Every now and again it’s fun to go out to eat. The key is not going crazy and making sure you know how to save money eating out. There are a few key areas that if you can master dining out is really affordable for most families.
Before You Go Out
Pregame Before Going Out
The easiest way to save money on dining out is to snack a bit before getting there. That way you aren’t famished when you get there. You can eat less, cutting down on the food you order and your food bill at the same time.
Eat on Kids Eat Free Nights
Nothing spells a great night out like “Kids Eat Free!” There are tons of restaurants fighting for your business every week. Make sure you do a little shopping around to find some great places where your kids can dine for free.
Bring Your Own Bottle
More restaurants are offering a BYOB service with a corkage fee. Check with your local restaurant to see if this allowed. With markups on alcohol being around 300% or more you would be saving huge by bringing that bottle from home. Check out this wine carrying case for some ideas.
Use Your Costco Privileges
As a Costco member you have access to some great discounted gift cards. You can routinely save 10-20% on restaurant gift cards. Make a point to check for which restaurants are offering discounted cards at your local Costco.
Use discounted gift cards
Before you go out to eat next time, pop over to Gift Card Granny and see if you can get a discounted gift card for your next restaurant. You can save anywhere from 5% to 55% on various restaurants. It’s so simple and it’s a great way to stretch your dining out dollars. Check out Gift Card Granny for some great discounted restaurant gift cards.
At The Restaurant
Order Water Instead of Pop or Alcohol
The mark up on drinks in a restaurant can get a little crazy. If you can skip the pop and the alcohol opt for some water instead and this will greatly reduce the cost of your check. When it comes to water get it from the tap to max out your savings.
Fill Up On the Free Bread
Who doesnt’ love the bread at these places. I could literally sit down and just eat bread If they are offering you free bread you can easily cut down the size of your entree and enjoy a smaller portion at a fraction of the cost.
As plates get bigger so do the meals, If you aren’t in the habit of eating a full entree maybe you can split the plate with your partner and save the full price of a second entree.
Related Post: How to Save Money On Groceries
Order an Appetizer Instead of an Entree
If you aren’t a big eater, or you were wise and pre-gamed before going out, it’s way more affordable to order an appetizer than it is an entree.
Opt for the Smaller Portion
If you are like me, you may have noticed that the best deal is usually the largest. This is pretty common when it comes to restaurants. When you can separate yourself from the fact that the smallest portion may be least value portion, buying the cheaper portion does still save you money.
Avoid the Add Ons
I love bacon and cheese just as much as the next guy, but there is an added cost that doesn’t make sense. $1.50 for 10 cents slice of cheese can be a bit unnecessary. Skip the add-ons and if you need something ask for a substitute, you are likely to get it for free.
Skip the Desert
I love a good 7 layered chocolate dish as much as the next person. In fact, I probably like it more than the next person. But the desert prices in restaurants are very expensive opt to have a desert at home with your group. That way the night can keep going.
Family Money Plan Recap: Ways to Save Money Eating Out at Restaurants
- Pregame Before Going Out
- Eat on Kids Eat Free Nights
- Bring Your Own Bottle
- Use Your Costco Privileges
- Use Discounted Gift Cards
- Order Water Instead of Pop or Alcohol
- Fill Up On the Free Bread
- Share Your Meal
- Order an Appetizer Instead of an Entree
- Opt for the Smaller Portion
- Avoid the Add Ons
- Skip the Desert
Family Money Plan Action Steps
✅ Beginner: Pregame before you go out
✅ Intermediate: BYOB or drink tap water
✅ Advanced: Start buying discounted gift cards to save big on your restaurant
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