We all like to eat out, but if we do it too often, it can get expensive. Still, it is a nice break from the routine, and it is a fun way to spend time with your friends and family. If you like to eat out a lot, and you would like to save some money, here are few tips to save when dining out.
If you dine out regularly, you can limit the number of times that you go out to save some money. For example, limit yourself to once a week or twice a month. If you keep up with how often you eat out, you are more aware of how much money you are spending. When you are more aware of how much money you are spending when you eat out, you are more likely to limit yourself to save some money.
Choose Inexpensive Restaurants
Choosing a restaurant with less expensive menu options is a great way to save money. If you go somewhere where the salads all cost $30, you’re going to have a hard time saving any money. This does not mean that you have to eat at McDonald’s, but that you can choose the fun diner instead of the swanky restaurant.
One of the best ways to save money when eating out is to order light. For example, you can order an appetizer for your meal or a vegetarian option as these are usually less expensive. Fish (and seafood) is often, though not always, less expensive than red meat. In many restaurants, one of the pricier options is often the filet.
If appropriate and if you want, you can usually split a meal with one of your friends or family members.
Tip – If you are eating late, don’t be afraid to have a small snack at home. This will help you from over ordering when you do get the restaurant.
Don’t Order Alcohol or Soda
This is actually one of the easiest ways to save a few dollars when you eat out. All you have to do is stick to drinking water. Soda and tea will often cost a $1 or $2 and alcoholic drinks are often very expensive at restaurants. However, if you really want wine, order a reasonably priced bottle instead of a glass, as three or four glasses is often much more expensive than a bottle.
Do you really need the entire 1000 calorie piece of chocolate cake? To save some money, try splitting dessert or simply do not order it. Instead try baking a cake or cookies once a week or so at home. This way you will generally have something inexpensive and sweet on hand for dessert.
Take Some Home
If it is appropriate, you can save some money by taking home the leftovers. They can be a meal or a snack later, which helps you save some money.
Last, but not least, you will want to be observant with your bill. For example, some restaurants, especially if you are dining with six people or more, will add in gratuity, generally 18%. This means that your total will already reflect the tip. In many cases, you do not want to tip twice. Even if you do want to add an extra tip, you will want to be aware of what has already been added. Also, mistakes are sometimes made, so you will always want to glance over your bill to make sure that everything looks right.
Do you eat out on a regular basis? Where do you dine, and what strategies do you use to save money when you dine out?