Order Food Delivery a Lot? Here’s an Easy Way to Save Money


A group of young adults excitedly unpack their food delivery order in their kitchen.

Image source: Getty Images

It’s possible to spend less to have food arrive at your home.

Key points

  • Many people rely on food delivery, especially when life gets busy.
  • Ordering your food directly could make those meals less expensive.

If you routinely order food delivery, you’re no doubt in good company. Many people rely on food delivery when life gets busy, they’re too exhausted to cook, or they simply can’t bear to reheat the same chicken casserole for the fourth night in a row.

There’s nothing wrong with ordering food delivery if it fits into your budget and doesn’t make it difficult to keep up with your bills. And besides, these days, gas prices are so ridiculously high that it’s hard to motivate yourself to get in the car and drive to the store to purchase groceries. 

But if you tend to order food delivery a lot, one simple move on your part could help you save money on it. And it could also work to the benefit of your favorite restaurants.

Order your food directly

Many people use food delivery apps like DoorDash to order meals quickly and seamlessly. But there’s a major downside to using delivery apps, and it’s that you’re likely to spend more if you go that route.

Food delivery apps are loaded with fees that are passed along to consumers. So while they may be convenient, they can also be expensive. This holds true even if your credit card offers perks like extra cash back when you use delivery apps.

But it’s not just consumers who are charged fees for using food delivery apps. Those apps also impose hefty fees on restaurants. And those fees can heavily eat into restaurants’ profits. 

Meanwhile, a lot of restaurants are still in recovery mode after having been forced to shutter to in-person diners during the early stages of the pandemic. So by avoiding delivery apps and ordering food from your local restaurants directly, you might actually be making it easier for those businesses to make money and stay afloat.

Plus, if you order food directly from a restaurant in town, you may be doing your part to help someone in your neighborhood keep a job. That’s an important thing, too.

Now in some cases, going directly through a restaurant instead of using a food delivery app could mean having to wait a bit longer for your meal to arrive. But if you try to order at off-peak times or place an order well ahead of when you usually eat, that may not be an issue.

Are you spending too much on food delivery?

Food delivery is something you may want to treat yourself to every so often — or even a few times a week. But it’s important to make sure you’re not going overboard, and also, to have a handle on your spending.

To that end, take a little time to review your recent credit card bills and see how much food delivery is costing you. If you don’t like what you see, pledge to cut back or order more strategically. 

Or, if there are restaurants you enjoy and pass on your way home from work, stop in and pick up your food yourself. Doing so could shave a little money off of your costs, but if you tend to order in a lot, that savings could really add up.

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