If you enjoy eating out, but don’t enjoy paying the bill that follows, you’re not alone. Although I love not having to cook or do the dishes on the days we eat out, feeding a family of four, even at McDonald’s, can be rather expensive. For us, we use eating out as a once or twice a month treat, but we never pay full-price for our meals. It takes a little bit of effort on my part to make it happen, but the lower bill at the end of the meal is well worth it. Here are my suggestions for saving a few bucks when you take the family out to eat.
1. Drinks add up – Beverages add a pretty penny to your tab, especially when they are billed by the glass. When I eat out, I always order water, which is almost always free. The rest of the family usually orders things like soda, tea or coffee, all of which typically have free refills. My recommendation is to avoid alcoholic drinks, but if you must have one, order just one and switch to water for the rest of the meal.
2. Share a meal – Restaurant portions have gotten so large these days, it’s easy to share them with someone else. Some restaurants will even split the entree into two servings for you, so don’t be afraid to ask. The good part about sharing? Less calories!
3. Kids eat free – Many restaurants offer kid-friendly eating on certain nights of the week. Typically these specials are kids eat free when you purchase an adult meal at regular price. Do a little research and find out if any establishments in your area offer this type of deal and slash almost half your bill by eating out only on those days.
4. Eat out at lunchtime – Rather than eat out at dinner when meals typically cost more, opt instead to go out to eat at lunchtime. Many restaurants offer lunch specials that cost much less than their dinnertime counterparts.
5. Use coupons – You can find local restaurant coupons in the newspaper. Many of these are buy one – get one free deals that can save you a ton of money. Also, if your child’s school sells coupon books, buy one. These are super valuable for restaurant coupons and much, much more!
6. Order take out – If you’re simply craving restaurant food, but aren’t concerned with the restaurant atmosphere, order take out. You won’t need to order drinks and you don’t need to leave a tip, which will save you 15% right off the bat.
7. Buy discount gift cards – Visit Restaurant.com and buy discounted gift cards for cheap. A $25 gift card goes for $10!
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