One of my biggest budget categories is food. One of my biggest household challenges is what to feed my family every day. I am not a creature of habit, am a decent cook and can find my way around both a kitchen and a grocery store.
Relish! So, for Christmas 2009, I requested a Relish! subscription. Relish! was my first foray into menu planning online and I was quite impressed. Each Thursday, I get an e-mail reminding me to log-in and plan a menu for the coming weeks. It is highly customizable, allowing me to choose from a wide range of options including (but not limited to!) Low-Carb, crock pot, freezer meals, gluten-free, budget- and kid-friendly options for dinner, dessert, lunch and breakfast! It does not match to sales at grocery store chains but ... (for more pros and cons on Relish!, visit LisaSharp.com).
E-mealz: E-Mealz promises to bring back the family dinner for only $5 a month. Their system is much more regimented and inflexible but does link to several major national store chains including Aldi and Wal-Mart and align with sales at those chains (none near me) to keep the cost to approximately $75 per week depending on the option you choose. You can select certain dietary preferences: G-free, Portion Controlled (formerly Points), Low-Carb, and Vegetarian. There is no control over whether it’s a crockpot meal, freezer meal, etc. It is a point to and click the link, download and print the menu, shop, cook and eat system. I have not been horribly disappointed with variety of menus ... (visit LisaSharp.com for the rest of her e-mealz review!)
Summary Lisa's reviews are detailed - the good, the bad, and the downright ugly! She lays it all out there. You must visit her site if you are considering a meal planning program! I never knew some of these programs link up to grocery chain store sales and product coupons!
Would you consider subscribing to this kind of service?