Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Get Healthy Ingredients for Meals Delivered Right to Your Door . . . For Cheap

It's been a while since I've done a post.  I've been busy but I've also been trying out different services for this post since November, so I have been working on this, just in the background :)

I'm sure a lot of you have seen things on meal kit delivery services, they've been becoming quite popular.  You might recognize companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh.  If you haven't heard about these companies, basically they provide you with a fully planned meal (except drinks) with all the ingredients you need to make it, delivered right to your doorstep.  What's even better than just having everything planned and purchased for you, is that they are usually tailored for the amount of people you'll be serving so you don't have to make a meal sized for 8 people and end up with leftovers for weeks and they also usually provide you with the exact amount of an ingredient needed so you also don't end up with random bits of extra items that usually go to waste.

It's really awesome.  And they're usually very tasty, healthy, and not too difficult to make.  But it's expensive.  Of course, because it does so much for you -- planning and grocery shopping are eliminated, which is worth a lot.  Prices average around $50 - $70 a week for 3 meals for 2 people.  I can certainly make meals myself for a lot cheaper than $20, I try to keep it under $10 a meal (for both my husband and myself together).

The good news is, they offer great discounts on your first delivery or through referrals (like mine below!) and you can also earn money for referring others.  You just have to make sure you cancel on time before your next delivery so you don't get charged the full amount!  This can definitely make it worth it because it is really a fun experience, you get to keep the recipes you really like to make it again in the future (though you have to buy the ingredients), and I learned a lot about cooking in general.  Many also offer a lot of different options for different dietary restrictions, especially vegetarian.

So here's my breakdown on the companies I tried.  If I try more in the future, I'll be sure to add it on to this list.

Chef'd logo
The Good: They have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options.  I only chose 2 items from their "Quick and Easy" section and they have been simple but tasty.  There's a variety of serving sizes and meal options to choose from.

Ingredients for each meal are separated into bags.

The Bad: Prices are a little high, that's why I chose some of the cheapest meal items.

The Price: Meals range from $12-$79 depending on serving size, breakfasts start at $10, and desserts start at $15.  Shipping is free if it's over $40, otherwise shipping is $10.

The Deal: Get $10 off with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: You don't have to sign up for a plan, you can just buy when you want.  If you do sign up for the weekly plan, you need to cancel at 11:59PM PST Wednesday before your delivery week.

Green Chef logo
The Good: The veggies are often pre-cut, makes prep time so much faster!  Good customer service.  Many different diet options.

The Bad: Very healthy, almost too healthy for me (you know where you notice that you're eating healthy because it's not the best tasting things).  I did have a problem with freshness on a bag of arugula, though they did refund a little :)

The Price: $10.49 per meal for a 2 person plan, $11.99 per meal for a family plan.  $9 for shipping.

The Deal: 4 free meals with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: 7 days before your next scheduled delivery

Hello Fresh logo
The Good: This may be my favorite.  They're very fresh (duh!), fun and unique flavors, and not too difficult.  Plus they give old customers a lot of 50% off coupons to restart again so I've actually received several boxes from them.  I don't think there's a single recipe I haven't liked.

All the ingredients (except meat) are separated by meal into individual cardboard boxes to make it easy to store and to grab everything you need for each meal.

The Bad: I don't really have anything bad to say about this one.

The Price: $9.99 a meal for 2 or 4 adults, $8.74 a meal for 2 adults and 2 kids.  Free shipping.

The Deal: You get $40 off your first box with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: 11:59PM PST 5 days before your next scheduled delivery

Munchery logo
The Good: The chicken was already diced!  I love it when prep time is cut down.  Ingredients are separated by meal into boxes.

Order as many or as few meals as you want for as many or as few people as you want.  It's not a set number of meals for a certain number of people.  You can also add sides, salads, and desserts!  There's lots to choose from.

The Bad: You can't remake the recipe later because it doesn't have amounts listed :(  I also had trouble cancelling and had to contact customer support.

The Price: Dinners range from $8-$18 per serving for adult meals; $4-$6 for kids meals; sides, salads, and desserts $4-$8.  There is a delivery fee, though I'm not sure how much since I got this through a Groupon and can't find out through their FAQ.  There's also a membership option that's more like the other companies, though you have to be in a specific area and I didn't qualify so look that up if your interested.

The Deal: Get $20 off with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: 6 days before your next scheduled delivery

Sun Basket logo
The Good: Another yummy one.  They also separated ingredients by meal into bags.

The Bad: Monday delivery only.  Also, they wouldn't cancel right away, they kept sending me follow up emails and/or calls to make sure I wanted to cancel.  That was kind of annoying.  They did give me a $20 credit for my next order though, so worth it?

The Price: $11.49 per serving for 2 or 4 people, $9.99 per serving for 4 people + $5.99 shipping after first order

The Deal: 3 free meals with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: Thursday at 12:00PM PST

Terra's Kitchen logo
The Good: Very easy!  Spices were already chopped and prepped and I think that's the most time consuming thing.

There are a lot of meal options.  You can also add salad, meat, and sides.

The Bad: You have to return the box (they schedule a pickup for you but if you're in an apartment complex, like me, and delivery people don't always go into your building for that, you'll have to bring it to your local FedEx).  I guess it's better for the environment though :)

The Price: Meals range from $9.99 to $17.99, minimum order of $62.99 and $64.99 for free shipping

The Deal: Get $35 off with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: I couldn't get an exact answer on when you have to cancel by.  On their website it just says it has to be before something is in "process" to not be charged.

Freshly logoI put this one at the bottom because it is a little different than the rest.  These are not meals you make, they are pre-cooked and packaged, you just need to microwave and eat!

