We all know that cooking for yourself is much, much more cost-effective than ordering takeout. But we all also know that sometimes we’re too busy, too tired, or just plain too lazy to cook. It’s times like these that ordering takeout becomes a very attractive option 🙂
As a busy, single person (read: no husband or kids to keep me accountable) I give in to the urge to order dinner more often than I’d like to admit. But over the years, through lots of trial and error – and wasted food – I’ve figured out some tricks to stretching my takeout dollars. Again, ordering takeout is not frugal, but there are ways to lower your cost per meal. I’ve shared my three favorite tactics here, but I’m sure there are many more out there – I’m looking at you NYC readers! Please share in the comments below!
1. Don’t order a personal pizza
At almost every pizza place I’ve ever been to, the personal pizza is a total rip-off. You pay somewhere between $10 and $14 for only one or two servings. You’re much better off buying the whole pie for $15-$20 and freezing the slices you don’t eat. Another trick? Ask the pizza place to cut the pie into 10 slices instead of eight. That way, you’re squeezing an extra serving out of the pizza, which saves you money and calories.
2. Only order something you’re willing to eat more than once
If you’re anything like me, when you know that there’s no hope that you’ll be using the stove tonight, you also kind of write off eating healthy, too. Pepperoni pizza, greasy lo mein, and a fatty Italian sub with onion rings start to sound really, really good as you’re driving home starving and exhausted. Now by all means, if one of those treats is what you really, really want, go for it! But if you’re normally a pretty healthy eater, you know that those leftovers (and there will be leftovers – takeout portions are huge!) are probably going to end up in the trash because you don’t want to eat a calorie-laden meal two days in a row. To prevent this, I try not to order anything I won’t be comfortable eating twice. For example, I’ll eat leftover beef and broccoli, but not General Tso’s, so it’s a much better deal to get the beef and broccoli.
3. Don’t pay delivery charges
Delivery charges are the ATM fees of takeout; they might as well be called the Lazy Tax and are a total waste of money. Most places will waive the delivery fee if you order a certain dollar value of food and drinks, so make sure you hit that minimum! Don’t buy stuff you won’t eat, but order a couple of diet sodas or something so that you actually get something for the extra few dollars you’re spending.
Readers, how often do you order takeout? Do you try to keep it frugal, or do you splurge? And don’t forget to share your favorite takeout tips below!
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