Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to Save Money While Dining Out

Dining out seems to be more of a luxury in these financial times no matter which restaurant you choose to go to. By the time you add up the cost of the food, the tip, and the baby sitter in some instances it can be a costly event. Here are some ways you can save money when you dine out.

  • First off, do not order an appetizer. If you feel you need to eat something before you go eat something at home. By not ordering and appetizer you can save anywhere from $5-$10. Plus, many restaurants offer bread or chips free of charge anyway.
  • Order water only. Adding drinks to your order will cost you anywhere from $2-$5 extra per person.
  • Eat dessert at home instead of ordering it. You can purchase and entire pie, cake, brownie for the cost of one little slice at the restaurant.
  • Consider purchasing one meal and sharing it with another. I do this with my children. Many restaurants are happy to bring you an empty plate. There are some which will charge you a small fee for the extra plate but it is better than paying for the whole meal.
  • Choose a dish that comes with all you can eat soup and/or bread. Eat this at the restaurant and then take home the main course for a meal the next day.
  • The time of day and the day of week you eat can save you money. Most places have a less expensive lunch menu. Some places have higher prices on the weekend so eat mid week instead.
  • If you are taking children with you choose a restaurant where kids eat free with a purchasing adult. Not sure where to look to find these deals? Check out My Kids Eat Free for a listing of your local restaurants or check out this site for a listing of National chain restaurants where kids eat free.
  • Take coupons with you to pay for your food. Did you know that at you can get gift cards for local restaurants for a fraction of the price of their value. For example, you can get a $25 Melting Pot gift card for $10. There sometimes are minimum purchase amounts though, so read the fine print.
  • Ordering items as carry out saves money on tips and allows you to eat anywhere you want to, like a park.

By following one or all of these tips you will save some money but still enjoy the benefits of dining out.

Leave a comment and let me know how you save money eating out.

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