I Tried 10+ Different Food Delivery, Clothing Boxes and Online Subscriptions

Vi Nguyen
Vi Nguyen
Mar 5, 2019 · 11 min read

Scroll through to find some local Austin favorites (all promo codes are linked to the title name)!

So I have to start off by saying I joined up for the majority of these programs because I thought it’d be a good idea to get free food, clothes, workouts etc from these new companies. I figured I could just cancel after the first free month. Well, you guessed it. That’s how they get you! I inadvertently became a customer by trying out their free subscriptions!

1. Daily Harvest

I don’t remember why I decided to join but I remember joining initially and immediately cancelling because I realized that it came shipped frozen. I was turned off by the idea of fresh and quality ingredients being frozen. I thought that if I was paying extra money for produce, it should be fresh. It didn’t really make sense in that it is a lot easier to store and make smoothies if they’re frozen.

I then waited a couple of months and their targeted ads got me since I had already visited their site. One day I decided I would look up reviews about them. That’s when I was convinced and signed up a second time. I chose a variety of their shakes, overnight oats and chia cups. I was surprisingly impressed with the recipes and taste that I continue to order from them today!

I typically don’t like to buy junk food or desserts as I know I’ll eat it if it’s in my house. Daily Harvest is the only thing I can plan to have shipped each month as I know I start craving for ice cream at some point. I love it as it’s essentially guilt free as it’s a healthier version ice cream. I jokingly call it my vegetable ice cream. My all time favorite is still their Cacao Mint Smoothie. You can also get their lattes which come with 3 packs per cup.

2. Freshly

As a busy entrepreneur and someone that just doesn’t really put a lot of time into cooking, I wanted to find something that was fast but reasonably cheaper than going out to eat. I started off with Freshly because I liked having meals that were already cooked and ready to go. Think of it as the gloried TV dinners. I’ll have to say, I stuck with them for a good while before I wandered off to a different company. I actually would have stuck to this longer but I felt like I was getting tired of their meal variety.

How it works is that you get to choose meals from a limited selection each week. They change the menu occasionally but after awhile, I had eaten all the meals I wanted from that menu and wanted variety. The quality of the food is obviously much better than frozen dinners. It’s a lot fresher and yet still super easy to pop into the microwave for a quick meal.

3. HelloFresh

Then came HelloFresh. I had finally given in to the idea that I can spend time cooking my own food but I hated going to the grocery store to buy ingredients so this made sense. Everything comes pre-measured and ready to go for you to prepare your meal. It generally takes on average 30 mins to prep a meal. One of the things I’ve hated about all of these meal prep companies is that they cater to couples and families so I always had so much leftovers!

I probably would have stayed with them but I had missed the weekly cutoff to choose my meals so they just sent me random meals. I wished I had gotten an email to remind me to choose my meal or warn me that they’ll be sending whatever it is they’ll send me because I wasn’t too happy when I got a chicken bbq meal (I’m not fond of bbq. I know, as a Texan that’s blasphemy.) This was enough for me to discontinue buying from them.

To be honest, I probably would have gone back to them as their meals were almost affordable (in comparison to going out) and the quality was pretty nice. But then I found something better…

4. Lettuce Delivery

Beet pizza with caramelized onions, mushrooms and arugula.

My sister knew that I was testing out all these food delivery boxes and told me about a local company called Lettuce. Her friend started getting them and really liked them. The concept is that they source their produce and protein from local farms. Everything is reusable in that they send all packaging in reusable grocery bags and tupperware. They even compost your veggie scraps for you when they pick up last week’s delivery!

I was completely sold as I have been a huge lover of local foods ever since my visit to Vermont/upstate NY (the top places with local food). I honestly can’t taste the difference in organic foods (and maybe it’s not about taste but the tasteless chemicals you consume) but you can definitely taste the difference in local foods. The reason for this is because it’s fresher and isn’t picked until they’re ripe. For example, the tomato you bite into will be red on the outside but pretty much pink on the inside. That’s because they were picked way before they were ripe and then gassed to turn them red. You can learn more about how your produce is handled here. As I traveled, I ate local produce and realized the complete difference in taste. It literally tastes like candy in comparison to the watered down produce we get at our grocery stores!

They are by far the best food delivery I’ve ever had and they make it affordable. Since they aren’t spending a ton of money on food traveling, they’re able to get costs low. I typically get the base meal and Amazon Prime my protein from Whole Foods or ButcherBox. It saves on time and is still quality meat without breaking the bank. I could probably write a whole article about my lovely experience with them so far so I’ll leave it at that.

Make sure to use the promo code “vidocumentary” to get a discount off your first box!

5. ButcherBox

I’m on my 2nd big box with them and still love it. When you really delve into sustainable meat, it’s hard to find something that is affordable. I don’t eat a ton of meat so it is easier for me to justify the price. I found that a box lasted me about 2–3 months. A lot of people comment about how they were disappointed in how much meat there actually was when it arrived but I find it to be enough if your diet isn’t dependent on meat.

I love that I can trust that my beef and pork (I chose these options because it’s easy to find sustainable, quality chicken at HEB) come from reputable farms and ranches. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try grass fed beef vs your typical store bought beef, you should have a go at it. One of the biggest differences that most people point out is that you don’t have to drain the fat as much and also that the taste is better. To learn more about why grass fed beef matters, check out this article.

The one downside is that it takes up a large section of your freezer. That’s not too big of a deal since I live on my own but harder if you’re a larger family with little space.

I’ve also found their customer service to be pretty responsive and caring. I had a box get delayed initially and was shipped a box full of warm meat (ew)! They were super responsive and shipped another box and told us to throw out the first one. Although it broke my heart to see so much meat go to waste, I was happy to get great customer service.

