6 Ways to Save Money When Eating Out | Eating Cheap in Restaurants

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If you’re like most families, one of your biggest expenses during the month is probably food, so you probably find yourself asking, how can I eat cheap in a restaurant? There’s tons of great ways to save money when you’re eating out, like discount dinner coupons, meal selection, and so much more.

Eating at a restaurant is usually a wonderful but often costly experience. Instead of eliminating restaurants from the family budget, use coupons or dine during the day to save money.

closeup of a chalkboard with the text eating out, in the busy terrace of a restaurant

Discount Dinner Coupons

Browse local newspapers and magazines for restaurant specials. Often local dining establishments will place 2 for 1 coupons or free appetizer coupons in newspapers to encourage new clientele. Clip the coupons and place in an envelope to use at later dates.

Another option is to look for online coupons for specific restaurants. Many restaurants provide coupons to encourage new traffic. Dinner coupons can save families or couples a few extra dollars in regards to their entertainment budget.

Purchase Restaurant Gift Cards (At a Discount!)

Did you know it’s possible to buy restaurant gift cards at less than face value?

Restaurant.com is one such website that sells gift cards/ gift certificates for a fraction of their worth.

Cardcash.com is another website that sells discount gift cards with pretty great deals– some with as much as 25% off! Definitely worth checking out.

Don’t forget to check out Groupon and Living Social, too!

Another option if you are looking for in-person purchases are warehouse stores like Costco. They sell bundles of gift cards at a discount.

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    Join in the Fun on National dining days

    You name it, and there’s a National ___ Day. My personal favorite is National Ice Cream Day (It was July 18th in 2021– in case you were wondering)!

    If you’re willing to do a little research you can easily plan your meals around these offers to take advantage of free food offered by participating restaurants.

    Be sure to check out social media accounts of your favorite eateries as well to make sure you don’t miss you.

    Group Of Young Friends Enjoying Meal In Outdoor Restaurant

    Meal Selection

    Since the costs of meals on the menu are varied, it is best to have a price limit before sitting down at the restaurant. A great option to save money is to split a dinner meal. The cost of a la carte is usually at a higher expense.

    Sharing a meal and an appetizer or salad will still provide a good meal for both.

    Another choice is to dine at lunch instead of dinner. Often dinner meals are provided at a lunch price, and the portion is only slightly smaller.

    Restaurant Deals

    Many restaurants have weekly deals except on their busiest nights, such as Friday and Saturday. Some restaurants offer half-price appetizers, or children eat for free with an adult. For families, this can mean a big saving on the total cost. As for couples, appetizers can make a great meal with a little creativity.

    Another suggestion is to eat between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00 pm for the early bird special. Arriving at 5:45 gives you the price of the early bird special but the ambiance of the evening crowd.

    Beverage Choice

    One of the most expensive items on the menu is alcoholic beverages. Choose a less expensive option such as water with lemon, juice, or coffee. Alcoholic beverages can cost more than a meal. However, sometimes an alcoholic beverage is worth the cost; just make it last longer by putting the drink in a larger glass.

    Final Thoughts

    Eating at a restaurant is an indulgence, and one meal can be the cost of a week of groceries. Rather than eliminate restaurants be creative with meal selection, coupons, and the time of day for the visit. As well, ensure to leave a good tip for good service. Saving money is not being cheap. It is spending money wisely and giving tips to servers should be calculated in the price limit of the meal.

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