Here’s how to save money on takeout

Curbside pickup recommended over delivery

We are all feeling the effects of increasing food prices, whether it's at the grocery store or a restaurant. Here are some tips for saving money next time you order takeout.

Food prices are up, and we’re all feeling it every time we buy groceries or eat at a restaurant -- and that includes takeout.

Ordering food to go from restaurants has become even more popular throughout the pandemic, and it doesn’t look to be letting up anytime soon. So how can you continue your takeout habits while saving some cash?

While we might love how convenient it is to have food delivered to our door, but one of the easiest ways to save a little on takeout is to utilize curbside pickup. It’s less expensive to just pick up the food yourself, so that you can avoid a delivery fee.

“... It benefits the restaurant because they will take all of that payment toward their business instead of having to split it with a third party delivery app,” said Andrea Woroch, money saving expert.

Related: Ordering takeout online? Beware of fraudulent websites

According to Woroch, if you want to use delivery apps like Door Dash, Uber Eats and Grub Hub, watch for free trial offers and coupon codes. She also recommends buying restaurant gift cards in bulk.

“I actually recently did this,” Woroch said. “Go to your warehouse club store like Costco or Sam’s Club, they sell gift cards in bulk. You’re looking at saving anywhere from 20% to 30% off the top.”

And be sure to check if your favorite restaurants have loyalty programs, and sign up for them.

“That means every time you spend money by a meal, whether it’s takeout or dining in, you’re going to earn points,” Woroch said. “These points might be toward coupons off future dining, or maybe it’s in the form of some type of free drink, or free appetizer or free dessert. Maybe you’ll even get a birthday reward like $5 to come in and dine. Take advantage of these offers -- this could really help shrink your takeout bill.”

Another tip for Michiganders: If you buy restaurant gift cards at Kroger, it won’t save you money on your carryout meal, but it does give you fuel points, which will help the next time you gas up.

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About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.