A container of Chinese takeaway food on a table with chopsticks

Photo: Aleksey Khoruzhenko (Shutterstock)

Even before the pandemic kept us locked in our homes for weeks, the delivery and take-away business was booming thanks to apps that make it easy to see restaurant deals, select a few, and get them delivered in less than an hour.

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

Put on your walking shoes

There are many costs associated with grocery delivery that have nothing to do with the price of your bagel on Friday morning or the price of your pizza on Saturday night. You pay tax and a delivery fee along with your tip.

The tip and delivery fee both depend on how much effort a third party takes to physically deliver your order to you. You travel long distances, sometimes through snow or rain, so always – always – tip when you order a delivery.

However, you can avoid the delivery fee by simply picking up the food yourself. It is still very convenient to see all menu items in one place, to choose one in peace and to pay at the push of a button. The only slightly inconvenient part of this method is walking, but it’s inexpensive and healthy, so it’s not all bad. Sure, spring birth when you’re sick or gross outside, but if it’s a nice night and you’re in good health, take a little walk! Most delivery apps allow you to easily switch between delivery and pick-up options. So make sure you tap the correct button.

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Leave push notifications turned on

Push notifications can be annoying, but they can also be helpful. There’s a reason they are, and when it comes to delivery and take-away apps, part of that reason is to save you money.

Uber Eats and Postmates are notorious for their frequent, limited-time discounts that they advertise via email and push notifications. Make sure your notifications are turned on for these apps and always provide a real email address, even if it’s your spam email, so you don’t miss a coupon.

You can earn one-time coupons for most apps by sharing your referral code with your friends, but of course it’s 2021 and the majority of your friends already have all of the apps too. It still doesn’t hurt to try.

to take advantage

Some apps, like Uber Eats, have different types of rewards programs and constantly changing specials. They usually appear instantly when you open your apps, and they can range from restaurant-specific discounts once you hit a certain cost threshold, or monies if you choose to have takeaway delivery.

In some cases, you may need to spend money to save money. For example, for $ 9.99 per month on Grubhub, you can sign up for Grubhub +, which gives you unlimited free delivery when you order food over $ 12 at a time, as well as other membership benefits specific to certain restaurants. If you order once a week or more, the cost of this membership is less than what you might have to pay for your delivery fees, which can range from $ 0.50 to several dollars.

Use money-saving apps

There are a few apps out there that are designed not only to feed you, but also to save you money. Take Too Good to Go for example: this app addresses the problem of food waste by working with restaurants to bring you the unsold groceries that would otherwise be thrown away. You order a “surprise bag” from one of the participating restaurants and are given a set time to pick up your food, which can range from a whole meal to a large bag of bagels or pastries, depending on the restaurant. You don’t get to choose what you get, but you are getting a lot for your money as most surprise bags range from $ 4 to $ 6. Also, you have a good feeling about preventing goods from being wasted, which the app does Creators say happens to ⅓ the world food.

If you want to save money and still get delivery, there is Club Feast which is something of a bulk grocery shopping system. You buy your credits in bulk upfront and then spend them on discounted meals throughout the week.

Laura Phillips, director of growth and marketing at Club Feast, explained the concept as follows: “Delivery to the restaurant is only $ 6.99 per dish. Plan ahead and spend less on the same meals you would get on any other platform. Note that there is a delivery charge of between $ 0.49 and $ 2.49 and a small order charge of $ 1 if you only order one dish. “

The program never charges or takes any commission from restaurants, which is noteworthy as many of these third-party apps withhold a portion of each restaurant’s revenue. Phillips said the company aims to help restaurants make more money and help users save.

“With the pre-planning and our lower price, you don’t have to feel guilty when ordering. It is our mission to change the way people eat by democratizing access to the luxury of food delivery while allowing your favorite local restaurants to thrive, ”she said. “Food delivery is becoming an integral part of modern life. I see its use as a daily service everywhere as the way we work and the way we eat is constantly evolving. “

Food apps got really big, really fast – taking your money and your restaurant revenues with them. With new disruptors like these, you can feel a little better about the whole thing.

The last option might not save you a lot of money in the long run, but it can save you a little bit of guilt: give it a try order directly from restaurants if possible to save them the money they pay for the big apps.