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Save money on takeaways

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Takeaways can be so convenient can’t they. Perfect to just press a few buttons and have your meal come to your door, but also they are SO expensive.

In the past few years I have moved to using more food delivery services, such as Gousto and Hello Fresh, and also use things like Uber Eats to get groceries delivered when I’m short on time, want something convenient for dinner, but don’t want to overspend on a junk food meal.

Using a delivery service can make life feel so much more convenient, and is also so handy for people with low mobility or movement issues.

I have a little folder of delivery apps on my phone, and use them all from time to time. In this post I’m going to share some of my favourite ways to save money on takeaways, meal delivery and food delivery services.

I’m a fan of takeaways. Who isn’t right?! I love being able to just pop online, order some tasty food and put almost no effort in. However, what I don’t love is that a takeaway just blows our food budget for the week!

What I have moved to doing in the last few years is just get a takeaway every few weeks, and look for deals, special offers and ways to earn a few gift vouchers to put towards it too.

Cooked air fryer bratwurst in buns, with air fryer onion rings, air fryer diced potatoes, tomato ketchup, sauerkraut, grilled and crispy onions and stoneground mustard. The Bratwurst (3) are plain, dressed with mustard and onions and dressed with mustard and jalapeños

Sign up for new customer deals

If it is your first time using food delivery apps they often have new customer deals. Here are a few of my current favourites:

*Uber Eats – £3 off a £20 spend for new customers. Just use code eats-hb3izm in the Uber Eats app.

*Deliveroo – £10 off across 4 orders. Minimum order value of £20 to use this. Click: roo.it/katys-gevr

*Costa Coffee – 5 coffee beans (half of the way to a free coffee) when you sign up using the Costa Coffee app and code BORJN (that’s an O not a zero).

*Pizza Express – Free starter after you dine in for the first time using the Pizza Express Club app and my referral code 68485H. I’ve been able to get to gold level, which allows me a lot of free food and treats when dining in and sometimes when getting a takeaway too with great savings.

*Subway – New customers who sign up to the Subway app, using my promo code X-5M81N8A will get 200 points upon making your first purchase. (A regular hot drink is 100 points, a side is 200 points – so you can get something free right away!).

1 x £20 note, 3 x £10 notes and text overlay that says great offers to make and save money in the UK

Look out for discount codes

Look on deals websites for discounts. Websites such as Hot UK Deals and Voucher Codes often have an array of special offers. For existing customers too.

Brands such as Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo may offer discounts on their social media pages from time to time too.

Recent examples that I have had include £15 off a £25 groceries order and 20% off when spending £20 on a takeaway. While prices ARE more expensive for groceries I compared it to Asda buying direct and it was still quite a bit cheaper. Also, there have been some special days such as 50% off fruit & vegetables on Mondays with selected stores and Freebie Fridays where you get a free dessert or side when spending specific amounts of money.

Check those leaflets that come through your door. Yes – those annoying usually poorly designed ones. Sometimes they have GREAT deals for local takeaways in particular.

These leaflets often have exclusive collection only deals or they may have meal deals that aren’t offered online. By calling up you may be able to save a fortune – or get more food for your budget.

Look online for collection only discounts. Many restaurants, chains and independents, offer discounts if you collect your order. You may only save a pound or two, so weigh up any petrol/time costs.

Check your local takeaway, and those chain ones, to see what bargains they offer. Our local Chinese does a 5 dishes for £17.90 night, on a Tuesday. Sesame prawn toast is on the menu and this has to be one of my favourite dishes!

This is a total bargain and usually represents a saving of up to £15 depending on the dishes chosen. Best of all – FREE delivery! Dominos offer Two for Tuesday and a lot of the other chains seem to have exceptionally good bargains on Tuesday or Thursday in particular as well.

Thai crispy chilli with crispy onions, beef and rice in a blue bowl. In the background is a Gousto box.

Save money on takeaways – alternative ways to save

Cut down a little or share a few dishes. You’ll save some calories and get to try some different food too.

Make the most of any minimum spend discounts. Sometimes you may need to add an extra dish and then your total will reduce by 20-30%.

For example; if you’ve spent £19 and add a £2 dish your £21 of food may come down to around £15. Bargain! You CAN freeze leftovers or just take them to work the following day for a simple lunch.

Look for student discounts if you’re eligible.

Check any credit cards you have to see if they have discounts on their apps. American Express can sometimes have special offers and getting £5 back on a £20 spend can go quite far towards all those excess delivery fees.

Be sure to check out *TopCashBack and *Quidco. They offer a range of different cashback amounts, depending on if you are a new customer or not.

Many restaurants, particularly Chinese and Indian ones, have nights where they run a buffet. Often you can stop by and fill up a container for a set amount.

This gives you a chance to trial lots of dishes for the price of just 1-2 dishes. Our local Chinese restaurant does this and their takeaway food is REALLY expensive so this is a complete bargain.

