List Of Free/Cheap Food (from referral and signup bonuses)

Given that we have eaten out most of the time for the last 5 years, we’ve learned how to do it for cheap. Which is really easy, as most of the world is cheaper than the US.

While the US is more expensive, there are all kinds of sites, apps, and food programs to rake in the benefit of referral bonuses, and first user coupons. This is a list of things you can sign up for to get free food, or really discounted food.

We have tried nearly everything on this list of sites and apps. For many of the ones I actually use, I might have a referral code. Either way, I recommend trying out the bonus (if you find it a good deal), seeing how it works, then referring your friends and spouses so you can get the bonus.

Some bonuses and deals are better than others but I’ll try to explain how I went about getting the cheapest deals I could.

I should note that many things are better in big cities and certain cities. If you live in San Fran, your life could be subsidized by venture capitalists.


GrubHub ($7 off $15 order)

Click here (or use code: GRAFF7032816F9Z4WJ) to get $7 off a $15 order.

The beautiful thing about this is that it works on “pick up” orders, so you can avoid delivery fees. I put in my current address, click “pick up”, sort by distance, pick some good food, and make it come out to $15 before tax/tip. The two of us can eat for $10, then take the food to a park.


InstaCart (free $10)

$10 off with my code, and free delivery… I hope this will work for you too! Try the following:

Click here (as it gives free delivery), and then at checkout add code “CYODER81“.

We did this with some food from Whole Foods and the food showed up in an hour.


TabbedOut (free $5, and other deals)

This is mostly used by bars, and only in certain cities, but there are restaurants too, (mostly ones that have a bar). It’s actually pretty cool, and I hope it gets to scale, because it’s a better experience. You can see your bill at all times, and click a button to pay. And thus you can leave when you want, without waiting for a bill.

You can download the app here, then make sure to add the promo code “G9F7E2“.

The code gives $5 off your first purchase, but there are often other deals. The best was one month last year Citi had a deal where you add a Citi card and get $10 towards a tab. ($7 off $15 order)

Click here and get $7 off your first order.

Just like GrubHub, you can order delivery online. But the awesome part, again, is that you can get $7 off pickup and avoid delivery fees. Same as above basically.


Other Freebies

  • Starbucks Rewards
    • Sign up and get a free drink (after adding and using a giftcard?)
    • Get a free drink on your birthday (if you’ve been a member for 30+ days)
    • Free refills on regular coffee and teas for all members starting April 12
  • Click here for 100% “cashback”  with Living Social’s Restaurant Plus (I haven’t been able to try it yet)
  • $15 off Caviar (another delivery site), details here
  • Groupon – get $10 for referrals, plus deals on restaurants
  • Maggianos $10 coupon here
  • Check out this page to see more small discounts for memberships with chain restaurants


Other things to try

  • Postmates – Free delivery with code “R5JI
  • Favor – Click here or use my code “DREWM4R” to get $5 credit.
  • UberEats? If you have the food icon on your Uber, look for a promo code. If it’s new to a city it can have free delivery and sometimes free and discounted food.
  • – Click here to get $5 off, or use my code “K8L-4GRR-T6HY”.


Meal Subscriptions

Some of the next deals are food by subscription – which, if you have a kitchen can be nice. I sometimes find we don’t save much with groceries after buying seasonings, condiments, and what not. Plus, we always end up throwing out a ton at the end of a stay, like 3.5 sticks of butter.

But these food programs send you the perfect amount of groceries for your meals for two people.

Given our slower travel, and recently we used airbnb a lot (which almost always has a kitchen), this could be a good option. It’s actually perfect for an airbnb stay, since the timing is reliable.

Somehow they get a box of fresh food to you on a specific date… just don’t forget to cancel, or change the address. Although, each one is a little different in design or prep. (I have Google Calendar reminders set up for the evening of delivery, reminding me to cancel).

I personally have only done these on the signup bonus or trial rates, but I like them a lot. Just not enough to pay full price.


Hello Fresh – $40 off

Click here to get $40 off.

It comes out to $19 for 6 meals. That’s 3 different meals for two people. It comes out to $3.16 per meal, per person. Not bad. And the food is really good and fresh.

Unboxing our veggie box

Unboxing our veggie box


Freshly – 6 free meals!

Click here to get 6 free meals.

This is an awesome deal to get 6 meals of your choosing for free.

However, I haven’t checked out with this promo, and when I don’t have everything filled in, the price still shows $69. Hopefully after everything is filled in, it zeros out. Or perhaps you have to hit submit. But screenshot the free meals part before you hit submit. And report back, please.



HomeChef – $30 off

Click here to get $30 off.

6 meals will come out to $30 (again, three different meals for two people), and thus it’s $5 a meal.

Others I haven’t tried:

  • Peach Dish – Get $10 off here, or use code “rCgLo1RJ”
  • Purple Carrot
  • terraskitchen – (tk50 – $50 off?)
  • minibardelivery



If it’s free, I’m on it.

If there are food delivery apps or sites that I should be looking into, please let me know.

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  1. Blue Apron. 2 free meals for signup.

  2. Great ideas. I signed up with HelloFresh. Interesting to see how it works out. Big Jamie Oliver fan!

  3. LevelUp

    Phone app that shows you participating restaurants near you. When you go to pay, the app generates a qr code that you scan at the register instead of swiping a credit card. Once a month, they bill your card on file for all of your charges.

