Eating Out on a Budget

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Going to restaurants can eat up your spending. However, many of us probably lack the time to home cook everything.  The good news is you don’t have to break the bank when you go out to eat. Here are a few ways you can enjoy your dinner without burning a hole through your wallet.

Share with a friend

Sharing food might not be your thing. But think about this, if you share a large appetizer or meal, it can save you big. Some restaurants offer platters that are quite large, which you can easily split between two people. And, if you share, that means you can split the bill. Also, their sampler appetizers are often large enough to fill more than one person. Think about what you’d save getting that versus two entrees!

Rethink your beverage

Beverages can be outrageously priced at restaurants. This is one of the ways they “get you.” There are a few things you can do to save money on your drink. You may want to opt for water.  Or, if you’d prefer something else, think about sharing your refillable soda with your significant other. Also, if you want an alcoholic drink with dinner, opt for a place that offers BYOB, this way you can buy your own bottle for way cheaper!

“Stalk” your favorite restaurants

Follow your favorite restaurants on social media. Also, sign up for their emails. This allows you to keep up to date with any specials, coupons, or other deals they’re offering.

Deal sites are your friend

Visit deal sites like Restaurant.com and Groupon for local deals. You can look for places you know or simply try some new ones out. Also, it doesn’t hurt to check out RetailMeNot for any specials or promo codes.

Gift cards from credit cards

Some credit cards allow you to use your cash back to buy gift cards. These gift cards are usually offered at a discounted priced (usually 5 or 10 dollars off the value). If you plan ahead, and know you’ll be eating at a certain restaurant you can save by purchasing one of these cards.

The dollar menu

If you decide to go with fast-food, don’t underestimate the dollar menu. Make sure you give that a once over before going with your favorite combo.

Just say no

Sometimes it comes down to practicing self-control. It’s hard to stop eating when you have a delicious dish in front of you. But if you’re full, stop eating. Order a doggy bag and put your leftovers in there immediately. This will allow you to stay at a comfortable full, and it may end up providing you with two meals when all is said and done.

Eating out can get costly, but it doesn’t have to be. Next time you want to dine out, try some of these tips and watch the savings add up.

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