Serious couponing and menu planning have always sort of been at odds with one another. Couponers tend to stock up on what is on sale and then make their meals from their “stash”. Menu planners plan out their sustenance in advance and then buy only what they need at the grocery store. Both methods claim to save money, but they really never worked hand in hand.
But, it seems all that has changed. A couple weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a link to eMealz. A few days later I heard about Food on the Table. These two meal planning services are similar in that the both offer weekly meal plans based on specific store sales. So, you choose your favorite grocery store, and then the meals you choose from feature as many items that are on sale as possible. Once you choose your meals, a shopping list is generated that you can print along with the recipes for the meals you choose. As best I can tell, neither service incorporates coupons into their grocery lists, so you’ll still have to figure out what coupons to use on your own. (Deal Seeking Mom’s coupon database should make that fairly easy.)
Here are the differences between the two services that I was able to figure out without actually buying a subscription to either one:
- E-mealz is more diverse, with 28 different meal plans to choose from (they have more stores to pick from). I am really interested in their Whole Foods menu plan. Food on the Table customizes itself based on preferences you set in regard to types of foods you like and/or diet restrictions you have like gluten free or low carb.
- Food on the Table is free if you want to plan for 3 or fewer meals per week. Otherwise, both sites have a subscription plan “as low as $5 per month”. The actual price on E-mealz varies between meal plan, and Food on the Table’s $5 per month price is an “introductory offer”, so I’m not sure how long it lasts.
- Food on the Table has a phone app. This allows you to do your meal planning from your phone and you don’t have to print anything.
So, based on these differences, I’m trying out the free version of Food on the Table. I really don’t usually make more than three dinners per week anyway, and I love the phone app feature. If you want to try out Food on the Table, click on the image below to set up your account (you’ll need to do that before you get the phone app).