One of the joys in many of our lives is going out to eat every once in a while. While it is healthier and often cheaper to buy groceries and prepare a home cooked meal, it’s also nice and refreshing for once to have someone else prepare a meal and enjoy something you don’t have everyday. It can definitely be a treat once in a while. However, if you are on a tight budget, dining out can be less than appealing, as bad as you want to go. Cutting out luxuries like going out to a restaurant to eat is how some of us keep in our budgets. Good news though: even if you’re on a budget, you can definitely dine out as well as save money while doing so!
Here are five great ways to save money while dining out:
1. Eat out at lunch, not dinner. Many places have lunch menus that are a lot cheaper than their dinner ones. Some places might even have a lunch combination that combines a whole lot of food for way less than had you gone later on in the day or at night. Lunch specials are your BFF when you’re on a budget!
2. If you don’t have any kids in tow, go to the happy hour lounge and you can probably get a heavy appetizer for the mere price of a drink. If you are with kids, some places have offers that kids can eat for free on specific nights.
3. Skip drinks. You usually go to a restaurant for the food, not the beverages. Aside from the alcoholic beverages, which can be up to two or three times more than a soda, soda pop is at least two to three dollars at most establishments. Why spend that much on a glass of soda when you could put it toward a more pricey item on the menu instead? Order water with lemon to get a refreshing palette cleanser – this also helps you enjoy the taste and quality of your food more.
4. If there are two of you in a party, order one dinner entree and maybe even an appetizer to share. Most portions in the United States are actually good for 2-3 people anyway. Many restaurants will be happy to give you an extra plate at no extra charge.
5. Look for discounts online or in the paper. For many chain restaurants, there are coupons you can find in your mailbox, in the local newspaper or online somewhere that will give you discounts to some of your favorite establishments.
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