There isn’t anything I love more than my Zomato app. What’s better than varieties of food at your fingertips?
Your orders reach in the same hour and you get to put on Netflix and eat your favourite meal. It’s convenient, tasty, and the excitement of having something delivered to your doorstep is enough to make your day. It’s all good, except one thing - it’s addictive. And like any other addiction pans out, this one too takes a toll on your wallet.
Now I know some of you might be okay with spending a certain amount on takeouts because after all, it’s food. It’s essential. Unfortunately, regular takeouts aren’t just expensive on a surface level but can mess up your health in the long run. Overall, ordering in every other day is a pretty expensive habit to maintain.
If you’re worried that you’re addicted to ordering in, the chances of it being true are already high. But the silver lining is that you can start curbing this addiction, right at this moment. Want to stop ordering in every other day? Here's how you can begin:
I know this is the obvious option. And why wouldn’t it be?
Cooking your meals is cheaper and healthier. Sure, it might take an hour of your life now and then, but it’s super cost-effective. It can be unrealistic to aim to cook each meal every day, so it’s alright to give yourself a leeway on days you’re too tired or an emergency has come up.
But try to cook at least once a day. Breakfasts are usually simple and don’t require an elaborate meal prep. So try to take some time out to plan and cook either lunch or dinner in a batch for 2-3 meals at least. You can also plan and prep your meals over the weekend. Cooking full meals and deep-freezing them is also a viable option if the upcoming week seems like a busy one. To add more fun to your cooking journey, try to cook with friends, or put on your favourite music as you cook.
Setting flexible limits can be a lighter way to start making your own food and curbing takeout addiction. For example, try telling yourself that you can order in only four times a month. If you want a more structured limit, then set aside a date and time for this.
A softer limitation would be along the lines of ordering in whenever, but as soon as the overall number of orders exceeds, you need to delete the app for the month, or whatever time period you set. This option gives you the flexibility to choose when to order, and also the direct consequences of excessively ordering in.
Deleting all your food delivery apps is easier said than done. But let’s say you’ve tried restricting yourself and cooking instead, and nothing seems to have worked, then this can be the next step.
Of course, doing this will come with withdrawals, which could look like finding the next passable reason to download the apps. If deleting the apps sounds too extreme, try resetting them and deleting all your payment info from them, or try to link them to an account with just minimum money. This way, you won’t feel too anxious by not having access to these apps, and won’t overspend on ordering in.
Cooking your own food is the biggest favour you can do to yourself, but it’s also difficult. If you are in an extremely packed phase of your life, try to find alternatives that aren’t ordering in. Tally how much you spend on ordering in, and find a meal subscription from one place which is actually in your budget. You could also think of hiring a cook, but if you don’t have the time to stock up on groceries yourself, it could be a bit of a stretch.
What difference does having a meal plan make? Unlike ordering in, your food will be cooked from one source and with consistency. Financially, with each order you have, you also pay varying taxes and fees. A customised meal plan will charge this all at once, and at a reduced rate. There will also be a scope of getting discounts on your plans.
Let’s say you’ve been wanting to take a trip, and are actively saving for it. The next time you’re planning on ordering in, try to evaluate how this affects your goals. Open up your account history and check how much you’ve spent on ordering in the last month. Add it all up and think of the other things you could do with this amount. Maybe if this amount was added to your savings, that little bump your goal needs could be met easier.
Another good way to evaluate how much you spend is by comparing it with your hourly income. If it’s the same or more, you know you have a problem.
Convenience, reasonable prices, and taste are great standalone factors. And can actually work out really well when you’re in need of a quick bite or just want to treat yourself.
Ordering in now and then isn’t worrisome. It’s when you make a habit out of it, especially when you can’t afford to. It’s a difficult journey to reset yourself, but try to take help from friends who can keep you in check on the days you can’t.
Remember that if you’ve identified ordering in as a problem, it’s already time for you to be acting on it.