As told to PesoMatters
It’s no surprise that we’re huge fans of food delivery apps in our household. We were already huge advocates before the pandemic, ordering milk tea during weekends and fast food meals on cheat days, but ever since March, we’ve come to rely on them so much more. After reviewing last month’s credit card bill and after seeing this article online, I felt inspired to make a change. For a week, I removed both Foodpanda and GrabFood on my phone.
Here’s what happened when I abstained from my favorite food apps for a week:
The first day of the work week has always been an excuse to treat myself. I tell myself that my favorite Tim Hortons or Starbucks drink from Foodpanda or GrabFoodwill make me work harder, but today, I stick to the instant coffee in the kitchen. I save myself P110. Lunch is liempo and sitaw cooked at home, so I don’t shell anything out. It’s the same story for dinner, too.
I congratulate myself for resisting temptation yesterday, but already, I can feel myself wanting to check my options at Foodpanda and GrabFood. Since I uninstalled them before I began this week-long abstinence, however, I have no choice but to get my food fix elsewhere: YouTube. I watch several food videos and suddenly develop a craving for dim sum, which we sadly don’t know how to make at home. On a normal day, I would have ordered Tim Ho Wan’s Baked Buns with BBQ Pork (P213), Pan Fried Radish Cake (P194), Vermicelli Roll with BBQ Pork (P235), Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp (P263), and Beef Ball with Beancurd Skin (P169). Normally, I would have easily justified this because I’d be sharing it with my family, but I don’t. I save P725.
Hump day is traditionally another excuse to order food online. Starbucks and Tim Hortons is almost always on the agenda, and I resist as best as I can. It’s a lot harder though when someone in the family tells you that they’re ordering something from Foodpanda or GrabFood and asks you if you want anything. My immediate answer should have been no, but I stutter and stall for a good 30 seconds before ultimately deciding that I will have to pass. I save myself P110.
Back when I was still going to a physical office to work, I’d often eat out. I never developed the habit of bringing baon—although that would have saved me a lot of money—and neither did most of the people in my family. It’s no wonder that we’re not used to having to come up with our own meals every single day. The rotation grows old fast. Liempo and sitaw, bangus and kalabasa, fried chicken and pechay. This is why food apps have been so integral to our lives—not just mine. Today, I sit in front of the usual ulam and feel a strong urge to just order food online. Pizza sounds really good. At Shakey’s, we always fall back on thin crust Manager’s Choice (P417) and Classic Cheese (P675). I really want to suggest ordering it, but I don’t. I save P1,092.
Finally, the work week is coming to a close. I eat lunch and dinner on autopilot, not wanting to even give myself a chance to think of what exciting food choices there are just a few taps away. However, I do have an e-numan session with friends later. Usually, this means going to Boozy.ph and ordering a Yellow Tail Pink Moscato (P549), and while I technically wouldn’t be ordering from Foodpanda or GrabFood, I make do with water. It’s the principle of the thing.
Weekends are classified as cheat days and while the idea of ordering in sounds really appealing (honestly, when isn’t it?), I decide to make sinangag from yesterday’s leftover rice and cook SPAM and eggs for lunch instead, which, weirdly enough, makes me just as happy as if I ordered something from Army Navy, another weekend favorite. I would have ordered a Steak Burrito (P245) and a Liber Tea (P115). Dinner passes by without incident and I save P360.
The last day of my week-long abstinence can’t have arrived sooner. I’ve been good all week, and so I almost feel “allowed” to slip just once, to order an Avocado Shake (P180) from Avocadoria.ph, which I realize I miss so much, but I hold on to my resolve. I avoid watching food-related content on YouTube and other social media apps and spend the rest of the day watching a drama series on Netflix. Dinner is the usual meat and vegetable combination and I breathe a sigh of relief as the week ends without further incident.
So, all in all, how was the experience? Did I learn anything?
By uninstalling the food apps on my phone for a week, I saved myself a total of P3,126. It’s a lot of money for just seven days, but I attribute this largely to the fact that I have a tendency to rebel against my own rules. The more I tell myself I’m not allowed to do something, the more I want to do it. That said, had I actually spent this much for an entire week, I’d have probably kept it simpler for the rest of the month.
To paint a more accurate picture of how much I actually spend every 30 days, I looked at my Foodpanda and GrabFood bill history for November and saw that combined, I spent a total of P6,870. The month before that, my total bill was more or less the same. It’s a lot of unnecessary spending for a week, a month, a year.
I’ve since installed the food apps back on my phone, but I think I’ll be more conscious of the fact that I’m spending nearly P7,000 on these food apps. Having a number makes it so much more real than just telling myself I spend “too much.”
To get into the habit of spending less, I’ve created an acceptable budget for myself for December, one that I’ll hopefully be able to lower even further in the next few months. I’ve also started involving myself in cooking at home, just so I wouldn’t feel justified in ordering food online all the time. It’s not a huge change, but my priority is sustainability. As they say: slowly but surely