Ordering in has become the new dining out — but the cost of having food delivered can rack up fast. Here are seven pro tips to save money on takeout at your favorite restaurants!
Nab these discounts.
“Many restaurants now offer customer deals exclusively through their apps. Order your takeout meal that way, and you can rack up points on orders earning free meals, desserts or sides. Chipotle offers app users $1 delivery, and Chick-fil-A has given app users free breakfast entrées. Just download your favorite restaurant’s app to see what they might offer!” — Nikki May, money-saving expert at DealFindingDiva.com
Pick up a meal here.
“Many supermarkets have expanded their in-store meal offerings with restaurant foods like Mexican, Chinese, even sushi. And the prices can’t be beat! For example, our local Hy-Vee offers deals like $5 pizza Friday or $5 for an eight-piece bucket of fried chicken. And many offer curbside pickup at no additional cost! Just check your local supermarket’s website to see what they have.” — Lisa Simmons, mom of four, Des Moines, IA
Pump up savings by using credit.
“Using a credit card (like the Capital One SavorOne Rewards or the Chase Freedom Unlimited — both pay an unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining purchases) on a $35 take-out order would put $1.05 back into your wallet. Have an American Express card? Visit AmericanExpress.com and search “shop small” to find take-out places where just by using your Amex card you’ll net up to four times the points, earning you up to $220 in statement credits!” — Brian Martucci, moneysaving expert at MoneyCrashers.com
Get paid to eat using cash-back apps.
“People often use cash-back apps for their online shopping, but don’t realize they can also be used on food orders! For example, Rakuten offers 11 percent cash back on Grubhub orders and $4 cash back on UberEats. Or head to Grubhub or Seamless through Ibotta to net two percent cash back with delivery. Simply download the sites’ apps to your mobile phone or the browsers to your computer.” — Tehsin Bhayani, founder of AirMason.com, a site that creates restaurant employee handbooks
Subscribe for cheaper delivery.
“If you order your food online regularly, it may be worth it to get a subscription from Grubhub, UberEats or other service. The reason: Grubhub might cost you $6 in delivery fees for one order, but with its subscription service, Grubhub+, you’ll get unlimited free delivery for $10 a month — order twice in one month and it pays for itself. UberEats charges a $5 delivery fee (plus a $4 service fee) for a take-out order, but a $10-per-month Eats Pass gets free delivery and a five percent discount on any order over $15 — a deal if you order more than twice a month.” — Jasmine Banks, mom of two, Los Angeles
Buy more to pay even less.
“When ordering, we always keep an eye out for ‘family meal’ options. For example, Texas Roadhouse offers a family burger meal that includes 12 mini burgers, a huge salad and your choice of three sides for about $25. To find a restaurant that offers these deals near you, just type ‘family meal’ and the name of your city in an internet search engine!” — Rose Nguyen, mom of two, Houston
Order lunch for dinner at this time.
“We all know the old trick of ordering the lunch special for dinner, which can save you up to 50 percent off per entrée, but it can be a hassle to heat up the meal later. My trick? I pay close attention to the lunch ordering window — often by ordering online you can order right up until the cutoff time. For example, our favorite Chinese restaurant has a lunch deal of $7 for an entrée, egg roll, side of rice and soup, which is big enough to serve two people! The special goes until 3 pm and is ready around 3:30 pm, then we eat around 5 pm — and the food is still hot! The cost with tax ends up being $16 for a meal for four; we’d spend $28 or more on similar entrées off the dinner menu.” — Connie Fouts, mom of two, Evanston, IL
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.