Weekend Giveaway: 3-month subscription to E-Mealz Menu-Planning Service to 10 winners

Back in May, a reader asked me for my opinion on E-Mealz, a seven-day dinner plan for four to six people based upon your local store sales. I didn’t have much of an opinion to give because I’d never tried the service myself.

Well, after that post went up, I had the opportunity to try out two of the dinners plans for myself to see what I thought of E-Mealz. Let’s start with what I didn’t like about E-Mealz first:

Cons of E-Mealz:

::They don’t cover a number of big store chains. If you don’t have Aldi, Walmart, Ralph’s, Publix or the Kroger region they write their menu-plan for, you won’t be able to benefit from the store-specific menu plan. However, they do offer a few other plans which are

::They only plan your dinners. You’re on your own to figure out breakfasts and lunches — and the price of those is not included in their $75 per week budget.

::The meals aren’t all that healthful. Most of the menu plans use more boxed, canned and processed foods than our family normally consumes.

::You don’t have the flexibility to plan your menus based upon your stockpile. While it’s helpful they are planning the meals around store sales, they can’t predict that you were able to buy a lot of sour cream, carrots and spinach marked down at your store last week. In the long run, planning your menus based upon what you have on hand in addition to what’s on sale at the store, shopping at more than one store, shop the marked-down section of stores and stocking up when items are at rock-bottom prices will definitely reap you greater savings than following a pre-planned menu ever will.

However, there were many things I liked about E-Mealz and definitely feel like they’d be a perfect fit for certain people — especially those who find menu-planning very tedious and time-consuming. So, let me also share what I liked about E-Mealz:

Pros of E-Mealz:

::It’s simple and easy to follow. You just log in each week, print your menu and grocery list and you’re pretty well good to go.

::It’s inexpensive. For only $1.25 per week, someone else will plan all your dinners and write up your grocery list for you. That’s a pretty good return on your investment of money!

::It’s detailed. The plans are very thorough and detailed, including prices, nutrition facts and more.

::It can help streamline your life. If you currently feel like your life is a juggling act and if you add in menu-planning you’re going to start dropping balls everywhere, then paying for E-Mealz might be exactly the ticket to your sanity!

Would you like to win a free 3-month E-Mealz subscription of your choice to try it out yourself? Just click on the button below and type in your name and email address in the form to be entered to win. 10 winners will be randomly chosen and posted on Monday.

Enter the Giveaway

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Comments

  1. Jessica says

    Since my husband and I are newlyweds who will be starting graduate school in the fall, I decided to give e-mealz a try to simplify our lives a bit. When I first signed up for it, I thought, “Wow, I’m actually going to end up spending more on groceries now,” since overall I am very frugal. However, it has been helpful for me in saving me time and stress, and I’ve found ways to make it save me money, too. My approach is to combine e-mealz with my own money-saving tricks.

    First, I almost always buy larger-than-called-for sizes of items in the shopping list. (I check price per ounce and pick the cheapest one.) This also helps solve the problem of “what do I serve for breakfast/lunch?” When I buy larger sizes of things I know we’ll eat, I can make them do double duty throughout the day.

    Second, although I get the Wal-Mart plan, I shop around. Since I have Wal-Mart’s approximate prices right there in front of me, it’s easy to look at another store’s ads and see where I’ll get a better deal.

    Third, I make substitutions. If something on the shopping list costs more than I really want to spend (say, for example, baby carrots), or it’s similar to something I already have at home, I substitute for something comparable (like cutting up regular-sized carrots or serving a different vegetable entirely). I find my stockpile comes in handy here.

    Fourth, I don’t follow the plan exactly. Since I tend to stock up when I find good deals, I intentionally incorporate other meals in with the meals the planner provides. I make room for at least one “cheap” meal a week–whether it be rice and beans or chicken soup from the stock I made from the crock-pot chicken on the e-mealz plan.

    Fifth, I make use of leftovers. My husband and I are pretty light eaters, so we don’t eat nearly as much as the recipes make. I plan for a couple of leftovers meals a week.

    All in all, I can make the e-mealz plans last anywhere from 1.5 to 2 weeks (and the two-person plans only give you 5 meals a week!). After I’ve collected a few month’s worth of menus, I am planning to cancel the membership and recycle the menus.

  2. Aimee says

    Thought I’d add my two cents since I’ve subscribed to e-mealz. I started it when I was pregnant and overwhelmed after seeing it advertised on Dave Ramsey’s website. I loved the following:

    – Meal plans with cooking instructions are on one page which was super convenient to keep on the refrigerator to reference each night.
    – There were several recipes that I really loved and they’re all very simple (I have an addiction to the cheeseburger soup!).
    – Once I’d used it for awhile, I created a “library” of the menu plans which made it easier to pick and choose dinners we like.
    – I don’t really felt like we saved money but it definitely saved time.

    The things I didn’t love were:

    – There were several dinners every week that just weren’t appealing to our family.
    – I would agree with Crystal that they often use processed foods which I really try to stay away from.
    – The menus are only up for two weeks so creating a “library” of the plans I’d paid for was kind of a pain in that I didn’t always remember to save them.
    – This is obviously my personal opinion but I felt like some of the meals were just amazing and others were not really very good at all but I’m sure they are trying to have a variety that would appeal to a larger number of families.

    Overall, I think it is an awesome service if you’re looking for a way to save time. Now that we’re back into a routine, I prefer to plan our meals myself but it was fantastic when I just didn’t have time or energy to do meal planning.

  3. says

    I’m not sure if it’s just me, but when I try to enter the contest I get a ‘redirecting’ error. =( I really want to try this ’cause I am terrible at planning meals and could use the inspiration!!!

  4. Jodi says

    Same here – having been trying to enter for quite awhile and it will not complete. I am really interested in this service and would love to try it!

  5. says

    I was so excited when I saw this because my husband and I have been debating for the last week or so on whether to try this out or not. I love the idea of it…I’m horrible at meal planning on my own. It would be awesome to win this – I wouldn’t have to convince him anymore to try it!

    I too though am getting an error message. Actually, I’m not getting an error message – it just doesn’t submit. My little mouse has the “waiting circle” just going around and around and around. I’m a bit bummed.

    Crystal – is there any other way we can enter this giveaway? Thanks!

  6. Melissa Fox says

    I am also having trouble entering this giveaway. It just keeps loading and loading. I’ve even waited for severeal hrs. Still no luck.

  7. Michelle says

    I can not get my entry to enter either :o( but am so excited for the opportunity to win such an amazing prize – single mom to 5

  8. Melissa Fox says

    I am still having problems entering this giveaway. Now when I click on the box it automatically says “Thank you for entering” when I did not input any of my information.
    Any advice Crystal?

  9. says

    I was also trying to enter and the site said error, and then when i just clicked on the link it said “thanks for entering” but I am not sure that I have actually entered!

  10. Amy says

    *Think* the problem is solved. If you tried to enter earlier and it just spun and spun, or wasn’t redirecting… that page is now directing correctly. If you try to enter again and get the “thanks for entering” page, that means it got your information the first time, but was unable to send you to the correct page. Clear as mud?!

    Sorry for the confusion!

  11. Caroline says

    I was able to enter! I think winning is the only way I would use it. A friend recommended it to me a few months ago, saying she had already saved $150 on her grocery bill in one week. ONE WEEK??? I don’t spend that much in 3 weeks! I feel like the budget they give you is higher than what I would ever spend on groceries and I rely so much on what I’ve already stocked up on or have in the freezer. The only good thing would be having someone else plan the meals for me because I’m terrible about meal planning.