also, I’m new to cooking so there are many, many secrets I don’t know yet!

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