Do you like take-out? Here are 6 ways to save dough

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Takeout doesn’t have to be a budget-buster.

Key points

  • Food delivery apps have subscriptions that will save you on delivery costs, or you can pick up your order instead of having it delivered.
  • Ordering at the right time of day is a good way to reduce your costs.
  • Becoming a regular at your favorite restaurants and using the right credit card are also great ways to get more for your money.

Everyone must eat. And while I enjoy cooking at home, it’s not necessarily something I want to do with every meal. I to like restaurants, especially the unique off-chain establishments that my small town has in abundance. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many places to ramp up their take-out and delivery service as restaurants have had to find ways to survive without customers eating inside. I was happy to continue frequenting my favorite restaurants this way, and more than two years later, I’m still a frequent takeout and delivery customer. I have a proven set of tips that will help you eat delicious food you didn’t have to cook yourself, and also keep more money in your bank account.

1. Choose the right subscription service

If you have room in your budget and order a lot of takeout and delivery, I highly recommend signing up for the premium service of a food delivery app. The biggest players in the takeout industry, including Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash, offer a monthly subscription service that can save you money on delivery and service fees that the app collects from customers. occasional users who do not subscribe. As of this writing, the premium service cost for each of these three apps is $9.99 per month.

FYI, you may be able to get a free trial subscription to see how you like it before signing up for real (make sure to keep track of when this trial ends and cancel in time, so that your credit card is not charged!). If you decide to become a paying member, choose the service that has the most of your favorite restaurants, so you can get what you pay for.

2. Don’t order for dinner

If you order takeout for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner, you’ll probably save a few dollars. Restaurants often display different prices for slightly smaller portions and different foods on their breakfast and lunch menus, while the dinner menu usually has the most expensive offerings. So if you know you don’t want to cook for one of your meals, prepare it for breakfast or lunch.

3. Get a bigger portion and save half

One way to make your dining expenses pay off is to order a larger meal (again, you might save a little if you choose breakfast or lunch) and save food for a later meal. I do this all the time; for example, if I get a burrito, I will pay the extra $4 or $5 for the extra meat, and cut the burrito in half and immediately take half for lunch or dinner the next day. I love doing this, because I get two meals for just a little more money than the cost of one.

4. Become a regular

If there’s a restaurant you really like, make it a regular customer. I’ve done this with a Japanese restaurant in my area and often get a little extra gift, like a free order of vegetable tempura or edamame, in my order, as well as a nice thank you from the staff. A little extra food doesn’t cost them much, but they keep me as a loyal customer. The past two years have seen many restaurant closures, and a small establishment’s profit margin can be very slim, so giving them your business often will help ensure they can stay open and pay their staff.

5. Prefer collection rather than delivery

While food delivery is certainly convenient, it will cost you extra in terms of tips and delivery charges. You can save on delivery costs by signing up for a subscription service, as I mentioned above, but tipping is one place you shouldn’t skimp. I’m grateful for the nice people who deliver my food, and I tip as generously as possible, but sometimes that tip just isn’t in my food budget for the week, so I’ll choose to pick up my order at the place . Some of the delivery apps even offer a small discount in the form of a recurring coupon code when you choose pickup instead of delivery, so double check if your favorite app does!

6. Use the right credit card

Another way to save money on your takeout orders is to use the right credit card to earn cash back on restaurant purchases. Some cards also have no annual fee and generous sign-up bonuses, and may offer cash back in other categories as well, so read the fine print and choose the best card for your needs.

We all have to eat, and if you love takeout as much as I do, try these ways to save money and eat delicious food.

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