Are Meal Kits Cheaper Than Buying Groceries?

Are you thinking about ways to reduce your food budget? Do you find that eating out leaves you with too little money at the end of the week?

The best way to save some money on food is to cook the food yourself. But to do that, you have to buy all the groceries you’ll need, and you just might not have the time for that. That’s where meal kit services come in. They provide you with everything for your daily recipe.

But are meal kits more cost-efficient than buying the groceries yourself?

In this article, we’re going to examine this question and potential answers. We’ll provide you with tips on how to save even more money whether you’re using kits or buying everything yourself. In the end, you should have all the information you need to help you reduce your food budget.

And if you want to skip this check our full review of cheapest meal kits on the market, here!

Steaming food tray with lid
image of woman eating fish and rice

Meal Kits vs. Groceries

Each of these two ways of getting food has its own advantages and disadvantages.

When you’re buying your own groceries, you’re the one that decides which are good enough for your meal. You’re in complete control over the quality and you’ll also save money. However, this can take time and sometimes you’ll have to shop at different places to get everything you need.

On the other hand, when using a kit service, you’ll get to use that time for other things. You’ll still get everything you need, but you’ll pay more.

When are Meal Kits Worth It?

Kits are meant primarily for those that don’t have the time to go grocery shopping. If you have a busy schedule during the workweek, but would still like to enjoy homecooked meals, they might be the best way to achieve that.

You’ll also be able to tweak the recipes to your likings, which you can’t do with takeout or delivery. They’ll take about 30 minutes to prepare, though. And there’re affordable meal kit options for students too.

So, if you have more free time and would like to eat personalized meals but don’t mind spending a bit more, you might find these kits to be the best solution.

Other Money-Saving Meal Tips

Buy Ingredients on Sale

When you really want to save money on groceries, you could buy whatever you need when there’s a sale. However, you should be careful not to buy things you don’t want to or like just because it’s discounted.

You’ll also find plenty of coupons if you know where to look. These will help you get even better deals as long as you pay attention to the fine print and expiration dates.

Cook Meals with The Same Ingredients

When you’re buying discounted groceries, you might want to buy more to build up your supplies. That will lead to you having a stash of ingredients that you’re free to use for whichever recipe you like. You’re free to change the condiments, entrees, or meat types, all while still using the same groceries.

Cook What You Know

When you’re trying out new recipes, you might not always be successful. That can lead to waste, which can prove to be expensive in the long run. That’s why should you want to save money, you should stick to recipes that you know and can prepare without thinking.

image of pumpkin soup

Plan Meals Ahead

Another great way to save money on food is to plan your weekly meal in advance. That way, you’ll know exactly what you have in your freezer, what you need to buy, and how long each item will last. You’ll know what to do with leftovers, and you’ll be able to spread your food out in advance.

Use Coupons

As we’ve mentioned earlier, coupons are a great way to buy groceries at a discount. You can find them at various places, but they have an expiration date that you have to keep in mind. They might also not cover everything you need.

Also, it can be easy to buy something you don’t need simply because you have a coupon. You should pay attention to that.

Choose Healthy Food

While organic food can cost more, should you decide to adopt a healthier lifestyle and buy healthier food, you’ll still save money in the long run. You’ll be eating food that is more satisfying and that can leave you feeling full longer, which will make your servings smaller in time, and before you know it, your food budget decreased.

Buy Frozen, Canned, or Dried Foods

While these types of groceries aren’t as tasty as their fresh counterparts, they are still just as nutritious. And, because they cost less, you’ll be saving money.

You should pay attention to additives or preservatives, though, as some of them can cause problems in the long run.

Buy In-Season Produce

When buying seasonal produce, you’ll usually get a better price. That’s the time the supply is higher, which then reduces the cost. Produce that is out of season needs to either be flown in from afar, or canned, frozen, or dried before it reaches you. That will usually make it more expensive.

image of Groceries

Avoid Food Waste

You can do that by being better at managing your leftovers. You’re not likely to eat everything in a single sitting and you should store the extra either in your fridge or your freezer. When planning for the next day, you’ll probably want to prioritize the food you already made and eat it before it goes bad.

Cook in Bulk

This is another great way to save money. You will use more ingredients upfront, but you’ll have meals ready for the next several days. You could even pack something in Tupperware and take it with you to work, which can help you save money you’d otherwise spend on lunch.

Make a Survival Garden

This might seem like a daunting task, but it is the best way to save money in the long run. To start, you could plant a few herbs. After a while, you’re free to expand your garden to include other vegetables. In no time, you will have a steady supply of fresh and seasonal produce. With practice, you can store or freeze them when they’re fresh and have plenty of veggies year-round.

Steaming food tray with lid

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dangers of shopping while hungry?

If you go shopping while hungry, everything will seem delicious and you could easily find yourself loaded with things that you don’t need, but that seemed appetizing while you were passing by the aisle. Kits can help in this regard – you don’t need to go shopping as much when you have all the ingredients delivered.

What's the cheapest meal delivery?

That depends on what your preferences are. The ideal choice will change with your diet; if you’re on a Keto or Paleo lifestyle, that limits the number of services that you can use. Similarly, if you’re a diabetic or a vegetarian, you might need to do extra research. Our guide to budget-friendly meal delivery services might be of help.

Are meal kits cheaper than eating out in a restaurant?

Generally, YES. That’s one of their main advantages. While you can find cheaper options, especially when considering fast food, kits are still a cheaper and healthier solution. You might need to count on the half an hour preparation time and plan your meals with that in mind, and you won’t have any leftovers.

Conclusion

If your schedule is too busy and you just don’t have the time to go grocery shopping, you could still enjoy all the benefits of home-cooked meals, including the price savings, when you use meal kits.

While you will be paying more than if you bought everything yourself, they more than pay off that difference in their convenience. You’ll get carefully selected ingredients, most of which can be found in any store, and you should get exactly as much as you need to prepare your food.

Of course, you still need to cook, and you need to be prepared for that. Most of these meals should be done in less than 30 minutes, but some can take longer, especially if they’re more elaborate.

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