Everyone faces those days when it is just easier to eat out than go home and cook. In today’s fast paced society, it can be very hard to have time at the end of the day to fix a four course meal. However, this can be an expensive habit if you go out often. There are steps you can take to lower the tab when you just need a break or you are treating yourself to a night out.
Cut Out the Soda
Soda is one of the highest marked up items on any menu. Most restaurants will charge almost two dollars for one drink and some don’t even offer free refills. When you consider that for a party of five that is an extra ten dollars on the check, you will probably agree that water is a much better choice. The other option you might consider is purchasing a meal that includes a drink.
Deserts Are a No-No
Many deserts cost almost as much as the main course and very few people ever finish them. You are much better off to wait until you get home for something sweet or stop somewhere and buy a whole cake on the way home. You can usually buy a whole pie or cake at the grocery store for less than the cost of four slices at a restaurant.
Learn To Share
Sharing large entrées is a great way to save money on a meal. Many restaurants offer large portion that end up going to waste. This is a great idea if you have children or babies. Rather than buying a kid’s meal you can just ask for an additional plate. Be aware some restaurants frown on this practice and will charge for an additional plate.
Take Advantage of Kids Night
If you will be eating out with kids look for a restaurant that offers free kids meals or very cheap ones. Some companies have one night a week that they designate as kids day and all kids under 12 eat free. You can also look for restaurants that have special kid’s menus. These menus will often have many of the same items on the adult menu, just at a scaled down size.
Limited Time Specials
Some restaurants will offer limited time deals like buy one get one free, or two meals for a set price. You should also check for the special of the day. In most establishments, one meal is offered at a discounted rate each day. You might even find some restaurants offer a free appetizer or desert with your meal. These specials can be a great way to stretch your dollar a little further.
Download or Buy Coupons
There are two types of coupons to be considered when you are considering going out for dinner. You can download regular coupons online for special savings or free items with you meal. However, you can also buy coupons or gift cards for many places online. Check your local radio or television site. With these deals, you can purchase a certificate or coupon to spend twice as much as you pay. For example, if you buy the coupon for 25 dollars you get to spend it for 50 dollars.