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31 Jan 2018

Erin’s Hello, Then Goodbye, Then Hello Fresh Experience

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by Erin Lowell

A nudge to look a little closer
at how priorities affect our budget.

When it comes to food, I have three priorities:

  1. Cook from home.
  2. Keep the grocery budget in check (about $250 for just little old me).
  3. Try new recipes.

And I’m pretty good at the first two—budgeting is literally my job, and I don’t mind preparing meals at home. As for the third priority, well, I have good intentions. I’ve bookmarked dozens of recipes that I’d love to try!

… problem is, I never get around to actually trying them. Old habits are hard to break.

Then I Met Hello Fresh

Over the holidays, my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. They love the Hello Fresh service—like love-love. Good for them, but meal delivery services have never appealed to me, before. I just couldn’t justify the cost.

Hello Fresh is $60 for three meals that each feed two people (six meals, total). At $10 a meal, I knew I could do better using free recipes that I find online and buying groceries locally.

But my sister-in-law, Anna, was adamant that it was worth the extra expense. She and my brother live in Brooklyn, where takeout or delivery costs them more than Hello Fresh (and restaurant food isn’t nearly as healthy or tasty).

Also, she said, she loved being forced to try new foods—and that’s when she had my attention!

I Decided to Try a Free Week

I accepted Anna’s offer for a free week of Hello Fresh, using her referral link. There was no commitment to join, and the lure of variety had my attention.

When my Hello Fresh delivery arrived, I found the servings to be quite generous. So, instead of getting two servings from each of the three meals, I got three. That’s a total of nine meals so, at $60 for future shipments, my expense would be $6.67 per meal. And the food was really good. Best of all, I was finally trying new recipes!

Still, professional budgeter that I am, I just couldn’t justify the cost. My true priorities were whispering in my ear. I regretted the realization that, yep, I needed to cancel.

Goodbye, Hello Fresh

So, there I was, logged into my Hello Fresh account with my mouse quivering over the ‘Cancel’ button. Click! I pulled the trigger. But then, savvy marketers that they are, Hello Fresh surprised me.

When I clicked ‘Cancel’ they didn’t just wish me a fond farewell (or fondue, or whatever). No, they offered me more choices—a lighter option, if you will. Instead of a delivery every single week, I could have Hello Fresh deliver every two weeks or even every four weeks!

H-E-L-L-O Fresh!

Now we’re talking! Flexibility and options are two things that every YNABer loves. My frown turned upside-down and my “no” slunk off to hide. I said “yes” to the Fresh!

I selected the once-every-four-weeks option. Even though a Hello Fresh delivery is more expensive than what I can make myself, it helps me satisfy my priority to try new recipes. And, best of all, it’s a cost that I can feel good budgeting for at the reduced frequency.

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)

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