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Okay, that may very well be the longest title I've ever written on this blog. New milestone! Woo hoo! The Oatmeal, while not very old, has become an insanely popular site,Semicolons: the only grammar related poster I've ever been tempted to buy

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Another year has gone by, and more fathering lessons have been learned. Hopefully my kids have learned a bit, too. For my part, I've learned - perhaps more than in otherHappy Fathers Day

The ergonomics guys at work are gonna love me for posting this (if they ever hear about it). Dumb Little Man posted an article about fixing your posture to improve yourPosture - it's not just for prep schools

In the 7 day challenge, today's topic is: Answer one question I think people visiting my blog may have. Let's be honest: I have no idea what question you guys/gals mayHow geeky are you, really? - 7 day challenge

Joe Mack owns HostPC, the company that hosts this site. He just started a new venture, called Yareo, that will become the parent company for HostPC and other internet serviceCongratulations, Joe

I just recently found out that two of my brothers-in-law didn't know anything about the new Clone Wars movie or the TV series it's setting up. This post is forStar Wars: Clone Wars videos (and an Obi-Wan debate settled)

In any Highlander movie, it's expected: heads will roll. In this case, though, it should have been heads of the film's creators. Why would you go and make a movie, probablyReview: Highlander: The Source

Quicktime trailerI post this in remembrance of a hapless rabbit in a very early Simpsons episode. (Mike, you'll know exactly the scene I'm talking about when you reach the endTrailer: Hancock

When this movie came out I saw it in the theater and was blown away. I still remember the feeling of exhilaration I had during the launch sequence, and theReview: Apollo 13

The time is shortly upon us. The wait is nearly over. Let the glorious holiday IMAX season BEGIN!!! Wait... let me get my oxygen... Okay. I feel better now. Got a little giddy thereHoliday trailers - Tron: Legacy, Narnia 3, and HP:TDH

The Seeker: The Dark is Rising - In Theatres October 5, 2007 It's a dicey proposition to see one of your favorite books translated into film. Many of Tolkien's fans wereThe Seeker: The Dark is Rising

Well... "reviews" might be pushing the definition of the word. It's more like a couple of self-proclaimed geeks talking about the movie, which, as it turns out, is kinda fun. IfOld movies, new reviews

It's time for my annual(ish) list of movies I want to catch this year. Strap in and let the trailers wash over you like pure adrenalin. (Not that I know whatMovieWatch 2013

Is a meal preparation service a good deal?

Easy Meal Prep Association and Meal Assembly Directory

I’m looking for ways to live cheaper. I got a tip in the comments of another blog to check out a Meal Preparatory business. The link above is a directory of these kinds of businesses.

In case you aren’t familiar with the concept, the way it works is that you sign up for a session, choose the meals you want to make from that month’s menu, then go an prepare the meals in their store. They provide all the food, preparation utensils, storage containers, instructions, and a workspace. That saves you from having to go to the grocery store (as often) and spend a lot of time figuring out how much to buy of what, and getting the proportions right.

The idea is that you are taking advantage of the bulk savings the service is getting, as well as saving yourself some time. It looks like you can get through a session in about 2 hours, and come out with at least 40 servings (which in my house would be about 12-15 dinners, depending on how hungry I am). Try to create the same 15 dinners on your own and once you figure in shopping and preparation time you’re easily hitting 6 hours of time, conservatively.

I found a couple of these services in my area and looked at their websites. They both came out at about $200 for 42 servings, give or take, which is a little under $5 per serving. On Dream Dinners, though, you save some serious bucks the more servings you buy. For 96 servings, for example, my choices came to $340 (or $3.54/serving) – which is about a $120 savings.

Now, 96 servings will pretty much set me up with dinners for an entire month, as well as a number of leftover lunches, I would think. On the surface, this strikes me as a good deal. After all, I’m spending somewhere around $400-500 a month for groceries lately, so $340 is appealing. I did a pretty good sales job for this idea on my wife as well. I think I’ve got her willing to do it.

But something continued to nag at me about it. I think I finally figured out what it is.

Where the heck am I going to store 30 days worth of meals!?! Seriously… I’d have to buy a freezer just for that purpose! Aside from the initial cost of the freezer, that’s gotta add to the electric bill, too. That’s crazy. Even 15 days of meals is probably more than my current freezer could handle (after all, I still gotta have room for the ice cream, right?). Plus, what you get here is the entrees, not the drinks, salads, desserts, etc., so you still have to pick them up at the grocery store, and that’s gonna eat into what you’re saving (pun not intended). Besides, a good chunk of my grocery cost these days is tied up in baby food and formula, and this service doesn’t make a dent there.

Even so, I still think there is a place for these services, and I’d be willing to bet that with some flexibility on order quantity I could most likely come out ahead and not have to purchase another major appliance. But it’s probably not something we could use at this point. Maybe in a few years.

[tags]meal preparation, Dream Dinners, cooking, frugal, personal finance, living cheaply, eating in, groceries[/tags]

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3 comments to Is a meal preparation service a good deal?

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