Author Topic: FREE FOOD - Saving Money on Food in Big Cities  (Read 1460 times)


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FREE FOOD - Saving Money on Food in Big Cities
« on: January 19, 2019, 09:29:11 AM »
Hi all!  For those of us living in big cities (I'm currently in NYC), we know the frustrations of having a high cost of living.  To offset my rent expenses, I am always looking to save money in any way I can.  Among my friend and work group, I've become the go-to guy for finding significantly discounted (and often free) meals.  I'm able to eat as well as others at a fraction of the cost.  Here's how I do it:

- Ritual: This is one of my most used phone apps.  Ritual allows you to place an order in advance and pick it up when ready.  The beauty of Ritual is that it covers tons of restaurants that give you $5 off your first order.  I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a $5 snack for free or bought a filling meal priced at $8 for only $3, all while trying a wide variety of new restaurants. Ritual allows you to accumulate points for purchases made on the app, which translates into spending credit.  For example, since I work at an investment management firm and consistently stay past 8pm (after which I can expense dinner), I will buy my dinner on Ritual and expense it to accumulate points (think of it as the equivalent of frequent flier miles).  Ritual also runs great promos on occasion (Ritual Eats Week, free coffee for the month after a minimum number of purchases, extra points for elite status, etc.). Here is my referral code for $10 off your first order:

- Food for All: This phone app, which is somewhat new and off the radar, is working to reduce food waste by offering surplus food from restaurants for a cheaper price (great mission!).  It offers a select number of meals each day from participating restaurants at 50%+ off.  Most of the meals offered are $10-12 regular price, but only $5-6 on the app.  While the selection is not quite as strong as Ritual, it acts as a perfect complement.  The only downside is that restaurants set specific window times for when their meals are offered (unlike Ritual, which restaurants sell on from open to close).  Regardless, this is my second favorite food app and a great one to add to your repertoire.  Here is my referral code for your first free meal: justi1398

- Allset: This phone app is designed for those looking to make reservations.  However, it also showcases a number of restaurants that have "counter service" and thus operates in fast casual too.  Allset runs nice promotions from time to time.  This week, for example, it pushed a promo for $5 off your next order through Saturday (today).  At the same time, it is also running a great promo for $5 off each order at quite a few selected restaurants.  As you can imagine, I will be combining both codes to get $10 off tonight's dinner (should make my meal basically free).  While Allset does not quite offer the same level of discounts as Ritual or Food for All, it certainly comes in handy.  Here is my referral code for $10 off your first order: YYSJ24

- LevelUp: You've probably noticed the white LevelUp pay scanners set up at most fast casual restaurants, as LevelUp is becoming more and more popular.  This phone app offers rewards for a number of participating restaurants (think ~$5 off).  While the selection for rewards / discounts is generally not as impressive as Ritual, Food for All, or Allset, the app is still quite useful.  The convenience is a nice value add too, as you can simply have the cashier scan the QR code on your phone to pay.  I would highly recommend this app, but perhaps not quite as strongly as the others.

- Restaurant-Specific Apps: In addition to using the above phone apps, I also regularly download apps for fast casual restaurants.  Many of these apps will offer a ~$5 credit to use with your first purchase on the app.  Others will push or email discounts / free meals on occasion, so it helps to regularly be on the lookout for these.  I have gotten countless discounted or free meals through this outlet (in addition to spam, so it's best to sign up with an alternate email address).

I have thought about using various meal services as well.  Most of these seem to offer more premium food and, thus, higher prices.  Of those that are more affordable, I have read that some are able to justify these lower prices by giving lower portions.  I am not interested in smaller meal portions and feel that for each of the phone apps I've identified, I am given equal portion sizes as those same meals purchased at full price.  For now, I think I've located some of the better food apps for saving money.  My thinking is that if you'll need to eat anyway, may as well save a few bucks in the process.  Please share if you have found any similar apps.  Thanks, and hope this is helpful!