The Good: No prep or cook time!  A lot of meal choices, though they don't change each week, they only add new ones every so often.  So if you go back to order more, there aren't as many options.  But hopefully they'll keep growing and adding more!  This is a great option for single people because you don't have to have 2 of each meal.

The Bad: Nothing really bad to report :)

The Price: From $8.99 per serving to $12.50 per serving, depending on how many meals per week to you get.  Free shipping.

The Deal: Get your first 6 dinners for $39 with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: Again I couldn't find out exactly when you need to cancel by.  It's always safe to say a week before your next delivery.

I also tried Blue Apron, Gobble, Marley Spoon, and Plated but they didn't offer referral programs.

Is there a service you tried that I should check out?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Make Money Driving for Uber and Lyft

I'm sure most people by now have heard of ridesharing, a popular new way to get around.  If you haven't, read this.  As many of you know, about a year ago I tried out driving for Uber and really ended up liking it!  (Read about my experience on my first day driving here).  I did it in my spare time for a few months but then I got really busy with my actual work.  Fast forward to September 2016, when my husband was getting ready for work and got a call from his work saying not to come into work that day, they were shutting down and he could pick up his paycheck that afternoon.  No warning.

Needless to say we were in shock for a while and didn't know what to think.  We were leaving the following week to go to Texas to pick up and drive back to California my grandparents' old Prius that they weren't going to use anymore.  That gave us time to think about what he should do.  It dawned on me, now we would have two cars, he could drive for Uber or Lyft while he tried to get another job.  Problem solved!  I didn't think my husband would consider switching altogether to just driving for his job because . . . well . . . he hates driving!  But we quickly saw how the benefits of doing this outweigh any of the negatives.  So here you have it, the positives and negatives of driving for a rideshare company.

Benefits of Being a Driver

  • Flexibility.  Create your own hours.  Want to go on a vacation?  Take some time off!  Need more money, go out driving for a few more hours.  You are in total control of when you work.
  • No boss to deal with.  Sure you still work for a company and they can have some strange rules or frustrate you with something, but there isn't someone constantly there above you.
  • Perks.  Companies are now offering perks like discounts for gas, car maintenance and insurance but also fun things like movie tickets!
  • Meet new people.  You can meet some interesting people and have some great conversations!
  • Explore new areas.  You really get to know the area around you and found out new places that you might want to visit yourself!
  • Bonus.  When you first sign up, they offer a bonus which can be anywhere from $300 to $2,000!  (Make sure you find out what the requirements are.  See details below).  They also offer other bonuses throughout the year.  You can also get money for referring people.

Downsides of Being a Driver

  • Paying for gas.  Rideshare companies don't reimburse you for gas.  So you should probably have a fuel efficient car if you are considering doing this.
  • Wear and tear on your car.  You will be putting a lot of miles on your car which depreciates value and means more upkeep and maintenance.
  • You'll owe taxes.  You will be an independent contractor which means your taxes aren't automatically taken out of your paychecks and you will owe money to the government come tax time.
  • Your body can hurt.  Just sitting around driving for hours on end several days a week can give you some aches and pains.

What You Need to Drive

  • Be 21 with a valid driver's license and at least 1 year driving experience (3 years experience for under 23 with Uber)
  • A 4 door car (generally 10 years old or newer but that varies by city and state).  If you don't have a car, they both have programs to buy and car through them.
  • Proof of registration.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Pass a driving record check and background check
  • Smartphone with good data plan (I recommend MetroPCS)
Chances are you already have everything!

What Do You Make?

Uber and Lyft take 25% of the fare.  You keep the rest.  That simple.  My husband has been driving around 20 hours a week and averaging between $20 - $35/hr.  You can figure out based on those estimates about how much time you'd want to put in for how much money.  Keep in mind that the amount will vary depending on where you are and when you're driving.  It can be a lot less than that or a lot more.  I say why not try it out and at least get the sign up bonus and that will be worth the trial time at least.

Misconceptions About Driving

The biggest misconception is that it is unsafe.  While I won't argue that it is 100% safe and nothing could happen to you, it is a lot safer than people think.  Yes you are letting strangers into your car, but they aren't just any old person.
  1. They have to own a smartphone and a credit or debit card.  Obviously since these companies run off an app, you have to own a smartphone to use it. That means you won't be picking up homeless people.
  2. Riders get rated too.  If you've used a rideshare as a rider before, you know you rate your driver and those ratings affect whether or not they can keep driving.  Most people don't realize that the riders are rated by the drivers too.  While it isn't as strict, a person can be banned from using the app if they are rated low enough by enough drivers.  That means the crazies are weeded out.
  3. Phone numbers are kept anonymous.  Riders and drivers both get routed through another number so you can't contact that person later.

Bonus for Couples

I mentioned a sign up bonus and a referral bonus.  Well if you both sign up, and the second person signs up with the first person's referral, you'll double down on the bonuses.  For example, I signed up for Uber a year ago.  My sign up bonus was $300.  When my husband signed up in October, he used my referral link and got $700 for his sign up bonus and I got $700 for referring him.  Together that's a $1,700 bonus!  Each bonus is different at different times of the year and for each company so chose when to sign up wisely!

So what are you waiting for?  Sign up today!

If you sign up through these links, you'll be provided a bonus from mine or my husband's referral links.  The bonuses change throughout the year (remember I've seen them vary from $300 to $2,000) so keep that in mind when signing up.  If the bonus seems low, you might want to wait a bit.  There are specific requirements for getting the bonus, so make sure you read everything and understand what you have to do to get it!

 Drive for Uber

 Drive for Lyft