How to Eat at Home Like a Food Connoisseur

Cooking at home is, by all accounts, less expensive than eating out. I like to cook. I’m not a gourmet chef, but I get by.

But cooking dinner every night is just not something I seem to be able to do.

I’m incredibly Type A when it comes to grocery shopping. I choose recipes I want to make for the week, put all the ingredients together — which includes adding amounts together and changing things from teaspoons to tablespoons to cups, etc. — and then dividing my categories so I can get in and out of the store. It’s a big undertaking and even with my planning I still end up throwing away ingredients I didn’t get around to using before they spoiled. So I like the idea of cook-at-home food services, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it on a financial level.

This podcast from Listen Money Matters delves into how to eat at home like a foodie without breaking the bank. Host Matt tried out three popular cook-at-home services: Plated, Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. The services are pretty similar, in that each sends pre-measured ingredients and a recipe with photos accompanying each step. At most, each recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare.

Personally, I’ve tried Blue Apron in the past. I thought the meals were good and it was great for me because I wasn’t buying too much. That being said, I don’t think I make enough money to justify using the service regularly. Cost-wise, Plated is $10 a month to join and is $12 a meal. Blue Apron is $10 a month plus $9.99 per meal. Hello Fresh is $10.75 a meal. Basically, they aren’t cheap, but if you’re eating out or bringing in take out for every meal it is definitely a more cost effective alternative. Plus you get that "I’m a chef" feeling!

Bonus info: The podcast notes that you can generally find promo/discount codes for these services. Google the name of the service and discount and they will usually pop up. So it’s probably worth a try.