Going to a restaurant can be a real budget-buster, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know how to search for good deals and choose the right menu options, you can save a pretty penny while dining out.
Here are ten ways to enjoy great restaurants and dine out on the cheap.
Most restaurants have coupons available. All you have to do it is Google it or just use the Retail Me Not app to get a coupon. You may not need to even print the coupon out. Just show it to your server from your smartphone when it’s time to pay.
Join Loyalty Programs
Some restaurants only give coupons to members of their loyalty programs. You can get a free rewards card and accrue points that can later be redeemed for free food. Members of these loyalty programs also get emailed members-only coupons like free entrée with the purchase of another entrée.
Share Your Food
The portion sizes at some restaurants are ridiculously large. They’re so big they can feed two people. So consider sharing a plate with your partner and cut your dining costs in half.
Skip The Drinks
The mark-up on beverages at restaurants is huge. You might buy a soda can for $0.25 if you buy a 12 pack for example. But for the same amount of soda they’ll charge you $3.00. A lot of their profit comes from drinks. They’ll always advertise the low cost of their food, but they fail to mention the high price of their beverages.
You go to the restaurant for the food, not the soda. Choose instead to drink the free water offered instead. It’s better for you anyway.
Get Lunch Instead Of Dinner
Lunch specials cost significantly less than dinners. If you are available during the day choose to eat earlier to cash in on daytime savings. Plus there’s an added benefit, no wait time.
Skip The Appetizers
Restaurants have trained us into thinking that you must first order drinks, then an appetizer, then an entrée followed lastly by dessert. Turn the tables on them and only order one meal per visit.
If you really like an appetizer, simply make it your main course and skip the entrée.
Go During Happy Hour
Eat at the bar during happy hour and cash in on half priced drinks and appetizers. You won’t have to sit in an uncomfortable stool in front of televisions. Most restaurants have an area next to it with booths you can sit at. Best of all, there’s no wait time if you can find a seat.
Order From The Kids Menu
You don’t have to be a kid to order from the kids menu. If you have a small appetite you can order the smaller sized options typically found on the kids menu.
Choose Kid Friendly Restaurants
Many restaurants offer discounts for kids on certain days. If you’re dining with your family choose to go on their “Kids Eat Free Tuesdays” for example. The way it works is simple. When an adult purchase an entrée your kid gets theirs free.
Take The Leftovers
If you bit off more than you could chew, don’t throw that food away. Ask for a box and you can eat that meal tomorrow. While you won’t save on your current meal, you’ll save money and time by not having to buy something or cook the next day.