Constantly eating out can be a huge financial downfall. The problem is, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy dining out. In our society, it’s the way we socialize with friends and family whether it’s a mid-week girls night out or celebrating a birthday. However, a restaurant meal can easily cost $20 per person and that’s not counting drinks, apps, dessert, tax, and tip. You can see that dining out often can really take a chunk out of your budget. As much as I’d like to say refraining from eating out is the solution to this problem, that’s not a realistic solution. Instead, make wiser decisions and try to dine out on the cheap.
Here are some tips:
Don’t Drink Your Money Away
One of the first questions your server will ask you is, “what can I get you to drink”. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, the answer is simple. “Water, please”. And no, not the nice bottle of Pellegrino, just a glass of tap water. Drinks, whether they are alcoholic or non, can really add to your dinner tab so try and stick to complimentary water.
Share a Meal
As we all know, most restaurants serve large portions that can easily feed more than one person. Save yourself money and calories and split the meal. If you think you want a little something else, order a side salad. On the same idea, order an appetizer as your meal. It’s a smaller portion and priced less.
Look for Kids Deals
The cost of dining out is not very conducive to a family with multiple children. However, there are many restaurants where kids eat free on certain days. Do some research and take advantage of these deals.
Make sure to visit your local favorites when they have specials like 10 cent wings, or ½ priced nacho nights, etc. Doesn’t the food always taste a little better when you know you’re getting a sweet deal?
Online Daily Deals
If you visit sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, you probably notice deals at various restaurants, some might even be your local favorites. When buying these deals, make sure to read the fine print because most come with minimum purchase requirements and other limitations. However if the fine print looks good you might get away with paying $25 for a $50 meal, etc. Also, a new Groupon feature to look into is reserving a table through their site. You will get a discount and no voucher is required.
Hope these tips help you keep your tab in line. There are many ways to cut back while still enjoying a nice meal with some friends. For more ways to save, please visit the full US News and World Report article.