Going out to eat is expensive — and while ordering in may seem like a more affordable — and convenient — alternative, the costs can really add up, especially if you get takeout often.
But, some easy ordering hacks can save you some extra cash in the long run. Here are seven tips that take a bite out of takeout costs.
1. Choose pick-up instead of delivery — or hunt for discounts
Not only do you get some exercise by going out and getting the food yourself, you save a couple extra bucks on the delivery fee. If the restaurant is too far away or you don’t feel like making the trek, check to see how much the fee is before you order. Delivery apps like Seamless and UberEats can filter out restaurants with delivery fees. Also, always be on the hunt for promotions and specials that waive or reduce the delivery fee.
2. Use coupons
The easiest way to save at your favorite food spots is by checking out their website or social media accounts and signing up for their email list. Many offer coupons and promotions, including rewards programs and birthday treats.
Next time you order, check out your receipt. Some restaurants print coupons at the bottom. Other places hand out coupons and discount specials along with your meal.
3. Think simple
If you do takeout often, try ordering simply-made items like sandwiches or salads, rather than more complex, cooked dinners, which tend to cost more.
Or, if you have just a couple ingredients on hand, you can make a simple meal yourself. Here’s a lunch recipe that costs less than $1 per day.
4. Split the plate (& the cost)
Instead of shelling out dough on a huge meal that gets thrown away, stick to ordering an appetizer portion. If you order a larger entrée, split it with someone or save the rest for leftovers for the next day — it’s cheaper than paying the delivery fee twice.
5. Skip the drinks
The easiest cost to cut from your bill? Beverages. Ditching the drinks can save you a few extra bucks on your takeout order — sub out that soda for a water or beverage you already have at home.
6. Take advantage of cash back
Earn a few extra bucks back on your order by ordering on a cash rewards card. Depending on which card you use, you can get back between one to five percent on your order.
Here are some other ways to leverage your cash rewards.
7. Head to the grocery store
Most food stores have expanded their offerings of prepared food, offering a wide variety of pre-cooked options. Prices are often less than what you would pay at restaurants — and you won’t have to tip.
While you’re in the grocery store, it may not hurt to stock up on essentials. Having food on hand may keep you from ordering out, which can save you big in the long run. Here’s a list of other ways you can save in the grocery store.