So you love eating out but hate the hole it creates in your wallet by the end of the month? Don’t worry you’re not the only one.
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If you’ve been reading this blog for some time now, you may have noticed that I absolutely love eating out. As much as I love making easy and healthy recipes at home, eating out is one of my guilty pleasures. But every good thing comes with a price and sometimes you may start feeling the pinch.
Even if you’re spending just a couple of dollars on a beverage or a small snack a few times a month, if you go back and add everything up, it can eventually turn out to be a substantial amount.
But there are a lot of ways to have the best of both the worlds – what I mean is, you can still eat out and save money by being a little smart when dining out.
Here are a few tips for a Foodie from a Foodie –
1. Happy Hours
There’s a reason why ‘Happy hours’ are so popular. Not only do you get offers on drinks but you can also get good deals on certain dishes. So next time you’re planning to treat yourself, find out whether the place you’re heading to has happy hours and save some money.
A single glass of wine can cost roughly between $7 – $12 depending on where you go. If you really want to save money and still have a good time, find out whether your favorite restaurants have a ‘Bring Your Own Bottle’ policy and take advantage of that.
3. Go for Water
The cost of beverages can add up easily, especially when you’re out dining as a whole family. Unless you’re out for a treat on a special occasion, try to avoid ordering beverages and go for plain water instead.
Not only will you not add up extra calories by downing sugar-laden beverages, but you will end up paying a lot less by the end of your meal.
4. Share a Meal
Often when we get individual entrées, we are not able to finish it completely, especially if the portions are considerably large.
While this can be great as leftovers for the next day, remember that you do end up spending more rather than what is required.
If you’re not sure whether one single entrée will be enough between two, you can always ask the server. Most people will be honest and tell you whether the quantity served at their restaurant is enough to split between two people.
5. Take advantage of Restaurants in your Birthday month
Okay, this is my MOST favorite way to save money! There are a lot of restaurants in the United States that offer freebies and discounts during your birthday month.
Benihana, Buca Di Beppo, Applebees are some of the places that offer some really cool offers in your birthday month. All you have to do is register with your name, birth date and email id and they will send you freebies and offers straight to your inbox.
Benihana gives you $30 off coupon that you can redeem in your birthday month! That’s right – $30 off! Buca Di Beppo gives you a $15 off coupon and if you book a table of 4 on your birthday, they’ll even give you a Free Birthday cake.
To take full advantage of this, tell everyone in your family to register on any or all of these restaurant sites and you can celebrate everyone’s birthdays at a discounted price!
A few of my other favorite places that offer freebies on your birthday or during your birthday month are –
- Dairy Queen – Buy one get one free offer just for signing up and a special coupon on your birthday
- Cold Stone – Buy one get one Free Creation on your birthday as well as other exclusive offers
- Dunkin Donuts – Sign up for their DD Perks Program and get your first beverage free. You’ll also accumulate points over a period of time that you can redeem later as well as a Free coffee on your birthday.
- Baskin Robbins – Free scoop of ice cream on your birthday
- Starbucks – Sign up for their Rewards to get a Free coffee on your birthday along with other offers
- Ihop – You get a Free stack of Pancakes just for signing up, plus a freebie on your birthday and other offers.
And for those who don’t reside in the US, just google what offers you can get during your birthday in the restaurants in your country.
6. Check Deals
Sites like Restaurant.com have ongoing deals going on all the time. You can buy gift cards at a lower value or even get deals on home delivery.
And if you’re going to be shopping through restaurant.com, do not forget to use cashback sites like Swagbucks or Ebates. They’ll give you anywhere from 5% – 15% cash back (depending on the ongoing deal) Total winner, if you ask me!
Instead of eating in at a restaurant, order take-out. Many times when we sit in a restaurant to dine in, we’re tempted to order more than what is actually required.
Eat24.com almost always has $2 off deals when you order delivery from one of their many restaurants. (Just google – ‘Eat 24 promo codes’ and you’ll get a ton of promo codes that you can use)
8. Skip the appetizers or Entrée
Unless the restaurant you go to serves some killer appetizers that you just can’t resist, I say skip the appetizers.
Like for example one of my favorite appetizers happen to be the Bang Bang shrimp at ‘Bonefish Grill’ or the Greek Fries at ‘It’s Greek to Me.’ That is something I will always order whenever we go there.
But most other times, we just avoid the apps and go straight for the entrée.
This can also work in the opposite way as well – if you’re not too hungry and just want a small meal to fill you up, just order something from the Appetizer or Sides menu. Both your stomach and wallet will thank you for it.
9. Sign up for Newsletters
You can get a lot of perks and offers just by signing up to the email newsletters of your favorite restaurants. Many times they will send exclusive offers or coupons just for their email list members that may not be available for other people.
So the next time you’re heading out, you can quickly search your inbox for any offers that you might have received.
10. Follow on Social Media
If you don’t happen to check your promotional emails all the time (it can get really overwhelming sometimes), just follow your favorite restaurants on their social media.
As with many brands, Restaurants often post ongoing deals and offers during holidays or special occasions such as ‘BOGO or Free desserts for a limited time’ on their Facebook page or their Twitter or Instagram. This way you can stay updated and take advantage of their special offers.
So these are some of the ways we try to save money when we eat out. What are your favorite ways to save money when eating out?
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