I love getting takeout, there is not a single takeout place that sells something that I wouldn’t eat. Fries are my absolute favorite food, closely followed by burgers and fried chicken. Normally these foods are always paired together which is a win for me.
It’s usually always more expensive getting takeout than buying the raw ingredients and cooking it yourself. As you are paying for the markup of the food, the building its cooked in, the staff, utilities etc., but sometimes hot food on demand is too hard to ignore.
During the week when I can’t be bothered to make it myself or when we just don’t have any leftovers from the night before (both of which happen frequently) I usually go grab something to eat for lunch when I’m at work. Cost for this can range anywhere from $2.50 up to $15, and the determining factors (ranked by importance) are:
– How cheap I want to be that particular day
– Food quality
Now even if we just take the low end of that, if I ate out every day for lunch thats $12.50 p/w = $50 p/m. Now when you think about it that’s a lot of money. I could pay half my cable or phone bill with that $50, or better yet spend it on paying down my credit card balance.
You can see where I’m going with this particular story “Take the time to make your lunch the night before and you don’t have to spend money to go out to eat blah blah blah”
NO. That’s regular normal boring financial advice (which you should take). I’m here to give stealth saving advice.
Let’s take it up a notch.
Its one of those nights where you and your spouse just don’t feel like cooking and want to get take out, in fact its the third night in a row and take out is getting pretty expensive. Remember the little equation earlier in the article? Well now if you add kids you’re feeding 3, 4, or 5 people. Cost for this can range anywhere from $20 up to $50+. So lets do the math again just for the low end.
If your family had take out just 3 nights in a week at $20, that’s $60 p/w = $240 p/m. That should definitely cover 1 of your monthly recurring bills (phone, cable, electric, water), maybe even 2. Or if you squirreled that away every month that’s $2880 you would have saved in a year.
Now its not as if you are just going to declare to your family that takeout is no longer an option for dinner time, if you had that kind of power you certainly wouldn’t be reading this blog (unless you found the articles funny… which they should be). Chances are you will still eat takeout, but the goal is to lower the frequency at which you do.
Here’s what you do. As always you need to be the go to guy when it comes to getting takeout, if you’re letting your spouse pick it up on the way home this isn’t gonna work. When the conversation comes up that takeout is on the cards for tonight, the first thing you is say “Perhaps I can whip something up with what we have?”, this normally wont work but its worth a shot.
Next is to inquire about what everyone would like. The goal here is to shoot down as many options as possible to only leave 1 (I’ll explain why later). You could say something like “They always mess up our order” or “It wasn’t very good last time”.
When it’s time to go, drive down to the takeout place and sit in the parking lot. I know what you’re thinking, “how am I saving any money if I’m about to go buy takeout”. Well that’s where you’re wrong! Instead of going in and ordering you’re going to give the spouse a call and say the following. “OH MY GOD, I just saw one of the people who work in the kitchens come out of the bathroom without washing their hands, we’re not eating here anymore!”. BAM! you have successfully grossed out your spouse who will not want to feed herself or the kids with possibly urine tainted food, with the added bonus that they may never want to eat there again! There’s also a great chance you won’t end up going somewhere else since you shot down the other options earlier. You can now assume the role of hero and say “let me grab something from the supermarket”, which of course will be significantly cheaper and may yield leftovers tomorrow.
You may think this type of strategy will eventually stop you from eating the takeout you love so much, since your spouse will probably be having nightmares about every takeout place hiring “soap dodgers”.
But just remember, you can always go there for lunch 🙂