Everything is more expensive these days, even food, and we try to save by cooking more at home, but sometimes, we still want to treat ourselves to a restaurant-cooked meal from time to time. Getting takeout can be on the cheaper side, compared to a full sit-down meal, and fortunately, there are ways to save on takeout. From app rewards to half-homemade meals, these tips will help stretch your takeout budget even further.
- Add frozen veggies - This can work for Chinese takeout as well as a variety of other foods. Just order a meal that’s mostly protein and then make it go further - and make it healthier - by adding some cheap frozen veggies to it.
- Double your meal at Chipotle - Instead of getting a burrito, order a bowl with a tortilla on the side and then ask for an extra portion of non-meat ingredients, like double beans or double rice. Those are free, but you can pay for double meat, if you like, and you’ll end up with two meals, more or less.
- Order the dinner portion at lunch - If a restaurant offers both a lunch and dinner portion, the lunch portion is typically a little smaller and a lot cheaper. But the sides on the dinner portion may be better and it may include more of them, so getting that and splitting it into two meals may be a smarter move. Just be sure to check prices and portion sizes first to see which will get you the most for your money.
- Supply your own sides - When you’re really trying to save, order your entree and cook your own sides at home. If you’re getting KFC, just order the chicken and make the potatoes at home. Or if you’re at a Chinese buffet, fill the takeout box with entrees and cook your own rice at home to go with them.
- Make fried rice - Speaking of rice, when you’ve eaten most of your Chinese leftovers and only have a few bites left in the containers, it’s the perfect amount to combine them with the rice and cook up some fried rice.
- Work the fast food deals - You can definitely save if you know the deals that restaurants offer. Taco Bell has a My Cravings Box that’s only available when you order online and for about $5, it comes with a specialty item, like a chalupa, a classic item, like a taco, a side and a drink. The McDonald’s app also offers deals like a free sandwich or fries with a $1 order, so it’s worth checking out.