If you want to save money on your weekly takeaway, we have five top tips that might save you hundreds of pounds a year, depending on the circumstances. Pick and choose the ideas that work for you.
We've estimated potential savings for each tip, assuming you use it for a weekly takeaway 52 times per year (once a week).
1. Don't buy drinks from the restaurant
Potential savings: £65 to £75 per person per year
It's one thing to pay a markup on food, since the restaurant is preparing it for you. But we think paying a markup on soft drinks is a waste of money.
We just surveyed a dozen restaurants from Just Eat and found that the average price of a 330 ml Coca Cola is £1.73, ranging from £0.80 up to £2.80 depending on restaurant. If you instead buy a 10-pack of 330 ml cans of Coke from Tesco, each can only costs £0.45 each. If you order takeaway once a week, that's a savings of £66.56 each year. Save even more money buying a store's own brand cola. An 8-pack of 330 ml Tesco cola cans costs £1.89, or £0.24 per can. Over a year's worth of weekly takeaways you could save £77.48, per person.
2. Check multiple delivery services
Potential savings: depending on restaurant, £50 to £300 per person per year
Our recent study, Just Eat vs. Deliveroo: Choose This One and you may Save 20%, we found that ordering from restaurants that are on both Deliveroo and Just Eat will nearly always cost less on Just Eat. About half the time, the food is cheaper by roughly 20%, depending on the restaurant. The other half of the time (when the food's the same price), you're still likely to save over £1 per week with Just Eat due to lower delivery charges for most restaurants.
3. Buy bigger sizes
Potential savings: £100 to £200 per year per person
At many restaurants, you'll get discounts if you buy larger sizes—whether that's 10 pieces of chicken instead of 5, large fries instead of regular or a large pizza instead of a small. Either share with a friend or save the leftovers for lunch the next day.
For example, a Domino's 13.5" large pizza is 2X bigger than a 9.5" small pizza, but you'll only pay around 1.4X more for a large (a large Margherita costs £13.99 whereas a small costs £9.99). If you're ordering with a friend, instead of buying two smalls for £28 you can get one large for £20 and share. That's savings of £8 on one weekly order, or £400 per year split over 2 people. If you disagree on toppings, most pizza places let you split the pizza toppings 50/50 so everyone gets what they want.
4. Look out for combo deals
Potential savings: variable, £50 to £100 per year per person
Depending on the restaurant, buying a combo deal might get you a soft drink (for less than the prices we mentioned in tip 1), plus you'll usually get a side (e.g., chips) included. It's not unusual to find savings of 10% to 20%, or £1 to £2 on a £10 meal.
5. Test restaurants with cheaper deals
Potential savings: variable, £50 to £400 per year per person
We personally love the taste of Five Guys, but if you're on a tight budget you won't want to pay £17.45 for a double cheeseburger with small fries and a soft drink from Deliveroo. Instead, you can get a Wimpy burger from Just Eat for half the price (assuming you have a friend or family member order as well to reach the £15 minimum delivery amount). Browsing around a delivery service website can be a great way to discover new, more economical meal choices.
Not only can these tips help you reduce any outstanding debt you have, but they can help you to set aside money for a debt-free Christmas this year!