I’m not your typical financial educator.
I order food delivery whenever my life demands it.
This is in conflict with what is often taught by most experts on those websites and personal finance advice articles that are geared toward individuals who are in need of pinching pennies or enjoy taking extreme cost-cutting measures.
I have often felt that quite a few of these articles don’t take into consideration opportunity cost, defined as the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Just because something saves you money doesn’t mean it saves you time — after all, the saying is true that time is money.
Know your worth
Most people don’t know what their time is worth to them, so it’s difficult for them to understand their opportunity cost. As an entrepreneur, I set my rates for contracts and partners based on the amount of hours it would take to complete the project, so I have a good understanding of what an hour or two of my time is worth (for me, it’s more valuable than the $30-to-$50 it might cost to order my family’s dinner from a restaurant).
Early in my business, I worked with a coach to help me streamline my business and processes. One of the things she stressed was releasing myself from non-productive tasks, also referred to as busy work. I don’t categorize food as non-productive because nourishment is a core element for our survival. That said, sometimes cooking my meals for myself and my family is not the most productive task for me. If it makes my life easier, ensures that my family is eating a quality meal and allows me to rest my mind and body, I order in.
Unlike other chores (such as laundry), it can be difficult to multitask when cooking, especially given my family’s dietary needs. Hearty casseroles and crock pot recipes suggested for working moms on social media are often high in calories or contain ingredients that don’t work for everyone in our household.
My life today looks very different from when I started My Fab Finance in 2013. At the beginning of my financial journey, I was a single woman who lived in New York City with only herself to care for. Today I’m a mother, wife and the CEO of two businesses. Food delivery has also been critical during our major life transitions, such as when our son was born two years ago. As new parents, we struggled the first few weeks to take care of ourselves. One of the best gifts we received was a gift card for Grubhub that we could use on the days we didn’t have enough energy to prepare food for ourselves.
Our most recent transition has been a cross-country move during the pandemic. It took nearly four weeks for our items to arrive at our new home. We anticipated this delay and budgeted for the delivery of food so that eating would be the last of our worries as new homeowners. Choosing to do this has enabled us to explore different options in our new community while remaining mindful of social distancing and safety measures.
Here’s what I do
In 2013 I valued my money. In 2020, I value my time and my money, because I realize that properly managing my time enables me to focus on properly operating my businesses and maintaining the quality of life I have worked to achieve. And food delivery certainly helps me do that.
Here are some tips to make ordering food delivery cost-effective, so that you can be financially savvy while letting the chefs at your favorite restaurants handle all the cooking:
Opt to pick up: Delivery fees can add up, but you can avoid these if you select the option to pick the food up at the restaurant and arrange for you or someone else in your family to pick up your order. During the pandemic, I’ve loved this option for ordering quality food on the go for an impromptu picnic in the park.
Take advantage of deals: Seek out programs such as Grubhub Perks, which offer customers deals such as free delivery and dollars off at a variety of restaurants. These savings add up and — even better — they’re updated daily, so you’ll always be able to discover something new.
Remain consistent with your service of choice: Rather than hopping around to different delivery services, remaining consistent with one allows you to build up loyalty points quicker, which could also save you money over time.
Enroll in a membership program if dining out is a big portion of your budget: Speaking of Grubhub, it recently rolled out an industry-leading membership program, which includes unlimited free delivery and exclusive access to new Perks. Programs like these help cut costs that can add up to a lot of savings.
Download the Grubhub app to discover Perks: always on deals, free food and rewards from local restaurants and national favorites. With over 300,000 restaurants nationwide, you can discover something new wherever you are and see which of your favorite restaurants are offering Perks. Click here to learn how to make every delivery more rewarding with Grubhub Perks.
This article was paid for by Grubhub and co-created by RYOT Studio. HuffPost editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.