I know from experience that overcoming an obsession with Deliveroo can be extremely challenging. You might start the week with the best intentions only for workplace politics, bad news and an argument with your housemates to push you over the age. After a bad day, sometimes the most logical solution is to comfort-order a takeaway – even if you promised yourself you’d break the cycle and save some money. So how can you beat it? Read on to find out how to tackle your Deliveroo addiction and save money.
1. Delete the apps from your phone
Earlier this year I took part in Sohee Lee’s Habit Mastery Challenge, a 4-week programme designed to help people master the art of building great habits. During the challenge, I learned the importance of making it harder to do unwanted behaviours (so in this case, ordering Deliveroo on a whim) while making it easier to adopt good behaviours (eating food I already have at home).
Many of us set ourselves up for failure by making it too easy to do the habits we’d like to break away from. For example, perhaps we have our favourite food delivery apps on our home screens, meaning a Chinese is just a few clicks away
Deleting these apps might not sound that effective, especially if you really love them. After all, it’ll take seconds to reinstall the apps and log into your account.
But the purpose of deleting the apps isn’t to ban yourself from these services completely. Tackling your Deliveroo addiction or UberEats obsession doesn’t have to be an overnight process. It’s not the end of the world if you occasionally reinstall it and make a purchase. Deleting the apps is just a way to add that little bit of friction between you and your impulse purchases.
Hopefully, by adding this extra obstacle and making a takeaway ever so slightly less convenient, next time you pick up your phone and look for that beautiful turquoise kangaroo, you’ll remember that you deleted the app for a reason.
2. Unsubscribe from promo newsletters
Hands up if you struggle to say no to a bargain. My hand is in the air 🤚
You could have the very best intentions only for UberEats to slide into your DMs offering you 20% off your next order.
These deals are designed to trick you into thinking you’re saving money. Let’s be honest with ourselves, now. I don’t care if that burger is 20% less than it was yesterday. If you order a takeaway today that you weren’t planning on buying until you saw that discount code, you’re no better off in terms of money. You’ve spent money, not saved it.
Don’t beat yourself up for falling for these tactics. You’re only human and these tried and tested strategies are designed to make us spend money even when we don’t really want to.
If you fall for this trick time and time again, delete the apps, unsubscribe from promo newsletters and block notifications from these companies. Some offers might still slip through the net and you might order the occasional meal. That’s completely fine. We’re not looking for perfection. We’re looking for improvements and progress!
3. Improve your cooking skills
Back when I used to work full-time and spent at least two hours a day commuting to and from the office, I convinced myself I didn’t have time to cook. It just wasn’t a priority for me and it wasn’t something I was interested in. I like eating, sure, but making my own meals wasn’t on my radar.
As a result, I lived off a very small number of meals. I’d eat ham sandwiches, burgers, and cheesy potatoes. I enjoyed cooking big portions of chilli and butter chicken curry but that was pretty much the extent of my culinary skills. I’d bung all the ingredients into a pan and hope for the best. Although these meals usually turned out nice, eating the same food over and over again got so boring that I’d reach for UberEats etc just to feel alive!
I’d convinced myself I was bad at cooking and therefore barely even tried.
Thankfully, this all changed last year when I allowed myself to experiment a little. I watched some cooking shows. I bought some recipe books. I invested in new kitchen equipment such as a garlic crusher, new spice jars and a Japanese omelette pan. I made a pact with my boyfriend that we’d each learn one new recipe a week and cook it for one another at the weekends.
4. Freeze your fave meals for days you can’t be arsed to cook
I appreciate that for lots of people, finding time to cook delicious and nutritious meals is a challenge. If you work full-time, have kids, or care for others, I completely understand if the last thing you want is to spend an hour in the kitchen every night.
This is where batch cooking and freezing meals can come in useful.
What you wanna do is come up with a list of meals you’re happy to get out of the freezer and reheat. Certain dishes work better than others, in my opinion. Chillies, curries and casseroles are glorious reheated. I tend to cook the potato or rice fresh, rather than freezing them alongside the sauce.
I’ve tried freezing homemade roast dinners and didn’t like those quite as much. You’ve just gotta experiment and find out what works for you.
5. Get your partner or housemates on board by taking it in turns to cook ‘fakeaways’
If you love having other people cook for you, getting your partner or housemates on board could make everyone’s lives easier. Take it in turns to cook while the rest of the household put their feet up. You could set a new theme each month and challenge one another to make the best dishes.
6. Identify your takeaway-ordering triggers
If you want to beat a Deliveroo addiction, ask yourself why you keep turning to these apps. What inspired you to place an order? Are you using them purely to avoid cooking? Do you genuinely just love the meals? Or do you use them when you’re feeling stressed, unhappy or lonely? Identifying your takeaway-ordering triggers can be really effective in tackling the problem.
You might realise that ordering a takeaway is part of a vicious cycle.
For example, for me the cycle sometimes looked like this:
Unproductive morning working from home > stressful afternoon feeling guilty > tell myself I can’t leave the house until I’ve finished my work > no food in the fridge > comfort order a Deliveroo to cheer myself up while I work late into the night.
Once you’ve identified the cycle, you can look for ways to tackle the issues that drive your Deliveroo addiction rather than simply punishing yourself and saying you can no longer comfort yourself with a takeaway.
7. Pay attention to how you actually feel when you order a takeaway
Another thing to think about is how you actually feel when you order a takeaway. Does it taste as good as you imagined it would? How do you feel afterwards? Did it fix the problem you expected it to? If you’re still feeling stressed, unhappy or lonely afterwards, it might be worth looking for other solutions next time you feel these emotions.
I often used to comfort-order a Nando’s. That was until I admitted to myself that it doesn’t taste as good on Deliveroo as it does in the restaurant. This realisation made it a lot easier to resist the temptation going forward.
8. Have comfort foods at the ready
I try to have Goodfella’s pizzas, chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries in my freezer at all times. I prefer to make fries myself from scratch but sometimes you need something you can throw in the oven and have ready in 20 minutes, don’t you?
Once a week I’ll buy a load of chicken breasts from Aldi and grab the packets with the best dates on from the back of the shelf. With the help of a well-stocked spice cupboard, I know I can have delicious chicken wraps or a chicken burger within half an hour.
9. Transfer the amount you usually spend on takeaways into savings on payday
Before you start your delivery app detox, work out how much you usually spend on these services each month. Is it £50? £100? £200?! Whatever it is, start transferring this amount into a separate bank account on payday. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, it may be wise to move the money into an account you can access easily in an emergency. Hopefully, seeing your savings grow over time will remind you why you’re making this change and give you an incentive to keep at it.
10. Ordering takeaways ≠ bad
Remember that ordering takeaways or using food delivery services isn’t automatically a bad thing. Even if you order a Deliveroo every day of the week, it’s only a problem if you feel you’re not in control of your spending, you’re spending more than you can afford or this routine is standing in the way of your goals.
There are some people who order a Deliveroo every day and they don’t see this as an issue because they have a healthy income, they’re saving for their short-term goals, investing for their long-term goals and have their finances under control.
Being good with money isn’t about buying the cheapest of everything. It’s not about giving up all pleasure and enjoyment so you can put money in a Lifetime ISA. It’s simply about spending less on the things that don’t matter to you that much so you can find room in your budget for the things that do.
If you find the tips above helpful and/or you’re struggling with impulse purchases, join my Facebook group Impulse Spenders to join a community of people trying to be more intentional with their outgoings.