When you make a purchase, CNN earns a commission.

Fast Food: How to Save Money on Food Delivery

Published:Jul 15, 2021
5 mins reading time

Are you on a tight budget? Want to enjoy your favorite food without blowing it on one meal? We’ve got you covered. Check out these tips to save money on food delivery services.

Enjoy Your Favorite Food on a Budget With These 7 Sneaky Tips to Save Money on Food Delivery Services

Food delivery services are a 21st century blessing. Too tired to go out or whip up something at home? No worries, you can order your favorite food and have it delivered to your door.

However, answering your delivery prayers can be expensive. Not only do you have to consider the cost of the meal, but you also have to pay delivery charges, services fees, sales tax and tip.

Lucky for you, there are ways to save money. We’ve compiled a list of six practical tips that can help cut down the cost of food delivery. Interested in finding out how? Keep reading.

1. Compare Prices

One of our best tips is to shop around, because many restaurants partner with more than one delivery service. You might be surprised to find you can get the same food for less by using different food delivery apps.

Food delivery apps calculate prices in unique ways. For instance, some apps charge an additional fee on top of delivery and service charges. Plus, the restaurants themselves can tack on extra fees or charge higher prices for meals ordered through an app. The extra costs might not be a considerable amount individually, but added together, they can make a significant difference in bumping up your order total.

Similarly, some apps have minimum order limits, forcing you to add items you don’t really want. Before you know it, you’ve spent more than you initially planned.

We recommend checking multiple apps to see where you can find the best deal. Choose apps that have a lower minimum order thresholds and don’t have hidden fees.

2. Look for Coupons and Promo Codes

It’s pretty standard to look for coupons and promo codes. They can help reduce the price on virtually everything from clothes and shoes to computers and appliances, and it’s no different when ordering food.

Food delivery is a very competitive business, so the major players regularly offer discounts and promotions to attract customers. Before you place your order through a food delivery app, take a minute to check for promo codes.

You can quickly and easily find coupons for food delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats on CNN Coupons, so make sure to bookmark our page.

For up-to-the-minute deals, follow your favorite food delivery service on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. It’s also a good idea to subscribe to the company’s email newsletter. You’ll get all the latest promotions and even exclusive promo codes delivered right to your inbox.

3. Get a Subscription

If you order food through delivery apps several times a month, you should consider signing up for a subscription. Subscribers often pay no extra delivery fees and receive special coupons and promo codes.

Almost every food delivery app offers subscriptions with unlimited free delivery and other additional benefits. With subscription fees starting around $10 per month, it’s worth considering if you’re a frequent user. You’ll recoup that cost over the next two or three orders, depending on the fee for each delivery.

For example, Postmates charges a $5.99 flat delivery fee. However, their subscription plan, Postmates Unlimited, offers free delivery when you spend $20 or more. You can easily hit that minimum with two burritos and an order of queso.

Keep in mind that the more often you use the service, the more value you’ll get out of your subscription.

4. Use a Local Delivery Service

When it comes to food delivery services, there are an overwhelming number of options to choose from. Most people tend to stick to a particular app when ordering food, because it’s familiar and convenient.

However, you can save money when you order from a different delivery service, especially a local one. These companies might not service a lot of restaurants, but they are more efficient and better with local spots.

And, because they’re smaller, local delivery services also offer exciting promotions and discounts to attract new customers. So, before you order from a nearby restaurant, see if there’s a local option available. Then, check it out and see if you can find a discount.

5. Invite Your Friends

Another way to save a few dollars while ordering food through delivery apps is to invite friends to download the app or sign up for the service.

For instance, Grubhub has a referral policy that allows existing customers to invite up to 20 friends in exchange for discount codes. Other delivery services have a similar approach, where both you and your friend can get a discount when they place their first order through the app.

If you’re the one who hasn’t tried a food delivery app yet, but you have a friend who uses it, ask them to refer you. Then, both of you will be eligible for a reward.

With these referrals, you can earn points, promo codes and even free food. Sounds like a delicious win-win.

6. Watch Out for Double-Tipping

Many food delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash include the delivery person’s tip in your total when you check out. These tips are sometimes as much as 20% of the order, but a lot of customers don’t pay attention. Then, they end up tipping more when the delivery person arrives.

We recognize how valuable delivery drivers are, and we fully support tipping them well. But, if the tip is already included, there’s no need to add on a second one. Carefully review the receipt when placing your order through the food delivery app, and then tip accordingly.

7. Pay With a Credit Card

One of the best things about having a credit card is the savings you get just by using it. Most credit card companies offer lucrative discounts and rewards to their customers. This even applies to discounts on food delivery services.

For instance, Apple Card has a partnership with Uber Eats where card members earn 3% cash back on orders. Similarly, you can get the two-year DoorDash membership fee waived by using a Chase Sapphire Credit Card.

Food delivery services can help you save time. When you use these tips we shared above, you can also save money. So turn off the stove and pick up your phone to have dinner delivered in a hurry.

Savings Expert Team - Global Savings Group

Written by

Savings Expert Team

Our Savings Expert Team is a group of bargain hunters who all work together to compile up-to-date information on the latest deals.

Specialised topics

Our team covers everything from technology and home appliances to travel and kids toys. There's nothing we haven't shopped for or found savings on!

Recommended articles

Living on the Cheap: The 5 Best Money-Saving Tips for College Students

Living on the Cheap: The 5 Best Money-Saving Tips for College Students

Savings Expert TeamMay 21, 2021

Remember the time your friends were going out for drinks, but you couldn’t join them because you barely had money to survive until the end of the month? Yeah, we’ve all been there at some point in our college lives. But don’t worry, with these tips, you’ll be able to join the fun any time.

7 Ways to Save Money on Pizza Delivery

7 Ways to Save Money on Pizza Delivery

Savings Expert TeamAug 5, 2021

Love having pizza? Wish you knew all the best ways to save money on your order? Check out this article to see how you can get pizza delivery for less.

Fall Entertaining: The Best Deals on Outdoor Furniture to Transform Your Space

Fall Entertaining: The Best Deals on Outdoor Furniture to Transform Your Space

Savings Expert TeamSep 15, 2023

As the leaves begin to change and the temperatures start to drop, now is the time to transform your outdoor space to make the most of sunny fall days and chilly autumn nights. Whether you're looking to create a cozy corner to entertain a few friends or update a sprawling patio for hosting fall fetes, you’ll need some new outdoor furniture. To help you make the most of your outdoor oasis without breaking the bank, we've scoured Bed Bath and Beyond, Ballard Designs, and Build.com to find the best deals on outdoor furniture.