Everyone loves going out for a meal every now and again or staying in their pyjamas and ordering a takeaway. Especially during the winter months, we often go out for festive meals with family, friends and work. In addition, we are more likely to want to snuggle up in front of the TV with a blanket and a Chinese takeaway to save us having to get up off the sofa and cook a meal.
As lovely as going out for a meal or getting a takeaway can be, the pennies and the pounds certainly add up. The average Briton is spending around £1,320 on takeaways per year, equal to around £110 per month. The average Domino’s pizza costs around £11.93 but ASDA, Sainsburys and Tesco sell frozen pizzas for less than £2.50.
Instead of missing out altogether, this guide will take you through ways to save money on eating both in and out.
Save money on takeaways
First, let’s focus on takeaways. We know that getting a takeaway can be the highlight of your week, a chance to relax and sample a range of cuisines from Chinese and Indian to Sushi and Italian. So why suffer because you are a bit tight for cash?
Ordering online can open up a world of opportunities for you and your bank balance. Not only is ordering your takeaway online far more convenient, but it also gives you the chance to use promo codes.
Websites such as Just Eat, Hungry House and Deliveroo allow you to browse through their regularly updated menus on a variety of different takeaway shops and restaurants which offer a takeaway service. You can place an order from the comfort of your sofa and get it delivered straight to your door.
On each of these sites, there are often promotions due to the competition out there. This can be anything from freebies to 25% off the food bill.
Sign up to text or email updates
Sometimes you can miss the best deals by simply not being aware of them. By signing up to email, text alerts and just following your favourite restaurants on social media, you can receive the week’s best deals with a code to enter at check out or over the phone (some are only valid online).
For example, Domino’s often offers great deals such as 50% off everything when you spend a certain amount or an incredible meal deal consisting of pizzas, sides and dessert. Unless you regularly check the website, you may miss this deal.
Make it last
Most of the time there is a minimum spend on a takeaway service. If you are getting a takeaway for one, this may be hard to reach. While you are technically spending more money in one go, it may be wise to match or exceed this amount for the purposes of stretching out the takeaway over a few days. In the long run, this will save you money on lunches and dinners that week.
There are some foods that keep well and still taste great the next day. Who doesn’t love the little boxes of Chinese takeaway in fridge the following day? If you do want to save your leftovers, make sure they are cooled quickly, refrigerated and reheated properly ensuring all the food is heated evenly.
If you share dishes, you can have more variety for less spend. This way you can also make up the minimum spend. Ordering a dish of your choice each then putting them out for all to share is a perfect way of having a full meal for less – you can split the price equally and get more food than if you had your own, individual dishes. Perfect foods for sharing include Indian, Chinese and buckets of chicken.
Save money on restaurants
It may seem less possible to save money on restaurants as they tend to be a more expensive experience and have the added fee of a tip on top of the bill. However, there are ways that you can save serious money when eating at a restaurant.
For those who want to have a tipple with their meal, check out which places offer a “happy hour” on their cocktails, wines, beers and spirits. A lot of restaurants offer a set time frame (5pm-7pm for example) in which they offer their drinks at a lower rate or offer a “2 for 1” deal. Be sure to see what time places offer their happy hour and book your table within this time.
Having a Taste Card can save you a lot of money if you go to certain restaurants. Some examples of places you can go to eat for cheaper with a taste card are; Zizzi, ASK Italian, Pizza Express and even independent places, depending on your location.
The Taste Card can give you 50% off your food bill or 2 for 1 on meals – the deal depends on the restaurant, availability and when you want to go so check which one a particular place has subscribed to.
Groupon has long been hailed the king of all things discounted. Groupon offers some amazing deals on restaurants and drinks. You can search according to your area and potentially visit restaurants that you did not know existed. Be sure to check the terms as the discounted rate may only apply once a certain number of people have purchased the deal or based on certain times e.g. not on Saturdays.
Sign up to email or text alerts
Like with takeaways, signing up to mailing lists for restaurants can have its benefits. Again, you can receive all the latest deals and some places actually offer specific deals to those who are on their mailing lists – VIP treatment!
Some restaurants even give you deals around the date of your birthday. For example, in 2017, Zizzi offered15% off and a free bottle of prosecco to those on their mailing list on their birthday, valid for around a month.
Yes, it can be annoying having your inbox filled up with marketing emails. However, if it can save you a decent amount of money it is sure to be worth it and you can always unsubscribe from mailing lists when you choose to. We suggest signing up to your top 5 restaurants, rather than signing up to everything – to prevent receiving too much mail which you may be far less likely to even open to see the deal.
At Uncle Buck, we are an established payday loans company and have a passion for helping people save money and get on top of their finances. For more useful tips, visit our blog section.