My Smartest Tip for Saving Money on Takeout

published Mar 23, 2017
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My husband and I rely on takeout more often than I’d like to admit. If I haven’t had the time to meal plan (or grocery shop) for the week, chances are we’re having cereal or takeout for dinner. One of those things can be inexpensive (two boxes for $5? Yes, please!), while the other can add up — very quickly.

Luckily, we’ve figured out one little hack to help us keep our weekly food bills under budget.

My Smartest Takeout Tip: Order the Lunch Special

Whenever possible, if we know we’re going to have takeout, we pick up lunch specials during the day to reheat later for dinner. Because most restaurants offer crazy good deals to draw in the crowds during the day.

For example, there’s an Indian restaurant we love that offers a vegetarian option (we usually get chana saag!), plus a giant container of rice and naan for less than $10. We’ve priced it out: Buying all those things a la carte at dinner time would cost almost $18. That’s a big difference!

A lunch special with chicken costs just a few dollars more, so we get that too and, because they’re still dinner-sized portions, we almost always have leftovers, which means I don’t have to spend more money on lunch the next day!

We also have a go-to Thai place that has pad Thai, a salad, miso soup, and a little bonus veggie roll for just $9. It’s so much food! For so little money! The nighttime price of those things would be $20.

Then there’s the sushi place with a similarly great deal. And this place with amazing Italian sandwiches. And a few Chinese food places we like to work into the rotation.

The point? There are a lot of options with a lot of ways to save. And because we pick these meals up during our lunch break, we don’t have to deal with post-work laziness of wanting it to be delivered (which often comes with added fees and necessary tips).

Do you save lunch specials for dinner? If you do, what’s your go-to?