Food apps biting into our budgets
UBER Eats and MenuLog are familiar to anyone who doesn't feel like cooking, but they are not the only food apps to use if you are seeking value for money.
Food app users in Australia totalled almost two million last year and are forecast to rise to 4.6 million by 2023, according to research groups, so it pays to compare competitive deals.
However, money experts warn that overuse of these apps can send you down a budgeting black hole.
EatClub Co-founder Pan Koutlakis said his app allowed users to browse discounts of 20-50 per cent offered by restaurants in several capital cities.
"Deals are on the whole bill, which is different from most apps only providing certain dish discounts," he said.
Coffee queue-jumping and discount apps are another hot growth area.
Hey You CEO Uzair Moosa said it enabled users to compare cafes' prices.
"Users can view their order history and thus understand their spending patterns and make choices based on their budgetary requirements," he said.
"It allows users to integrate their coffee loyalty stamp into the app so they earn a digital stamp, earning them free coffees."
Competitor coffee app Skip's general manager, Bill Bizos, said value was offered through perks.
"Our venue partners offer exclusive lunch combo deals and we offer Qantas rewards points as part of Qantas Frequent Flyer program," he said.
Nathan Cox, 29, orders off Uber Eats up to four times per week because of its convenience.
"On average I spend $25 per order," he said.
"I have a studio in Sydney so Uber Eats is quick and easy. I walk home, press a few buttons and the food's there waiting for me.
"It's good value for money compared to Deliveroo as it's more reliable".
Sort My Money Founder David Rankin said if food apps became a lifestyle it could result in financial strife.
"The convenience of eating apps can be good but if you are not careful you can easily lose control of your finances," he said.
"Everyday usage of these apps rings alarm bells from a budgeting perspective. A controlled usage is much better".
Mr Rankin said he had reservations about apps such as Uber Eats that worked hard to make money rather than focus on the consumer.
Menulog marketing director Simon Cheng said there were ways to avoid paying full price.
"Opt into marketing to receive SMS deals: specials include $15 off your order if you use a certain credit card," he said.
"You can filter your search with 'special offer' and 'free delivery' to see all deals in your area and look out for banners of '10 per cent off' restaurants and group meal deals".