I’ve been planning this blog for a while now. I was a bit worried about how it might be received by some of the more hardcore frugal amongst you! Every day I talk about saving money and how you can cut down on your spending,BUT I try to be realistic about the time we all have available to get a tasty, healthy dinner on the table. One that everyone will actually eat!
There are times that we order a take away, or grab a slightly sad looking ready meal from the supermarket, because we are either up against it that day, or just don’t have the energy to think about something more substantial. Before my inbox is full of emails wondering why I am advocating recipe boxes as a money saving option – I’m not. They are more expensive than cooking something yourself from scratch – in most cases. However, I’ve selected 3 recipe box (it wasn’t easy – recipe boxes are expensive!) companies that ARE cheaper than a takeaway or ready meal. So, If you have a couple of nights a week which are just crazy – after school clubs, swimming, working late…..this will give you another option.
So what are recipe boxes?
Recipe boxes are a relatively new way of eating, but one that seems to have taken the country by storm. It is the modern alternative to a ready meal, only you cook it yourself – so no guilt. The idea, is that you go to the website and select the number of dinners you require and the number of people eating them.
You can then select meals from a huge range of options, including different dietary requirements like gluten free, vegan and calorie controlled. All of the meals are healthy, balanced options and most of them can be made in under 30 minutes. All of them are exciting meal options and something a little bit different. Once you’ve done that, you choose a delivery day and they will send you all of the ingredients, for all of the meals in a refrigerated box. What if you’re not at home when they deliver it? You can add instructions to your delivery such as “leave in the shed” – the refrigerated boxes are good for up to 24 hours.
What about recipe kits?
Recipe kits are a little bit different. They don’t provide you with all of the ingredients, just the essentials to make a simple, healthy, home cooked meal. Perfect for those who want a day off from meal planning, people who are not so confident in the kitchen or who have limited time. The recipe kits work out a lot cheaper than the boxes – but you will need to pop to the supermarket for some extras.
What’s good about them?
- All of the kits and boxes I’ve chosen, have healthy, balanced meals.
- Perfect for dietary requirements such as gluten free or slimming world – you can easily find meals that the whole family can eat.
- They’re a cheaper and healthier alternative to ready meals or takeaways.
- When I tried out one of the recipe kits, I got the kids involved in choosing the meals – if you can get them excited about choosing dinner, you can get them excited about eating it!
- Yes, I can make a meal from scratch cheaper than this – BUT these are not your usual mid week dinners. It gives you an opportunity to try (and let the kids try) flavours and ingredients they might not have very often – without the expensive outlay and waste.
- I cook food for a living, so my husband rarely gets the opportunity to cook in the kitchen. He can cook a couple of things well, but needs a plan! Some nights I really don’t want to cook. Recipe kits and boxes mean that Paul can cook dinner quickly and easily some nights – even when he gets home from work later than me.
When I started writing this blog, it became apparent quite quickly, that recipe boxes are not cheap. So I’ve found 3 that offer really good value to families on a budget, have incredible reviews and do not have any tie ins – so you can give it a try as a one off (or take advantage of the introductory offers!)
Simply Cook is one of the better known recipe kit companies. They offer kits that feed up to 4 people, supplying herbs, spice, stock and oil blends to make their recipes. You will need to buy the rest of the ingredients from the list that they send you, but the lists aren’t long and the recipes are straightforward. Simply Cook state that their meals are 1/3 cheaper than the ingredients to prepare a similar meal from a cookbook…
Meal options include: They have 4 different boxes (containing the blends for 4 meals) Discovery, Gluten Free, Vegetarian and Light Box (under 600 calories). You can choose meals from the categories including, Thai Red Prawn Curry, Mexican Pulled Chicken, Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Katsu.
Price: The price of a 4 meal box is £9.99. If you’ve not ordered from them before, you can get a 4 meal trial pack (each meal feeds two people) for £2.50! To get your trial box, just go to Simply Cook and this link will automatically add the discount. Then you can choose your meals! To qualify for the discount you will be agreeing to sign up for their subscription. However, there are no tie ins and it’s easy to cancel anytime at a click of a button!
Delivery: Free delivery on all kits and they all fit through standard letter boxes – so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll be home.
If you want to give them a try, just go to Simply Cook to get your £2.50 box.
Gousto is the full recipe box experience. They will send you all of the ingredients you need to make your chosen meals along with the recipes.
Meal options include: Speedy Minted Lamb & Feta Bulgar, Miso Sesame & Chicken Noodles, Mild Chicken & Lentil Dhansak with Pilau Rice or Sticky Hoisin Pork, Cucumber Pickle & Wedges. Their selection is incredible and gets updated regularly.
Price: You can get boxes for 2 or 4 people. 4 dinners, each feeding 4 people comes to £47.75….not particularly cheap, BUT they’ve given me a brilliant offer to pass on (see below) which gives you 35% off your first, second and third order! So that’s only £31.04, giving you £16.71 off and costing under £2 a portion. Pretty amazing!
Delivery: Delivery is free and all food comes in a refrigerated box. You just book a delivery day and all of your food will arrive. You can add directions such as “put in the garage or shed” so unlike online supermarket shopping, you don’t have to worry whether or not you’re home. The food box is refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
If you want to give them a try just go to Gousto and add the code VBOX35 at the checkout to get 35% off your first order (overwrite the existing discount code if there is one)
Here’s what some of their meal options look like…
Spicentice sell rubs and spice kits. They have a huge selection of meals…American, Mexican, Moroccan, Spanish… They do a great range of value bundles, so you can buy the essentials for several days worth of dinners. You get a spice kit and a simple recipe for each meal, along with a list of the extra ingredients you’ll need. Why shop with them, rather than getting sauces or rubs from the supermarket? All of their kits have no colouring, preservatives and are gluten free and they do veggie, fakeaway and slimming world bundles.
Meal options include: Massaman Curry, Southern Style Chicken, Paella Fiesta, Gourmet Chips & Wedges, Thai Style Gai Yang Satay, Gourmet burger rub, and Peri Peri Chicken.
Price: Spice kits start from £1.59 per meal, feeding 4 people. The best value is found in the bundles they do. The Introduction Pack includes spices and rubs to make 5 family dinners and costs £10. Spiceentice sent me a few of their kits to have a look at – and for £2 a kit, they really are a bargain. They’ve given me a 20% discount to pass on to my readers, which makes it even cheaper (see below)
Delivery: There is free delivery for orders over £15 or a small charge for orders under £15. For example a £10 bundle has a £2.50 delivery charge, so you’d be better off spending a little more, in order to qualify.
If you want to give them a try, just go to Spicentice and add the code SAVVY20 at the checkout, to get your 20% discount.
I was not paid by any of the companies to include their products. As with all of my blog posts, they may contain affiliate links. This ensures that I can keep all of my recipes, tips and articles completely free!
I would love to know if you try one of these!