Tricks for getting free (or cheap!) takeaway food

free takeaway food

With food prices seemingly always on the rise, these are tough times in which to be a hungry student. TV chefs will advise healthy eating, but that often comes with a hefty price tag. Even if you’ve got the knowledge to source and cook good food economically, there’s the time to consider. When people are finding their feet then the basics of living can be a major distraction.

Takeaway food is the short-term answer. The nutritional content is a topic always up for debate, and we don’t recommend that you live off takeaway food all the time! However, given that you can have it brought right to your door via the magic of apps, takeaway food can provide a quick fill in, once in a while, when you have a tight hand-in deadline. And if you know how to play the system, you can even score some of these takeaway treats for free. Here is our guide on how to bag a takeaway meal without hurting your wallet…

Work in a restaurant

Firstly as a cash-strapped student you might want to combine stuffing your face with gainful employment. This is the best of both worlds… discount food and a wage! Working in a restaurant or café gives you access to the menu with money off and freebies in some cases. Check out local listings to see what roles are on offer.

cheap takeaway food

Work for online delivery companies

If standing around serving customers is not the job for you, then why not get on your bike and work with companies like Deliveroo? They have been helping despatch takeaways to impatient diners for years, and being part of their organisation means you can enjoy goodies at a discount. However, entering the ‘gig economy’ has its cons, and it’s well worth reading up about the situation before you decide to park your bike outside their offices.

deliveroo discounts

Amazing apps

Should you prefer eating to working then delivery sites for that very purpose are available with just a swipe of your finger. One of the best known is Hungryhouse, who collect local takeaway menus and put them on a streamlined platform through which you can easily obtain food. Simply supply your uni e-mail address (which has to end in “”) to get 20% off an order. They then send you details of further offers, doing the legwork so that takeaway fix is always in your inbox. Read more about it here.

Hungryhouse is owned by Just Eat, another recognisable takeaway platform. They too are keen to provide cheap offers to students. Currently they will give you a whopping £15 cashback on the first takeaway order you place through them. This is supplied by TopCashback, which has become a vital way of attracting custom for many businesses. They take the commission they receive for referring you to a variety of eateries and pass it directly to you as cashback. To get the deal you have to sign up with them. Read more about the offer here.

justeat free £15 takeaway

Play the competition

A key thing to remember about the takeaway market is that it’s extremely competitive. This can naturally be used to your advantage, should you wish to cross that line. Without sounding too flippant, it is amazing what hunger, or even the desire for a quick and tasty meal, will drive you to! As you’ve read online, delivery services offer various deals to tempt you into that first purchase, but the calorie-laden fun doesn’t have to end there.

Let’s take the example of codes. Some companies give you a promo code or coupon that knocks off further pennies if you refer a friend. Both you and your pal get money off as a result. These further savings can be boosted if you follow this next straightforward step. There are websites like RetailMeNot on which codes can be posted and used by literally anyone, so when all those helpful “friends” click on the deal the benefits can really pile up in your inbox. In fact there are cases of people eating three square meals a day on the basis of this trick!

It’s also worth checking whether the company monitors the cards you use to pay for things. If it doesn’t then fair game - as long as you don’t mind creating multiple e-mail addresses then you can sign up to the provider as a ‘new’ customer and enjoy the same discount over and over, paying with the same piece of plastic.

We hope you’ve found this guide useful. Remember to eat some fresh veggies every now and then!

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