9 Tips for Eating Out on a Budget

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I love going out to eat with my family and sometimes it just isn’t in the budget. In order to make it work, we follow a few frugal rules! Use these tips when dining out to save more and enjoy your restaurant meal without a side of guilt!


1) Buy an Entertainment Coupon Book

Pick up an Entertainment Book for your city – they are loaded with 2-for-1 restaurant coupons and other great deals. This one can definitely pay for itself in just a few uses!


2) Buy Discount Certificates and Gift Cards

You can buy discount certificates to some of your favorite restaurants through Restaurant.com. They have sales throughout the month and you can score $25 certificates as low as $3 or $4. Additionally, you an check for discount gift cards to restaurants on sites like Raise.com. Pair a discount gift card with a coupon and you are really maximizing your savings.


3) Use Coupons!

Be sure to check our Restaurant Coupons Section – we update it daily with coupons for eateries nationwide. You can also sign up for customer loyalty programs – some restaurants send out customer specific coupons for birthdays, anniversaries etc.


4) Look for Deals on Sites Like Groupon and LivingSocial

Always remember to frequently check Groupon and LivingSocial! They often time have great deals in your area for your favorite restaurants. Save up to 50% on your lunch or dinner and have enough leftover for dessert!


5) Look for “Kids Eat Free”

It is always good to look for specials like “Kids Eat Free!”. Lots of national restaurants have a day of the week where at least 1 kid eats free with the purchase of an adult entree. Check our Kids Eat Free list!


6) Skip the Appetizers and Desserts

Many times we have eaten out as a family and then enjoyed ice cream at home. The Appetizers and Desserts are not necessary and just add an extra $15-$20 to your bill (not to mention the extra calories) LOL! If you really want the appetizer, consider ordering it as your entree and add a side salad. When my husband and I have a date night, we have been known to do this. It keeps the price down and we enjoy a wonderful dinner.


7) Order Water for Your Drinks

Water is good for you and it’s FREE! I am always amazed by how much they can charge you for one drink!! I can get a 2-ltr. of soda at the grocery store for less than a soda with ice at my local restaurant! You will save almost $2 per person! More if refills are not free.


8) Share a Meal

Restaurant portions are usually more than enough to share. Many restaurants will even split the meal into equal portions and put it on two plates (just be sure that the restaurant allows “sharing”).


9) Eat Out for Lunch

Many times the price for lunch is drastically cheaper than for dinner. I have also found that even a weekday price can differ with a weekend. Our Olive Garden has a completely different weekday lunch menu than weekend lunch menu. Check the menu online before you go to see if there are any price changes with time of day or day of the week.