7 Signs Your Takeout Habit Has Gone Too Far
Takeout. Delivery. The very words get my stomach growling. The promise of a tasty dinner with no prep work and no dishes to wash — not to mention a meal where family members all get to choose their own dishes — is so tantalizing that I would order out every night if I could afford it. And apps and websites such as DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, Seamless, and Foodler make succumbing to temptation even easier.
Can you afford all this takeout and delivery, though? Probably not, because even if you're rolling in cash, eating restaurant food every night can take its toll on your health and your cooking skills — and especially your budget.
So, is it time to delete those food delivery apps from your phone? If more than three of these sounds like you, the answer is a double yes with extra cheese. (See also: All the Modern Ways You Can Order Pizza)
1. Deliveries have turned your home into a traffic hot spot
You keep having to change the batteries in your doorbell. The city put a five-minute loading zone at the curb in front of your house. Single neighbors who can't hit the delivery minimum on their own frequently piggyback on your orders. And the first time they told you they couldn't meet the delivery minimum, you were utterly baffled as to what that struggle must feel like since it's never been a problem for you.
2. Takeout containers are piling up
Your kids are able to make three-bedroom igloos in the backyard out of white Styrofoam containers. Your building has a sign in the hallway forbidding pizza boxes in the trash chute, and it mentions you by name. You have come up with 10,000 uses for spare wooden chopsticks and have dedicated kitchen drawers for condiment packets and plastic cutlery. Instead of a tablecloth, your dining room table is protected by a thick, cushiony layer of receipts. And your kids bring their lunches to school in large white or brown bags with your address scribbled on them in Sharpie.
3. You know the delivery drivers too well
You know to never order sushi on a Tuesday because that driver lets the dipping sauce slosh all over the tempura. When you went two weeks without ordering, the DoorDash driver stopped by to check on you. You're so tight with the drivers that they stop by your house between deliveries to use your bathroom or play a quick game of cribbage.
4. Your addiction has changed your relationship with technology
Your phone is so full of restaurant phone numbers that you have accidentally ordered at least three kinds of cuisine with your butt. When your phone rings, you immediately open your front door. (This is why you always sound disappointed if it's a friend calling.) Your mother spoofed her number to appear as Gary's Gyros on your caller ID, just so you'll take her calls.
5. You find yourself going to great lengths to maintain the thrill that drew you to takeout to begin with
You keep a stash of foreign currency so you can tip natively for each ethnic cuisine. (The drivers hate you for this.) When a new takeout place opens in town, you ferret out their phone number before they open for business so you can place the first order.
6. You have forgotten the food gathering skills you'd need to survive in the wild
You just found out that your oven doesn't work — and you've been living in your home for 12 years. Last time you were in a grocery store, Nestle Quik was still sold in a metal can.
7. You and your family are way too good at ordering takeout
You just ordered a No. 4, a No. 17, and a double order of No. 23 — without consulting the menu. Your baby's first words were, "extra spicy." Ordering online takes less than 10 seconds because your favorite meal is already saved for every area restaurant.
Have you gone too far?
If you recognized yourself in any three of the above — seek help. At the least seek out some frugal dining advice that's only a click away:
- How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save
- 10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers
- 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies
- 12 Instant Pot Recipes That Will Save You Money
- 25 Quick and Easy Dinners (Plus 5 Delicious Desserts!)
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