If you are part of the majority of people who are trying to cut back on spending these days, you’ve most likely taken a look at what you spend on entertainment. Although eating out at restaurants is enjoyable and relaxing, it is probably one of the first money mistakes to go out the window when aiming to save more money or pay off debt. However, if eating away from home is one of the small pleasures in life that you’d still like to enjoy, there are plenty of ways you can save money while eating out.
Don’t Buy Drinks- Beverages other than water can quickly add a lot of money to your bill, and choosing something else probably the easiest way to cut back on the amount you spend while eating out. Forego the alcoholic drinks or large sodas, and instead ask for a glass of ice water, which will likely cost you nothing. You may not realize how much money you spend on beverages while out to eat until you choose water instead. If you would really like to relax and have a drink, go to a bar before or after- alcoholic beverages often cost a lot less at a bar than they do at a restaurant.
Split it in Two- There are two ways to get twice the amount of food from one dish ordered at a restaurant- either share it, or take some home. Save money when eating out by only eating what is in a proper serving size. The amount of food served as one meal at a regular restaurant, is often two portions in one. You can choose to either share with a spouse or child to get two meals out of one plate, or you can order one for yourself and take half of it home with you to eat another time. This is a great way to enjoy a chef-cooked meal while saving money.
Eat During a Different Time- At most restaurants, lunch size plates are smaller and cost less money than regular dinner plates. If you want to save money and still enjoy eating out, you can choose to eat out earlier in the evening. Having an early dinner for lunch prices can save you 25-50 percent more than eating at the same restaurant later in the evening. Save money by finding out which places have lunch and early bird specials.
Use Smartphone Apps- There is an application available on iPhones and Androids for almost anything these days, including numerous apps you can download for free that post dining deals at local restaurants, as well as chain restaurants. You can save a lot of money eating out at your favorite places by having these apps available on your phone.
Use the Internet- Every establishment has a website where you can see their menu or discount meals, but many are becoming a part of social media sites where “friends” can get a number of special bargains on eating out. Utilize these to gain coupons and deals so you can save money eating out at these places. There are also a number of online websites that post different daily and weekly deals. Take advantage of the different discounts and offers from sites like Groupon and Living Social- you can often get about 50-75 percent off a meal.