What happens when you decide to cut the delivery cold turkey?

In this digital day and age, almost anything is available with the click of a button. Hungry for lunch? Open up one of your food delivery apps and get your poke bowl delivered to your door. Don’t have time to grocery shop? Open another app and have your fridge filled within a matter of hours. Just don’t feel like cleaning your room and want someone else to do it for you? I’m sure there’s an app for that, too.

And recently, I had fallen quite guilty of using and abusing these delivery apps. I found myself getting busier and busier, and therefore with less and less time to do the things I was supposed to be doing each week; things like going grocery shopping, picking up food for my dog, or even just stopping by the local drugstore for toothpaste. And thanks to all of these oh-so-convenient delivery apps, I didn’t actually have to do any of those time consuming tasks that had piled up on my many to-do lists. I was ordering delivery for lunch and dinner (when I wasn’t eating out at restaurants with friends or for work) every single day; Amazon Prime-ing all of my household goods; and even having someone else go to Whole Foods to pick up food for my pup. Yes, I was “saving time”, but I was also spending a crazy amount of money on delivery and service charges, not to mention tips. And more than the money, I just felt bad about not doing things for myself. I had gotten to a place where I relied on these delivery apps for everything I did on a day-to-day basis, and it just didn’t feel right.

I knew that I wanted to make a change, so I decided to go do something drastic. I went cold turkey and deleted all of my delivery apps. At first I didn’t know how long I could last, but I made a promise to myself to keep them off my phone for at least one month. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be a self-sufficient person again, and also see what changes it would bring about in my life. So, I documented the process, and am finally ready to share what it was like to delete delivery from my life for a whole month.

Got My Budget Back on Track

One of the biggest reasons that I wanted to try this out was because I could see how expensive this “get everything delivered” lifestyle was. I always try to be smart with my money, and having breakfast, lunch, and dinner delivered wasn’t working within my budget. So, once I deleted these apps and started grocery shopping weekly, making all of my own food (kind of… more on that later) and actually going to my local Target to pick up toiletries instead of ordering them online, I immediately saw a difference in my bank account balance.

Became Pickier with My Purchases

Not only did I notice that I was spending so much less money on food and household items when I was buying them myself, but I also realized pretty quickly that I was being a lot more thoughtful with what I actually purchased. It can be so easy to overspend when you’re ordering something online; whether it’s a meal through a delivery app, some new clothes from your favorite online store, or adding items to your cart on Amazon. Instead of picking up things that I just kind of wanted, I was now only buying things that I needed. For the most part… I may have made a couple of splurge purchases during that month, and when I did I noticed that it felt a little luxurious, which I think is nice to have every once in a while.

Managed My Time More Efficiently

Before I deleted delivery from my life, I really believed that there were not enough hours in the day for me to work, have a social life, AND make it to the grocery store once or twice a week. I proved myself wrong pretty quickly, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s all about time management, and once I knew that having everything I needed delivered to my door by a stranger wasn’t an option, I organized my days differently and started scheduling time to get stuff done. Instead of working through my lunch break, I’d take a quick trip to my neighborhood Trader Joe’s and stock up on food for the week. I started waking up a little bit earlier, and getting errands out of the way before starting my workday so that after work I could focus on the fun stuff. The best part was that my improved time management skills trickled into other aspects of my life. I was making more time to see friends and fit in workout classes, and all of a sudden it seemed like there finally were enough hours in the day to get it all done.

Learned to Cook (a little bit…) and to Eat Healthier

Much to my parents’ disappointment, I don’t love to cook. I never have, and I quite possibly never will. However, being stranded without my beloved delivery services made getting in the kitchen a must. I decided that I would keep it simple, find dishes that I loved, and do my best to make as many of my meals myself as possible. First, I decided that instead of picking up a smoothie from my local juice bar every morning, I would begin making my own. So, with my friend Kelly’s BeWellSmoothie formula in hand (and my brand new Nutribullet), I got to work. Trust me when I tell you that even if you’re a terrible cook, you can make an amazing smoothie. But what about lunch and dinner? Well, I dove into the LC.com archives and tried to find a few recipes that seemed easy enough that even I could make them. Some of my favorites that I’ve made recently are Shrimp Scampi Zoodles, Collard Wraps, and Truffled Avocado, Tomato and Hearts of Palm Salad. One thing I realized quite quickly was that when I was actually preparing my own meals, I started eating healthier foods. When I was ordering food off of a menu, I’d turn a blind eye to what was actually going into my meal and rather focused on what would taste the best. But when I started preparing my own food and seeing exactly what ingredients were going into everything I made, I immediately started making better choices.

Got Into a Workout Routine

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that at the same time that I deleted delivery, I also got back into my workout routine. All of a sudden I was finding the time for the things that I stopped doing when I got “too busy”, and I got right back into the swing of things. And since I was managing my time so much better, I realized that if I worked out with friends, I’d kill two birds with one stone; get my daily cardio in while getting to spend time with my friends. It’s multitasking at its finest. Not to mention, working out with a friend makes the time go by so much faster.

Overall, I’ve realized that a lifestyle where I pick up my own groceries and make my own meals is much more conducive to keeping up a healthy lifestyle, staying in shape and being as productive as possible.