6. Redenim

Rockin my Redenim jeans on stage!

I first got into clothing rentals on accident. I was fluctuating in size and dropped a lot of weight when I first started my company. I kept on buying pants and giving them away to my sister each time they didn’t fit anymore. That’s when I was introduced to Redenim. They started out as designer jean rental site and have transitioned to clothing styling (think of Stitch Fix but for designer jeans). I loved the idea of renting clothes as I get bored of things easy and don’t like waste.

I never would have thought that I’d own designer jeans. I’m just not that kind of woman. That was until I tried on a pair of wonderful jeans at Redenim’s pop up shop and was blown away. That’s totally how they get you. Most of us go on believing that designer things are all about branding and image but realize the quality that comes with it. I’ll have to say, I never had a pair of jeans fit so well and compliment me as well as these!

This really was my first dip into subscription boxes and got me into pretty much everything I talk about in this blog. With the fast paced and interconnected world we live in, it’s extremely easy to get anything shipped to your door. I love the flexibility of trying on clothes in the comfort of my own home and not having to waste time shopping.

7. Le Tote

Naturally it made sense that I would try out Le Tote. They’re the only clothing rental site that I found that fit what I needed. Everyone else offered subscription boxes with styling but the problem is that I don’t want to keep the clothes. Le Tote let me try out a ton of clothes and jewelry that I never would have tried. I’m able to learn what type of clothes look good on me and what I like. Just like Freshly, I stopped using Le Tote because they didn’t offer enough variety for me to continue with their boxes. I’ll probably go back to them in the spring once their attire changes.

8. Rent the Runway

They’re the holy grail when it comes to clothing subscriptions. I had 3 fancy events coming up in a month so I decided to try out their unlimited plan which allows you to choose several of their pieces and change them out when you’re ready. In comparison, how quick and professional Rent the Runway is in comparison to Le Tote shows their years of experience as a company.

Le Tote is great for normal office wear and Rent the Runway is better for special occasions. Of course the pricing will also shift because of this as well. I can justify the cost of Le Tote monthly but over $100/month for Rent the Runway doesn’t make sense for my normal business meetings in Austin where most people wear tshirts and jeans.

They are for sure my go to place to rent clothes and jewelry for special occasions. It’s nice to occasionally wear beautiful dresses paired with stunning jewelry that makes you feel amazing!

9. Harry’s

I believe I had a coupon for first time sign ups so I went ahead and got their first sample. I actually enjoyed the quality of their products that I bought a second batch. Unfortunately I have wonderful genes and don’t have to shave my legs that often so I ended up cancelling my subscription since their razors last so long.

10. Hubble

I got my first pack in the mail and started to read reviews. One after another, people bashed the quality of the contacts and how it irritated their eyes so I decided to avoid wearing them. They were just my emergency pairs just in case something happened to mine while traveling. Unfortunately I forgot to cancel by their deadline and ended up with a whole months worth of contacts.

I wasn’t particularly happy with this but it was my fault it happened so I figured I’d just save them. Fast forward a couple of months later and I find myself without contacts and needing time to order a new pair. I then decided it’s better to try Hubble than wear glasses all day. Maybe other people have sensitive eyes but these worked well with my eyes. I wouldn’t say that I would substitute what I currently wear as the quality isn’t nearly as great but it does the job. They saved me until I could get my new pairs in. I’d recommend them for people with less sensitive eyes or as backup/travel pairs.

11. ClassPass

The last time I had checked ClassPass may have been the first year they started and were in Texas. There were barely any gyms and studios on their list so it didn’t make sense to sign up. Years later, they now have a ton of choices to choose from! It probably also helps that Austin is a relatively active city.

I thoroughly enjoyed my free month of classes and learned about a lot of new places. I typically stuck with yoga and pilates but did venture out to megaformer machines (that was a rough one). This is great for people who are spontaneous and want a lot of variety in their workouts. I’m definitely the latter but find that I like my routine still. I need a lot of time to mentally prepare what I’m about to do so it didn’t work out for me in the long run. I may join back up later on when I get tired of running again.

12. Homads

Full disclosure: I’m one of the founders of Homads. BUT had an unexpected experience when I became a customer.

I started Homads because I wanted better ways to rent out my property. Airbnb left me exhausted as there was so much time spent resetting and as an introvert, it took a lot out of me to socialize on superficial conversation. What I didn’t know would happen is that I’d create wonderful and life changing friendships.

One of my former roommates from Homads was a guy who was involved in cryptocurrency and had plans on selling his stuff so that he can move to Malta. During the month he stayed with me, he would occasionally bring up something about bitcoin or I’d ask basic questions. I got to know about how he grew up, his values, plans for the future etc. All the things you’d want to know about a friend, not just someone visiting your property. By the end of the month I felt like I had a basic understanding of cryptocurrency and blockchain (not enough to get involved myself but at least to understand how tech is changing) and the rare opportunity to build a friendship with such a good hearted human being! Homads allows you to build real relationships and make any place feel like home. You can read more about how we’re helping people find a place feel like home here.

Ken knew how much I loved goats and invited me out to a project he’s working on! You pay $.50 in bitcoin to have an auto feeder go off while you watch adorable goats eat at the comfort of your home from a live cam!

Homads

Homads helps people discover neighborhoods that feels like home. Whenever you’re moving to a new city, you can find a place that you love, regardless if you’re renting for a month or plan on living there forever.

Vi Nguyen

Written by

Vi Nguyen

Helping people discover neighborhoods that feels like home. - CEO @Homads. Entrepreneur. World traveler with a passion to improve the communities we live in.

Homads

Homads

Homads helps people discover neighborhoods that feels like home. Whenever you’re moving to a new city, you can find a place that you love, regardless if you’re renting for a month or plan on living there forever.

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