Going out to eat at restaurant is a luxury that shouldn’t be done so frequently. But if you are going out to dine and celebrate, there are ways of doing it without breaking open the piggy bank. Here are 7 tips on how to save money at restaurants.
- Drinks. Restaurants overcharge for drinks. They don’t necessarily overcharge on the food so much. But the markup on drinks is enormous. So when it comes to drinks, skip the soda and ask for water. You’re coming there to eat, not to drink, right?
- Leftovers. Take your leftovers home. Don’t leave food on the plate. It’s going in the garbage. If you can take your food home and eat it for lunch the next day, you’re saving yourself a few bucks on the next meal.
- Coupons. Many restaurants have deals going on. Check out their home page, facebook or twitter page for details. Other restaurants have rewards programs like Red Robin and TGIF, for example. The more you eat there the more free food you get later.
- Tips. It’s rude to leave a bad tip when you had good service, but there’s no need to over-tip. Think about it, do you tip the nurses at the hospital or the teachers at school? If not, then why would you over-tip the waitress at the restaurant?
- Appetizers / Dessert. It’s not healthy to have big meals. It’s better to have a larger amount of smaller meals throughout the day. So order an entree but don’t order appetizers and/or dessert.
- Share. Most restaurants give you huge servings, loaded with calories, carbs and sodium. It’s usually enough for two. So order one entree and share it.
- Gift Cards. Usually around December many restaurants will offer bonus gift cards if you purchase one. For example, buy a “$20 gift card and we’ll give you a $5 gift card free”. If there’s a restaurant you visit frequently it might be a good idea to buy some gift cards for yourself to get the bonus ones.