Save on Eating Out

Tips for Dining on a Budget

Are you looking for ways to save on eating out? In the past, eating out was looked upon as a luxury. Today, many people are just too busy to eat every meal at home. Others go out occasionally for a special meal. Whatever the case may be, here are some simple ways to reduce the bill when dining out.

  1. Look at the menu ahead of time. Many restaurants and fast food places put their menus online. If you look at the menu before you go, you have more time to make economical (and healthy) choices without feeling rushed at the restaurant.
  2. Watch for deals. Coupon mailers, newspapers, TV, and radio ads are all good places to find discounts for restaurants.
  3. Purchase discount cards or books. Schools or organizations doing fundraisers sometimes sell cards or coupon books that offer discounts at restaurants and other attractions. You can also buy an Entertainment Book directly. Just remember that the intent of these companies is to entice you to eat out more often. If they succeed, you fail to save on eating out.
  4. If you are bringing children, look for places where kids can eat for free or at a reduced price. Several places offer these deals on specific days.
  5. Look for senior discounts if that applies to you. Sometimes you can take advantage of these even if you are not a senior, but just want a smaller portion.
  6. If your birthday is coming up, look for a place that offers a free birthday meal.
  7. Don’t drink the beverages.These are very expensive for what you get. Drink plenty of water instead.
  8. Don’t order appetizers. These can be expensive fillers. On the other hand, if you are happy just eating the appetizers and not ordering an entrée, go for it.
  9. Split an entrée. Consider sharing an entrée with your dining partner.
  10. Don’t order dessert. If you need something sweet after the meal, have a piece of candy or go home for some ice cream.
  11. Fill up on free bread or tortilla chips if the restaurant serves that.
  12. Eat fruits and vegetables before you go out. This will help you to order less at the restaurant and give you some good nutrition that is usually lacking when you eat out.
  13. Go to places where you don’t need to tip. If you eat at a place where there are no servers, you save by not tipping.
  14. If you go somewhere and are waited on by a server, please give a generous tip on the full amount before any discounts. The wages that severs make are usually very low and they need the tips to survive.
  15. Pick up take-out food instead. The price of your meal will be less than in a sit-down restaurant and you will save the amount of the tip.
  16. Make a special meal at home instead. Buy a steak or something you don’t normally have and enjoy the preparation as well as the dining experience.

Going out to eat can be fun. By using some of these tips, you should be able to save on eating out. As a word of caution, however, if you are trying to work your way out of debt problems, eating out is a luxury you absolutely cannot afford.

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