One of the biggest expenses that many families and individuals have is eating out. This includes both fast food places and restaurants, and any time the decision is made to hit these places up either for convenience or comfort, it spikes your monthly food bill. It is nearly always cheaper to buy groceries and cook than it is to go out and get prepared food.
However, if you do choose to dine out, there are distinct ways that you can still make it not quite such a hit on your pocketbook, including searching for coupons first, getting specials at restaurants, eating a little bit before you leave to go out, splitting meals between people, and taking out when possible.
Search For Coupons
The search for food and restaurant coupons will almost always be fruitful if you take the time to do it. Every restaurant wants your business, which mean every restaurant has some sort of advertising or discount plan available for people who are willing to search for them. In the past, most of these discounts were from coupons you could clip out of newspapers, but now a lot of them are searchable online, which makes saving even easier for you.
Get Specials At Restaurants
Right when you walk in the door of most restaurants, you’ll be presented with the day’s specials. Not only will this be some of the best and least expensive food, it might also get you to try something new and expand your tastes. If you’re not sure if you’ll get along with a special, simply ask your waiter or waitress how people generally have reacted to the dish, and then make the choice based on their recommendation. It’s a great way to save a ton on eating out.
Eat Before You Head Out
Another quick tip for saving money while still dining out is to eat a small snack before leaving. This might include peanuts, yogurt, apple slices, or things like that that curb your hunger. If you aren’t as hungry when you’re out, you’re much less likely to order too much, which significantly reduces your overall bill.
Split Meals Between People
Portion sizes tend to be gigantic at restaurants as well, so if you want to cut costs, you can always order a single meal and then get an extra plate for another person. You’d be amazed at how satisfied two people can be with a single meal.
Take Out When Possible
And lastly, if it’s possible, you can avoid the expense of tipping your waiter or waitress if you order ahead to take out. Right off the bat, this cuts of 15% of your bill, and that’s nothing to sneeze at, just to eat your food at a different location.