Because it is something I truly enjoy, I’ve learned to find ways to save money on eating out so that I can still do it on a budget. Living frugally doesn’t mean depriving yourself. It means you have to get creative.
Save Money When Eating Out
Follow these tips and you’ll be able to trim your eating out costs and still enjoy a night off from cooking.
Use coupons and take advantage of restaurant promotions. You should never have to pay full price for a pizza. You can always find a coupon somewhere. And many other restaurants offer coupons when you sign up for their mailing lists. We’ve also checked around to discover what restaurants have a “kids eat free” night and taken advantage of those offers.
Enjoy breakfast or lunch instead of dinner. The earlier meals are always cheaper, and usually offer more reasonable portion sizes.
Skip the appetizers. Appetizers are expensive, deep-fried and fill you up before the main course. Skip them, or if you are really craving an appetizer, order one instead of an entree.
Skip the beverages. Instead of expensive sodas or alcoholic beverages, Ask for water with a slice of lemon. You may find that the waitress is a bit slower to bring you refills, but the savings are worth it.
Avoid substitutions or upsells. Substituting side dishes or adding a salad to your meal adds more to your bill than it adds to your satisfaction. Stick to the main menu selections or the special of the day.
Get a to-go box. As soon as you get your meal, ask for a to-go box. Put half of your meal in the box and take it home. Restaurant portions are huge and you can stretch your enjoyment of the experience by making two meals out of your entree.
Choose the buffet. If you have big eaters in your family who are always hungry, you may find it more economical to head to a restaurant that has an all-you-can eat buffet.
Attend fundraisers. Every community has its share of fundraiser dinners. Spaghetti feeds, pancake breakfasts, burger nights and fish frys are all affordable ways to enjoy a night off from cooking while supporting a good cause.
Consider doing take-out. When you pick up an order of restaurant take-out, you don’t have to worry about a tip. Ordering take-out works great for pizza, chicken, pasta, and Chinese. You can order the main dish for your family and pair it with a vegetable or salad you make at home for a fraction of the price.
Eat out less. The easiest way to save money on eating out is simply to eat out less often. Instead of once-a-week restaurant meals, try to go once every two weeks or once a month. When eating out is a rarer occasion, you will save money, eat healthier at home, and enjoy your dining out experience more.
These are just a few of the ways I save money on eating out. What are some ways you’ve trimmed your dining out expenses?