Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Fun- Eating Out on a Budget

Eating out is expensive, but it doesn't have to be! Follow these tips, and you will be sure to save some cash.
  • Go out for lunch instead of dinner. Lunch menus are almost always cheaper than dinner.
  • Consider the early bird special. Same concept as above.
  • Consider getting it to-go. A lot of casual dining restuarants allow you to phone in an order and come pick it up. By doing this you save on the tip.
  • Skip the drink and the dessert. These are often the parts of the meal that have the most inflated prices. Water is free. If you really want dessert, consider stopping by a local bakery or grocery store where you will often be able to buy a whole cake for the cost of one slice. Remember everything you eat at casual dining restaurants will add to the amount of tip you should pay.
  • Sign-up at your favorite restaurants websites. Many offer special clubs that send you coupons every so often. A favorite of mine is Ruby Tuesday's, quite often they send BOGO meal coupons.
  • Get free food in your birthday month! Check out this link for a great list of places you can sign-up to get free food, and many will fit the above tip too.
  • If you have children, go to places where kids eat free. Check out this list to see some possible places, but make sure to call your restaurant as well because sometimes things vary.
  • Check your weekly coupon sources. I often see coupons in RP or SS for some of the major chains.
  • Check local newspapers and mailers. Several times a month I receive coupons for local restaurants through various local papers, magazines, and mailers.
  • Opt for carry out instead of delivery. Usually there is a charge (or a minimum purchase requirement) for delivery.
  • Consider picking up fast food and using it for a picnic.
  • A favorite way to save on fast food is for one person to order a value meal and up size it, and the other just order an item off the dollar menu. You can then share the fries and the drink.
Do you have any tips for saving on eating out? I'd love to hear them!
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