    The $ saving feature is that the app tracks your spending and the different restaurants can give you credit back after you spend a certain amount (say $5 credit after spending $50). They also occassionally give promotional credits on your birthday, when a new restaurant joins the program, etc.

    Seems to be most popular in the NE US, but I have seen it in various places around the country.

  4. The link you posted for Freshly doesn’t mention anything about 6 free meals.

  5. Nice timing as I’m in the US for next couple months. there’s a groupon $5/$10 at Starbucks and $25/$25 voucher + 2 1 topping pizzas at Papa John’s. Not healthiest but hits the spot for a thru hiker like me. Don’t forget to go thru cash back sites, also Discover for up to 10% back Apr-Jun. I used $25 living social credits bought for $1 a while ago to get organic CSA boxes for $2 each but that deal is dead.

  6. FYI I think Starbucks does NOT enforce the ’30 day Member’ rule… As i signed up / activated an old gift card with $2 left on it, got a Free $5 Beverage the next day which Happend to be My Birthday… You could get one card per Email address, presuming you have multiple birthdays.

    • Yup :)

  7. Grubhub link and coupon are dead. Says no redemptions left for the promotion

  8. Alicia, used the second Grubhub link today! Got $7 off.

  9. Plated and Blue Apron are similar to HelloFresh. All 3 give current users free boxes to give friends. I’m a regular paid subscriber to HelloFresh. I’ve gotten about 40 HelloFresh boxes in the past year and love how sane its made dinner time around here. If you want a free box send me an email and I’ll “refer” you the next time free boxes show up in my account (probably 4-6 weeks from now).

    • I’m interested Amy! Do you mind sharing your email here with us so we can contact you?

  10. Hello,

    I used the Freshly link, filled out all the information, but didn’t go through with it initially because it looked like I’d get charged full price. A day or two later I got an email along the lines of “Don’t miss your 6 free meals!” Armed with that proof of the offer, I signed up and clicked subscribe. Supposedly, they only charge you $10 shipping for the first week (according to the email), but $69/week afterwards (unless you cancel). My credit card was hit for $69, however. I sent them an email, and they said sometimes the referrals don’t work quite right based on browser settings/operating system/etc, but if I write back with my referrers name & email address she will make sure we both get the credit. So it looks like it will work. Could you please email me the name/email address that was associated with the referral link on this page, though?


    • Weird, and odd/convenient that a simple referral link doesn’t work. They should just add a code.

  11. It’s all fixed now and credited to my account. So $10 for 6 meals. Thanks!

  12. Here is my code for $10 off UberEats if anyone is interested:


  13. Drew and Carrie, WHERE ARE YOU? Hope everything is okay. Your loyal readers miss you.

  14. You seem to have loads of options for sign up food promos over in the US, but there is little here in the UK. Either way I will use your sign up code for the Hello Fresh and order a parcel soon.

  15. Hey you two. I sure do miss your posts! Are you involved with other things currently? I would love to know if there is another venue to enjoy living vicariously through you both. Take care and carry on…

    • Agreed – If it’s simply burnout or other projects on the front burner, that’s fine, but the long absence without comment does cause some worry as to your well being. Best wishes!

    • Same here. Checking the blog daily wondering what’s up with you guys. It’s weird how you get concerned about people you’ve never met. This last post was out of the blue and seemed like you pulled it out your pending file. Maybe just a quick “hey we’re alright but have something going on” would be good…

  16. Couldn’t agree more…where are you? I’ve been a loyal follower b/c yours is one of the top travel blogs out there…thoughtful, educated, sublime, to the point. I’ve learned so much from you and have big travel plans coming up due to all I’ve learned. Come back!

  17. I agree with the above. It’s none of my business, but I do confess to being a bit worried. I hope that your absence is for a positive reason.

  18. Same worries as above. Have been reading your blog for about a year now. But more than anything else, hope you both are doing ok.

  19. What happened to this guy? Did it finally all come crashing down?

  20. Word on the street is he’s writing for MMS and Bankrate

  21. Hope you guys come back. Until then, I’ve removed you from my RSS feeder.

    Another one bites the dust….

  22. I hope both of you are doing well, I always enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for all of posts that you have made over the years.



  23. Have a working hunch that Drew now works for Google…. Happens I was using several of the much trusted Drew TIF map gems, say for finding best Hilton locations, or what’s left of Club Carlson….

    and lo and behold, mine eyes beheld bright new “red” outlines, as the familiar travelisfree graphic links were now redirected to…. tah dah…

    google stuff! (for example, lookie here:

    Look familiar TIF frans? :-)

    Oh do hope I’ve sniffed this out accurately…. and even more so, hope you and Carrie at last are getting paid the fortune you’ve long earned!

  24. Zume offers free pizza that’s apparently baked by a robot:

    Right now they also have a 2 for 1 deal which you can stack to get two free pizzas on your first order.

  25. Use the code ‘eats-maddiep54′ for $20 off UberEats! That gives you $15 of free food + free delivery.

  26. New Vision Nutrition ” CODE : 3FREE ” 30$ Off your First Order
    They deliver farm fresh, wholesome, fully prepared meals to your doorstep.


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We have spent the majority of our marriage traveling full time, living out of hotels.   All the while, we list our expenses publicly, budgeting $25,000 a year for our nomadic life while still staying in mostly 4 or 5 star hotels across ~20 countries a year.
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