When you’re too busy to get everything done, something’s gotta change.
Unfortunately, that something is often the quality of the food we feed our families. But there is another way…
You’ve probably thought about outsourcing your lawn mowing, house cleaning or snow shoveling, but have you ever thought about outsourcing your meal planning?
What is eMeals?
eMeals (formerly e-Mealz) offers busy families the opportunity to outsource meal planning.
Each week, eMeals sends you a dinner plan that’s perfectly suited for your family, along with a grocery shopping list detailing all the foods you’ll need to pick up to make the meals. You can even tell eMeals where you grocery shop, and the company will try to match your meals with sale items at your store. It’s super simple.
The price is nice, as well. eMeals dinner subscriptions cost:
- $7 per month for 3 months
- $6 per month for 6 months
- $5 per month for 12 months
eMeals was created in 2003 by two sisters, Jane and Jenny, who got frustrated about all the time they were spending planning meals. Today, eMeals has 40 different weekly meal plans to choose from, including specialty plans for gluten-free, organic and vegetarian families.
Our eMeals Testimonial
PerkStreet’s own Social Media manager, Jennifer Spencer, has been testing out eMeals with her family, and she loves it.
“Like lots of parents who work outside the home, weekends are when I get the most time to spend with my family, and also to run errands and do chores,” she says. “I love cooking, but I don’t want to sacrifice time with my family to plan a healthy menu or spend hours prepping meals for the week– exactly the same reason I love the breakfast sandwich recipe I wrote about last week!
“I always felt like menu planning was something I should do myself, since it seems easy enough and I enjoy doing it. But sometimes you just need to offload things that aren’t a priority so you can focus on the things that are. It’s also a lot harder to be swayed by last minute purchases when everything on my grocery list has a purpose. eMeals has been a really great fit for my family.”
How Does eMeals Work?
Select a Plan
There are currently 40 meal plans to choose from in eMeals. The best thing about the meal plans is being able to select the grocery store you shop at so you know they’ll have everything you want — plus eMeals tries to match sales with your meals.
If your family has specific dietary needs or is trying to be healthier, planning meals can be even more tedious. eMeals takes the work out of this as well by offering meal plans that fit an array of special needs.
Print Your Grocery List and Meal Plan
After you’ve picked your meal plan, eMeals starts sending you a weekly grocery list and set of recipes. You can do what Jennifer does and substitute specific meals into your weekly plan, or follow it exactly. If you want to use eMeals Jennifer’s way, the company makes it easy. Each ingredient in your shopping list is labeled with a corresponding meal number. If you only want to make meals 1, 3 and 5 in a given week, you just pick up the items for those meals. If you are in a hurry, and haven’t received your new shopping list for the week yet, eMeals also lets you access past grocery lists and recipes going back a few weeks. According to Jennifer, the lists and meals come out regularly, however, so if you usually shop on the same day each week, this should work well for you.
Prep Your Meals and Move Forward
If you can shop from a list and follow a recipe, eMeals will be straightforward. But there are some thing that make it more efficient and useful. Jennifer’s favorite thing about the way eMeals plans meals for you is this: eMeals encourages you to buy bulk items to save money, and the recipes tell you how much you’ll need and how much you’ll have leftover. This way, you’re not stuck buying single cans of chicken broth when a quart is only a few cents more. eMeals also tells you which “staples” you’ll need for your meals — things like butter, olive oil and soy sauce. This way, you’re not buying a new jug of olive oil every time you get your list.
Why Does Dave Ramsey Like eMeals?
We believe our friend Dave Ramsey likes eMeals because he believes planning your meals rather than making impulse buys in the grocery store is a great way to save money, pay off debt and build wealth. Eating out can occupy a massive chunk of your budget if you’re not careful. So eMeals encourages responsible eating that doesn’t shirk on health. Plus, eMeals tells you almost exactly what you’re going to spend on meals for the week. Their recipes are delicious but you won’t have to break the bank to fix them. You’ll be looking at a typical weekly grocery bill of roughly $150 if you have a family of 3-6 people. Planning meals and preparing them at home is part of a balanced budget.
Like pretty much everything — even PerkStreet — eMeals is not for everyone. Some folks enjoy the process of planning meals too much for eMeals to be a great time saver. (They’d be missing out on something they find fulfilling.) Others are used to planning meals around coupons, and they may end up spending more by using eMeals. It’s not perfect. But it sure is a nice way to free up some time without having to sacrifice the quality of your home cooked meals. We think it’s worth trying out.
Have you tried eMeals? What do you think of this service? Are you considering it but not sure whether to sign up or not? Let us know in the comments below!