Now I have to be honest… I still occasionally order food from Postmates or another one of those food delivery apps. But now, it’s a luxury. Once every couple of weeks after a long day of work, I’ll have my favorite sushi delivered right to my doorstep. I enjoy every moment, I tip my delivery guy or girl well, and I appreciate how nice it is to have a “treat yoself” kind of night.

Would love to hear what you thought of my little experiment! And if you have any other health challenges you’d like us to try out, let me know in the comments.

xo Rachel

Photo: Ali Labelle via Instagram
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  • blarejune

    great article rachel! xx

  • This is so motivational! Since going to uni and spending there the whole day, I just want to eat asap when I get home. A take away is sometimes then a better option. I try to pre-cook on the weekend though and this helps a lot x

    Lynn | http://www.nexttolondon.com

  • Hayley Catt

    This is a great idea! My sister and I are doing a year-long challenge to live more intentionally! We’re on month 6 and we’re off caffeine this month! Trust me, it hasn’t been easy!

    Next month we are not eating out, so that means we will have to cook/make every meal at home for 30 days. That’s going to be a tough one! But this was helpful and inspired me! We CAN do it! 🙂

    For more info on our year of intentional living aka #SistersinTransit, visit HayleyCatt.com!

  • Yes! Good for you, Rachel <3 It's so much healthier and better to make your own food at home. That way you know exactly what is going in your meals. I rarely eat out and I love it this way.

    xo Azu

    http://www.raven-locks.blogspot.com

  • Kathryn Miller

    Great article! I don’t live in an area that has a lot of delivery services, although I did try Blue Apron once and loved it! But over the past year, I’ve really tried to live more intentionally each day. I buy groceries once a week, cook most of my meals and try not to waste anything! I’ve saved a lot of money that way and have extra money to save or have some fun on the weekends. 🙂

  • stefanie schoen

    This could not be more true! A little less than a year ago, I moved from New York City to the northern suburbs of San Francisco. In New York I used every app to order food, groceries etc., as not only did you think you ‘didn’t have time’ but when you are trekking on the subway and carrying everything yourself you think you can’t buy or carry that much anyway. Since moving to Mill Valley (where I am now) there are no delivery apps. Only like 2 restaurants ACTUALLY deliver. At first I hated my constant runs to the grocery store and how I had to get in a car to do everything, but when you combine it with working out or post office errands or whatever, I actually feel productive, like I am checking things off my list! And WOW am I healthier. I think I lost 5 pounds the first month just because I was more considered in my purchases. And truly the breaks to the store or whatever make me more productive when I am working, so its a benefit all around!

    -Stefanie
    http://www.thestylesafari.com

  • Jensen

    I LOVE my grocery app. I make & freeze breakfasts & lunches for myself & my husband once a month in addition to our nightly meals. That means I buy in bulk. That’s A LOT of groceries to pack into a cart, wait in line to pay, haul to my car, haul into my home. So I pay $7 once every two weeks for the delivery charge. Isn’t my time worth something too? I set a $200 budget every two weeks for food. I rarely if ever go over that. I have a meal plan already in place when I order. I look at the online ad first & sometimes modify my list to include items that are on sale instead of things I already wrote down. There is a way to do it consciously.

  • Yes! I save so much money and lose weight!

  • I don’t blame you for finding yourself falling into that habit; I think if we had a ton of delivery services where I live I’d probably take advantage of them (too often)!

    Ana | shelearnsthings.com

  • Samantha Rivera

    love, love loved this. I grocery shop every week, and its something I’ve always found therapeutic for some reason. My fiancé and I just moved in together a few weeks ago, and one of my favorite to-dos is planning our meals for the next week. You get to learn a lot about each other’s eating and spending habits as well as team up on a simple but important task! I also turn to websites to try new recipes to help us both stay healthy while also trying new things 🙂 if anyones in texas I definitely recommend downloading the HEB app (lots of great coupons!) and sprouts has a pretty good coupon app as well! my best tip for grocery shopping on a budget, try planning your meals/shopping trip around the weekly ad specials–for example, if tomatoes are particularly cheap or spaghetti squash, find recipes to make out of these items!

  • I loved reading this post so much! 🙂 I’ve never used these delivery apps before, but they sure are tempting, and I’ve contemplated getting them for awhile now, but after reading your post, I’m kind of hesitant. Very eye-opening! Thank you so much for sharing!

    XO, Elizabeth
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/

  • I don’t remember the last time I did takeout, but eating out is a bad habit of mine. Must cook more!

    xo Jessica

    My Style Vita

  • Lovely tips! I can totally appreciate the benefits of cooking from home more. Good on the wallet and the waistline 😉 http://www.chasingbelle.com

  • Which reminds me, I need to meal prep tonight, or at least slap a lunch together before heading into work. Forgot to do that, ended up relying on a burger.

    the golden days | http://herestothegoldendays.blogspot.com

  • Girl Boston

    Recently I’ve been ordering every other meal, it’s such a bad habit! I’m happy to say I have a chicken breast de-thawing at home and I’m really excited about making a healthy lunch with tonight’s leftovers! http://www.girlbosston.com