I have a love-hate relationship with HelloFresh. Yep. I’ve said it. I love the convenience of it, and I love that my husband loves it, but it is pricey.
HelloFresh markets themselves as being affordable because you can avoid going to the grocery store. That might be true for those without kids, but for my house, we need a constant stream of fruits, vegetables and other snacks to survive staying at home.
But I’ve decided to give HelloFresh another chance. Not because it’s suddenly affordable but because my husband showed interest in preparing dinner if he had HelloFresh.
“You would really cook three nights a week if I got HelloFresh again?” I asked him last month after we saw a commercial and he expressed interest.
“Of course. It’s like a science project or building Legos but for food. Everything is laid out in the directions.”
I’ve never ordered something so quickly in my life. With a baby due in 12 weeks and a ton of freelance work to get through, I need some help, even if that help costs me $69 a week.
I try to keep our grocery budget to $100-$125 a week (including toiletries and diapers/pull-ups), so if you do the math, I don’t have a lot of money left over after I order HelloFresh. Here’s how I’m making it work, and my tips for making HelloFresh affordable.
1. Plan Cheap Meals on Off Days
For the meals that aren’t HelloFresh, we will be eating budget meals. Think eggs and bacon for Wednesday dinner (our church night so we do breakfast for dinner to be quick), soup, pasta, homemade pizza or chicken fried rice on other days of the week. Most of these meals can be prepared for less than a few dollars per serving and are staples in the pantry.
2. Order Meals that Stretch
What I like about HelloFresh is that you get to select your three meals each week from seven to eight options. Choosing a pasta-based dinner or chicken-based meal will most likely get you more food than a steak meal. Because pasta and chicken are more affordable than steak, HelloFresh is more likely to give you a more significant portion, making leftovers more likely to happen.
3. Add Your Own Extras to Stretch a Meal
You can stretch your HelloFresh meals further by serving an additional side of vegetables with it. I order the classic plan for $69, which gives us three meals for two people. I will either try to stretch the meal to feed my two girls (ages three and five) or feed the girls something else (they are big fans of whole wheat spaghetti and minestrone soup). They are light eaters, but you might need to upgrade to the family plan for your family, which includes two meals for four for $79.
4. Use a HelloFresh Promo Code and Other Deals
Already use the first-time code? Periodically, HelloFresh will offer a $20 credit to users that have canceled their membership.
Check your credit card offers for HelloFresh credit too. Right now, my American Express is offering 1,500 bonus points for a HelloFresh order of $50 or more.
5. Refer Friends
I received several $20 credits for referring friends and family to the program. Their referral system is quite beneficial for everyone to try, so you don’t have to feel like a salesperson when you pitch it to your family. Just offer them your $40 off code, which will make three meals for two people $29 ($19 for vegetarians) or give them a voucher for a free meal (which usually comes in your box).
Most of my friends and family members wanted to try HelloFresh anyways, so it was nice that I could give them $40 off since most paid affiliates only offer $30 off. My husband’s grandma is 85 and loves HelloFresh. It gives her new recipes, and now she doesn’t have to go to the store.
6. Stop Eating Out
Since we started using HelloFresh, we have eaten out once for the entire month. This has resulted in a $100-150 per month savings. It turns out that if I am not responsible for every meal, every day of the week, I don’t burn out. This means I don’t resort to the drive-thru lane to get a break. I guess when you add up the savings from eating out, the plan can make sense financially.
The Bottom Line
I am a frugal person, so I can’t sit here and pretend like $69 for three people for two meals is cheap. I believe you can probably make most of the meals for $5-10 less. However, at this stage in my life, it has been a game changer. I use Walmart’s grocery pick up every other week to stock up on snacks, breakfast and lunch items for the family (such as frozen fruit for smoothies and snacks, oatmeal, frozen chicken breasts, frozen vegetables, salad mix, and apples, bananas, and oranges).
HelloFresh has freed up a lot of time for me in the kitchen and just mentally. Why is meal planning, shopping, and prepping so mentally draining? It is such a blessing to have my husband cook three nights a week while I finish up articles or catch up on cleaning.
Will this work for you and your family? You can always try! It doesn’t have to be your spouse who fixes the meal either. Your older kids can take charge, or you can rearrange your babysitter’s hours and ask them to prepare one or all of the meal boxes while you are out.