12 Practical Ideas To Stop Wasting Money On Food Delivery Services

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Want to save money? Stop wasting money on food delivery services. I know it can be harsh, but let's take a closer look!

Are you an Uber Eats kind of person? There is no denying that food delivery services have revolutionized the way people have food. Some days are just too much, and you can’t face the idea of having to cook. So, of course, food delivery apps are a blessing.

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In a few clicks, you can order Chinese, Italian, Mexican, or even American dishes to be delivered directly to your home. 

But while those are practical, they can also significantly impact your budget. Did you know that the average American spends short of $4,000 a year on takeouts? The actual amount obviously varies, but some US regions spend as much as $6,200 a year on food delivery services.

So, if you are trying to keep your finances under control, the first thing you probably need to do is remove food delivery apps from your phone!

Still, need help to slow down on the takeout money hole? These tips are for you. 

Delivery man delivering food to a woman at home.

#1. Create meal plans

Weekly meal plans are by far one of the most effective ways to reduce reliance on takeout services. Meal plans are typically seen as a strategy to reduce grocery shopping costs. But they can also do a lot more for your budget.

Essentially, when you approach weekly plans, you want to take many factors into consideration:

  • How your fatigue levels evolve throughout the week (aka, do not leave the most time-demanding meal preps for later in the week)
  • How taxing some days are going to be (for instance, if you already know ahead about long days, reserve easy meals for those)
  • How potentially stressful some days will be (important meeting days probably deserve some comfort food)

#2. Make your kitchen decor more exciting

Cooking happens in the kitchen, and if it looks dull, you are unlikely to enjoy cooking in it. Simple changes of decor, such as giving a fresh coat of paint to your wall and changing your blinds can go a long way to make the kitchen more appealing. Opt for vibrant and energetic colors that will make you want to cook more often!

#3. Prep all your ingredients ahead

What is the longest part of cooking? Of course, there is the actual cooking aspect, but placing a dish in the oven and waiting for it to be baked does not require any additional effort on your part. On the other hand, washing and cutting your ingredients can feel like a slow and painful nightmare at the end of the day.

Even for simple recipes, you are likely to spend more time preparing the food than cooking it. So, it’s worth spending some time bulk washing, chopping, and portioning ingredients for the upcoming meals each week. Then, when the time comes to cook dinner, it will only take you a few minutes to whip up something delicious! 

This will also reduce the risk of food waste, which is a win-win. 

#4. Grow your own veggies

Does growing your own vegetables save you grocery money in the long term? The real answer is not always. Growing vegetables (and fruits) is an investment too. Not only do you need to purchase all the necessary gardening equipment, but you also constantly need to maintain and nurture your crops. This may require buying specialist nutrients or safe pesticides to keep them safe, building a greenhouse shelter, managing lighting and temperature levels, etc.

Will the tomatoes you grow at home be cheaper than the ones you can buy in stores? Probably not. But they will be tastier, fresher, and ultimately, you will find more joy cooking your produce. So, if gardening is your hobby, you can use it to cut down on takeout expenses. 

Woman harvesting vegetables from her garden.

#5. Allow yourself one cheat day

No strict routine is even effective. If you have tried dieting in the past, you know that diets are more sustainable in the long-term if you are allowed to eat the things you like (in moderation). The same principle applies to takeout food.

It is going to be more cost-effective in the long term to allow yourself one takeout a fortnight or a month. This ensures that you can still have the pizza or burger you crave once in a while. Otherwise, you are more at risk of giving out and falling back into old habits. 

#6. Learn Banchan recipes

Banchan are small Korean dishes that are typically served alongside rice or BBQ. Some of the typical banchan dishes include kimchi, seasoned spinach, seasoned soybean sprouts, spicy radish salad, and stir-fried zucchini.

Some banchan dishes can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge, such as kimchi. Others can be made in a matter of minutes.

So, if you can easily whip something together with very little and have a full meal ready to accompany a source of protein. 

#7. Make cooking a shared activity

Cooking doesn’t have to feel like a chore. This isn’t the 1950s anymore, and there is no reason for only one person to be in charge of the cooking at all time. Involving family members and making cooking a shared activity can significantly reduce the pressure and burden. 

This is an excellent way to make meal preparations more enjoyable and efficient. Shared effort speeds up the process and still ensures you spend quality time with your loved ones. Besides, it’s easy to get motivated when everyone joins hands for cooking. 

Boy and girl in the kitchen stiring something in a large bowl.

#8. Bulk cook

It is fair to say that there are days when you want to relax. So, it’s easy to see how clicking to get a burger delivered to your door becomes a convenient option. 

That’s where bulk cooking can save you a ton of money. You can prepare dishes ahead and portion them into easy freezer-friendly bags.

Suddenly, all it takes in the evening to prepare an easy meal is to open your freezer, pick your favorite dishes, and place them in the oven. 

Some of the best meals for bulk cooking include lasagna, ragout, chili con (or sin) carne, British-style pies, gratins, and quiches. 

#9. Embrace leftovers

Not all leftovers are good for the rubbish bin. There’s a lot you can learn to do with leftovers. For instance, you can combine your leftovers with small side dishes (see the Banchan recipes above) for a full meal. Alternatively, you can include them in another recipe to speed up the prep process. Leftover vegetables, for example, can bulk up a pasta dish. 

#10. Learn new recipes

Not every recipe is designed to be long and complex. Learning easy recipes can help you prepare delicious meals in a few minutes. 

A French cheese soufflé, for example, needs very little preparation and can be a fantastic full meal or side dish in its own right. Why order when your food can be ready before your takeout is delivered? 

#11. Have dinner dates at home

A dinner date doesn’t have to be romantic. You can encourage everyone to give an idea for your special dinner date.

For example, if the kids are reading Harry Potter, why not make a meal that’s inspired by some of the Hogwarts feast

bacon and vegetable sandwich.

#12. Bring back the old sandwich maker

There is nothing wrong with having a sandwich for dinner. Ultimately, sandwiches can be a great source of protein, carb, and healthy fat. So, with a sandwich maker, you could easily prepare delicious and healthy sandwiches to share with everyone. 

Sandwiches are great with:

  • Leftover protein (meat or fish that wasn’t eaten the day before, as long as it isn’t soggy with sauce)
  • Leftover fried or steamed vegetables
  • Pre-prepared and portioned ingredients, so everyone can pick their preferred ingredients
  • Fried, scrambled, or hard-boiled eggs

Make a quick salad on the side, and you have a meal in minutes. 

In conclusion, there is more than one way to stick to a small takeout budget without working hard in the kitchen. 

A hand holding a phone with a food delivery app with text "12 Practical Ideas To Stop Wasting Money On Food Delivery Services" below

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