Time to unGRAB your wallet and reduce your expenses

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at Feb 06 2023 04:12 PM

Through the pandemic, I leaned heavily on one APP for most of my household needs. Grab brought us groceries, sent off documents that could not wait, and satisfied our food cravings. On treat days, we would even order from different restaurants and serve the dishes up buffet style for our own “safe circle” party.

Now that the world has opened up again, I started to see how my Grab dependency has cost me, and how it hurt my wallet. Some items cost more than in the physical stores or restaurants, there are fees on top of fees, and overall I was paying more for what I could get for less. 

This is why competition is always healthy, and why one’s loyalty should always be to one’s wallet. If you are also a heavy user of Grab, consider these tips that can help you spend less, and realize savings in the long run. I’m not saying you should stop using Grab, because I won’t, but I have downloaded more APPs and lined up other options to make sure I use it less.

#1 For package deliveries, compare fees of other APPs 

Just this weekend, I was trying to pick up an item from Batasan Pambansa and was shocked to see Grab will charge me P223. I opened the Lalamove APP and guess what? Their fee is P136! I offered to pay P150 and got a rider assigned quickly. These two are not the only players: you can also check out MrSpeedy, toktok and many more. Some of the smaller players have fewer riders on the road, so it could be a longer wait, but your patience will be rewarded with more savings.

#2 Craving for food? Try restaurants APPs for fixed delivery fee

Many restaurants and fast food chains now offer online delivery or have launched their own mobile APPs. Unlike Grab where the delivery fee changes according to their own peak times, the fees with these restaurants and fast food chains are fixed. I also do not have to worry about paying another fee for small orders which Grab has charged me in the past. However, they do have a minimum order size, and if you don’t meet it, you may not be able to check out (but at least you won’t be surprised with an extra fee).

But if your restaurant has no online store or APP, check out Picaroo, Foodpanda and many more for comparative prices and offers.

#3 Did you know the same food order can cost you more with Grab?

While this is not the case for all Grab featured restaurants, it was the case for some. I discovered this years ago and actually called Grab’s attention and complained. The answer was not satisfactory, and to this day, it is still the case, and I don’t understand how the higher prices are set. If you are making small orders, maybe you can write it off for convenience, but when you usually orders meals for 4, the price difference can hurt. You can easily check if the restaurant’s menu is online and decide if you will press Place Order with Grab, or unlock savings elsewhere.

#4 Avoid paying extra fees on groceries 

On lazy days, I order via Grab with Korean marts in our neighborhood, and did not like that I had to pay for a delivery fee and a service fee. But I was thinking that the service fee goes to the grocery for concierge service – as their staff will walk up and down the aisles to shop my order. But later I learned that fee does not go to them, and while I wouldn’t mind paying the Grab rider that extra, the riders I spoke to also said it does not go them. So fine, if it goes to Grab – but when an order goes wrong, they won’t refund you the service fee despite the poor service. The rider will also be quick to say he only picked it up, and there is no way for you to chat the store directly, although Grab will suggest you do so (for one less complaint coming their way).

#5 Plan your grocery shopping and order online or via other APPs 

Grab has an extensive partner list for its Mart section, but if you plan your grocery shopping better, you can get it from the source (meaning the supermarket) through online orders and pay zero delivery fees and zero concierge fees. Check out Waltermart, SM Markets, Robinsons Supermarket, and many more. Another convenient thing to do is place your order online and then schedule pick up. You save on time especially if you are ordering the same things regularly, and of course zero delivery fees.

* * *

I can’t write about Rides because Grab practically has the monopoly on this since Uber exited the Philippines. Of course there are always taxis but that’s like going from bad to worse. The one time I booked a ride to the airport a month ago, the fee almost killed me but I had no other acceptable choice.

One thing that has kept me from totally deleting the APP is their promotions. I cannot resist discounts, and neither should you, but only if you were really planning to buy there or order food. If you will spend for the discount, that’s not really savings.

And no I am not a Grab hater – I am still a Platinum user, but I expect to be downgraded to Gold soon. Every day I don’t use Grab is a day won to weaning my dependency. As with all expenses, it is always good to compare and shop prices. Do not click buy unless you have at least checked one other option, or two, or more if time allows. And every time you find a better deal, that’s a win for your wallet.


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