Don’t allow takeout delivery fees to take a bite out of your budget.

3 minute read

Since the pandemic, more Americans have indulged in the convenience of food delivery services.

Online loan marketplace LendingTree surveyed more than 1,000 consumers on their dining habits before and during the pandemic.

Slightly less than half (45 percent) told pollsters they used food delivery apps like UberEats and DoorDash over the last year. The survey found the number of those who placed orders weekly pre-pandemic increased by 7 percent during the pandemic.

But the most alarming statistic from the survey is: 1 in 3 “admit to spending more than they can afford on delivery services.”

Before you make the same mistake, find out these eight ways to help save on restaurant food delivery…

1. Choose restaurants that offer free delivery

If you shop around, you can get out of paying delivery fees by ordering from restaurants that offer free delivery. So, before ordering from the first restaurant that makes your mouth water on Grubhub, check out restaurants in your area offering free delivery.

For example, restaurant chains offering free delivery in May include Chipotle, P.F. Chang’s, Popeye’s Chicken, and many more. Also, check with favorite local restaurants to inquire about free delivery.

Find out: 9 Ways to Save Money on Groceries During the Pandemic

2. Sign up for a delivery subscription

If you order food delivery frequently, you can save by subscribing to a delivery service for a monthly fee. For example, DoorDash fees average $4 to $5 per order, but if you sign up for a free 30-day trial with DoorDash, which you can continue for $9.99 a month, you’ll pay zero delivery fees and receive reduced service fees on orders of $12 or more.

Postmates offers free delivery on every order over $12 if you’re a Postmates Unlimited member for a $9.99 monthly fee. With an UberEats Pass, you get unlimited free delivery for one month free and then no zero delivery fees plus 5% off orders of $15 for $9.99 per month.

Find out: Is Amazon Fresh Grocery Delivery Worth the Cost?

3. Be on the lookout for coupons

You can find great one-time deals on food delivery by performing an online search for food delivery coupons. Try putting your zip code in at Valpak.com for restaurant or delivery service coupons specific to your area.

While you’re at it, make sure you look inside envelopes of coupons you get in the mail and coupon inserts thrown in with grocery store circulars.

4. Watch for delivery service promos

Visit websites of takeout delivery services such as Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash and Uber Eats regularly in search of promo codes and special offers.

Restaurant delivery is a competitive industry, so you may stumble onto the delivery deal of a lifetime by simply checking those sites on a regular basis.

5. Comparison shop delivery fees

Not all delivery services charge the same fees, and charges vary greatly by restaurant, region and city. So, it pays to shop around before placing a delivery order. You may save anywhere from $5 to $10 or more with a bit of investigation into which restaurants and delivery services offer free or reduced fee delivery.

6. Sign up for restaurant email lists

Even if you have to pay a delivery fee for a particular restaurant, you may still be able to save money on the food itself by scoring a coupon or free food items when you sign up for the restaurant’s email distribution list.

For example, when you sign up for Texas Roadhouse’s VIP Club, you’ll receive coupons, offers for free appetizers and a birthday surprise in your inbox.

7. Buy a gift card

Many restaurants run gift card specials that can help you save money on the overall cost of the meal and delivery. For instance, when you purchase a $50 Outback Steakhouse gift card, you’ll receive an extra $10 gift card. Purchase a $100 gift card, and you’ll get an additional $20 gift card.

Olive Garden has a similar offer for graduation and Father’s Day, giving away a $10 bonus card with every $50 in gift cards purchased.

Find out: Tips to Get the Most Out of Gift Cards

8. Check restaurant chain websites for coupons

Before you place an order, take time to peruse the website of the restaurant of choice. Many restaurants have coupons and special offers on their site. That way, you can knock down the final meal price to balance out any delivery fees.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC