Paycheck Chronicles

Free Lifetime Meal Planning Service


I have come across an interesting and amazing deal today, and I hope that it is a benefit to some of you.  A new menu planning service called Food on the Table is offering a free lifetime subscription to their cool service (code:  SPRING FREE).  I think we can sympathize with the founder, Manuel Rosso, when he explains why he began this program:

I used to work in the technology industry in Austin, TX and considered my job moderately stressful, but coming home to a frazzled wife and four hungry kids every night was even more stressful than work! Between school, soccer practice and other after school activities, planning and making dinner was the last thing to be done. Getting my family of six to agree on a suitable meal was almost impossible and definitely not rewarding. Planning meals, spending the time to research recipes and purchase the food was time consuming and very expensive. Searching for coupons and grocery store sale circulars was way too much work and often not worth the time spent. I thought there simply had to be a better way.

After talking to several friends, I realized my family wasn't the only one with this issue. I decided to combine my background in technology and compassion for families to create Food on the Table. This concept was born out of a need to get organized with menu planning, to create easy prep meals that everyone enjoyed and to save time and money at the grocery store.

Yup - been there, done that, and have found meal plans to be the answer.  There are many programs available to help figure out "what's for dinner."  This one is a little different because it uses your local grocery stores sale advertisements and your food preferences to generate a list of recipes from which you can choose what you would like to put on the menu. The food preference options include various dietary restrictions and also preferences for meat, poultry, seafood, meatless, etc.   Once you've finalized your menu, it makes a grocery list for those meals, and then allows you to add your other shopping items.  It even includes a free App so you can take your list to the store on your phone!

I love the idea of basing your meals around sale items.  This menu planner is a good start and with further development could turn into something really awesome!

I am unable to give it a full review because we live overseas, but I do see a few things that make me wonder.   The recipes call for more than just on ingredient, and there is no way to account for the cost of all those extras.  The program tells you how much you have "saved," but that only includes the cost of the ingredients that are on sale.  That's not very helpful to me if I have to spend more to get the right other items in my house.  I didn't see as many vegetarian options as I would like, but perhaps I just missed them.

The service doesn't include military commissaries at this time.

I'm not sure what "free lifetime membership" means, because it seems that the service is free at this time.  However, I'm willing to sign up and give it a try.

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