How to Save Money on Takeout and Delivery

How to Save Money on Takeout and Delivery
Photo: Aleksey Khoruzhenko, Shutterstock

Even before the pandemic kept us locked in our homes for weeks at a time, the delivery and takeout business was booming thanks to apps that make it super easy to see restaurant offerings, select a few, and get them delivered in under an hour.

The convenience is astronomical, but so is the cost. If you’ve been thinking of deleting Uber Eats from your phone in order to keep your habits in check, don’t do it just yet. There are a few ways you can save money and still consume delicious restaurant eats.

Put on your walking shoes

There are a lot of costs associated with food delivery that have nothing to do with the price of your Friday morning bagel or Saturday night pizza. You’re paying taxes and a delivery fee along with your tip.

The tip and the delivery fee are both associated with how much effort it takes a third party to physically bring you your order. They travel long distances, sometimes through rain, so always tip if you order delivery.

You can, however, avoid the delivery fee if you just go get the food yourself. It’s still plenty convenient to see all the menu items in one place, take your sweet time picking one, and pay with the touch of a button. The only slightly inconvenient part of this method is the walking, but it’s cost-effective and healthy, so it’s not all bad. Sure, spring for delivery when you’re sick or if it’s nasty outside, but if it’s a nice night and you’re in good health, take a little walk! Most delivery apps allow you to toggle between delivery and pick-up options easily, so just remember to tap the right button.

Keep push notifications turned on

Push notifications can be annoying, but they can also be helpful. There’s a reason they exist, and when it comes to delivery and takeout apps, that reason is partially to save you money.

Uber Eats is notorious for frequent, limited-time discounts, which they advertise through emails and push alerts. Make sure your notifications for those apps are turned on and always give a real email address, even if it’s your designated spam email, so you never miss a coupon.

You can earn single-use coupons on most of the apps by giving out your referral code to your friends, but of course, it’s 2021 and the majority of your friends already have all the apps, too. It still doesn’t hurt to try.

Take advantage of perks

Some apps, like Uber Eats, have different kinds of rewards programs and ever-changing specials. You’ll see them right away when you open your apps, typically, and they can range from restaurant-specific discounts once you meet a certain cost threshold or money off for choosing takeout over delivery.

In some cases, you might have to spend money to save money. Take Uber Pass for example.

The final option might not save you much money in the long run, but can save you a little guilt: Try to order from restaurants directly whenever possible to save them the money they pay to the big-name apps.

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