Collect your order. Often, thanks to delivery fees, credit card charges and menu prices being modified it adds up to a considerable chunk of change on top of the price of your food itself. By collecting your order you can make a big saving and feel a little better about your spend in the process.

A hand holding a mobile phone which displays the Airtime Rewards app and shows a £2.00 current balance and £1.34 pending from Papa Johns spending

How to get FREE takeaway food:

Why not give mystery shopping a try? Now you’re not always guaranteed to find a takeaway when you want it, however, with some forward planning you can find something nice.

We have a popular (expensive!) burger chain in our town and they have takeaway mystery shops at least every couple of months. The fee is usually small, £5-8 but there is a reimbursement for the purchased food too, which means we can get a free meal for the two of us, or just spend a couple of pounds if we add sides!

Ways to avoid takeaways while taking it easy still

Sometimes I really want to get a takeaway but I realise that they are a bit of a waste of money and they make me feel all bloated and sluggish the following day.

If I have a little motivation, but can’t be bothered to cook then these are the options I tend to choose from:

Buy a meal deal at the supermarket

You know the ones! Dine in for £10, 4 dishes for £10 etc. Open the pots, decant them into a dish and put them in the microwave or oven. Simple. T

It takes minutes of effort and you still have a decent dinner. With minimal effort. But less expense too. I often think that these are a middle ground. 

A nice break from cooking, without spending quite so much. Also, the food is often high quality and you can get alcohol for your £10!  

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Keep some nice frozen meals in

Keep your freezer stocked up. Each week at shopping buy yourself an emergency meal. Or just a really tasty meal for a lazy night.

Stuffed crust pizza. Chicken dippers. Lasagne in a box. Whatever it is keep an ’emergency’ meal in. You never know when you may be short on time or effort unexpectedly.

Use meal delivery kits

I’d love to recommend meal delivery kits. They are simple to use, just pop on to the website or app, choose some meals and then all of the ingredients for those meals are delivered to your home alongside recipe cards to follow to make dinner super simple.

I have tested a lot of meal delivery kits in the last few years and I’ve got a ton of fantastic links to help you get a bargain when trying them for yourself for the first time also.

Here are my favourite meal delivery services:

ALL of these links have discounts on. They are all discounted and some of the links even offer free meal kits delivered to your home when trying them for the first time so have a click and check out what is available to you.

*Gousto – Probably my favourite of all the apps. They have some prepped in 5 recipes and meals that take just 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

*Hello Fresh – Great if you like big portions and very simple meals. LOTS of recipes have mince and green beans, which can feel a little samey, so be sure to make your own selections rather than letting them choose them for you.

*Mindful Chef – I love this when I want tasty, healthy meals and want to meet specific dietary goals.

*Green Chef – I love Green Chef as they have lots of healthy and delicious meals. If you’re looking to keep your diet healthy you’ll really enjoy them.

*Simply Cook – While these are not full recipe kits they are ingredients kits where you just buy the meat, fish and side dishes etc and then you can jazz them up using the Simply Cook flavour kits. This is a great way to have some fun meal ideas on hand and some of the dinners can be made using store cupboard or long life ingredients such as pasta, cream cheese and hard cheese.

Also, be sure to check out cashback shopping apps such as Shopmium and make sure you’re earning cashback wherever possible with apps such as Airtime Rewards.

I’ve got a whole host of great recipes, here are some of my favourite fakeaway style ones:

Air fryer chips

Air fryer wedges

Bacon mac and cheese pasta bake made with air fryer bacon

Air fryer tortilla chips for nachos – nacho cheese sauce

Salt and pepper chips

Easy calzone recipe

Moroccan lamb burgers

Chicken fajita triangles and not forgetting my post on what to serve with fajitas

Vegan coleslaw

Why not knock up a homemade pizza? It really takes NO time! You could even cheat and use tortillas – here is my recipe for tortillas! I love to make air fryer pizza when I’m in a rush too!

A chicken and chorizo paella with text overlay that says the best EVER meal planning tips

If you have lots of time free then why not try out some of my favourite slow cooker recipes to avoid the lure of the takeaway!

Slow cooker whole chicken

Slow cooker beef chilli

Pulled pork in the slow cooker

Slow cooker chicken curry

Beef keema curry in the slow cooker

Sausage cassoulet in the slow cooker

If you enjoyed this post I’d love it if you could pin it on Pinterest!

Bratwurst in buns with jalapeños, crispy onions, grilled onions, mustard, tomato ketchup and roast potatoes on baking paper.

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Joraffe

Sunday 30th of July 2017

One item that I just can't resist and cannot make properly myself is sweet and sour chicken balls, so I like to order them in occasionally - I do make my own rice to save money though!

katykicker

Sunday 30th of July 2017

Oh they are SO good from the takeaway aren't they!

Angela

Wednesday 19th of July 2017

We are awful for takeaways in this house, and really need to stop resorting to them when we can't be bothered to cook. Some great ideas there, must look out for deals.

katykicker

Wednesday 19th of July 2017

Thanks so much Angela - hope it can help you save some money at least.

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