Eating Out Without Breaking Your Piggy Bank.
When times are tough, one of the first luxuries you might drop is eating out.
Let’s face it: Dining in a restaurant is can be pretty expensive compared to eating at home. But what if you love to go out for lunch or dinner? If so, let’s discuss a few ways you can cut the cost of restaurant meals.
Perhaps not every suggestion will appeal to you, but you’ll find at least a few that help you cut your expenses. Take what works and apply it to your situation. You can be dining out in no time and still pay your bills.
Consider these money saving ideas:
1. Gift cards don’t have to be gifts. At places like Sam’s Club and Costco, you can buy gift cards for many popular restaurants and save 20%. No one says you have to give them as gifts to others! Buy one for yourself and hit the town.
* The options may vary, but there’s always a decent selection of nice establishments.
2. Pick the right day. Many restaurants have specials on particular nights. If you go on the right evening, you can save bundle. Do a little research and make some calls. You’ll be surprised at what’s available.
* Also consider the time of day; happy hours can be fun and inexpensive.
3. Restaurant.com can save you a lot of money. Sign up for their e-mail list and start getting offers to your favorite restaurant.
* It’s not unusual to be able to get $35 of credit for $10 or less! There are hundreds of offers and they’re constantly changing. Keep your eyes peeled on both the website and your e-mail account.
4. Take the kids. If you do some research, you’ll find that many restaurants are free for children on certain days and/or at certain times. Those little angels might be expensive the rest of the time, but that doesn’t have to be the case when you’re eating out.
5. Skip the drinks. Water is a lot better for you than nearly anything else you can order to drink. Beverages are typically quite expensive.
* Look at the cost of a 2-liter bottle of soda and compare that to what they charge for a glass of soda in a restaurant. The same goes for beer or anything else. If you’re taking your entire family out, it can really add up. It’s better for you and your pocketbook to just have a nice, tall glass of ice-cold aqua.
6. Exercise some restraint. Some restaurants provide so much food that adding an appetizer is overkill. You might even consider just having the appetizer.
* If there’s too much food to comfortably consume in a sitting, get a doggy bag and eat it the next day. Stretching your restaurant meal out into two meals effectively cuts the cost of eating out to half.
7. Avoid places where you have to tip. That doesn’t mean you have to eat a greasy burger and order your food by talking into a clown’s head.
* Many decent restaurants require you to stand in line to order and then pick up your food at the counter. Places like Panera Bread and McAllister’s come to mind. The food is restaurant quality without the obligation of leaving a tip. That’s a savings of 15-20% and that will help keep your piggy bank intact.
When times are tough, like they are for many right now, dining out tends to be one of the first things to go. But eating out doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of ways to cut the cost of eating away from home; above are just a few suggestions. Use these ideas and get out of the house again – for less!