Whether or not you don’t know how to cook or just too lazy, eating out is convenient for many reasons. You don’t have to worry about doing the dishes, you don’t have to work hard in the kitchen to prepare the meal, and, depending on how good or bad of a cook you are, it’s delicious. The major setback of eating at a restaurant is that it can be pretty pricey. According to the team at Norden ,Eating out almost everyday can leave a dent in your wallet.
Fast food restaurants can provide a cheap alternative to eating out. Fast food chains such as Wendy’s or McDonald’s have a value menu where items are a dollar or under. This may seem like a deal but it’s unhealthy if you eat it more than a couple times a week. Remember the movie, “Super Size Me”?
If you’re too busy to cook a delicious meal and want to avoid greasy fast food, here are tips on how to save money at restaurants:
- Try and get to the restaurant early for the lunch menu. Lunch menus are cheaper than dinner menus and they usually have the same things.
- Restaurants serve big portions that can be shared for two people. Next time you’re dining with another person, order one entre and ask the waiter for an extra plate.
- Look out for coupons or gift certificates. Restaurant.com offers gift certificates for a discounted price. Enter in your zip code to find out which restaurants offer special deals on gift certificates. You can find $25 gift certificates on sale for $10.
- Skip out on drinks and get water. Alcoholic beverages can cost as much as dessert or an appetizer.
- Get side items or ask for starters. Side items can be just enough to fill me up. Italian restaurants sometimes offer salad and breadsticks, Mexican restaurants offer chips and salsa. I get full just by eating these while waiting for my food to come out.
- If you eat too much bread or chips, don’t forget to take your leftovers home. You don’t have to worry about what to eat for tomorrow’s lunch so it’s like you’re having two meals for the price of one.
- Buffets! Buffets are great if you can’t decide on what to eat. You can have a variety of food all for a set price and you can eat as much as you want to.
- I like going to happy hours not for the drinks, but for the food. Check with restaurants around your area because many offer half off or discounted appetizers during happy hour. There are some restaurants that even offer appetizers for free with the purchase of a drink.
- If you’re eating out with children, many restaurants offer free meals for kids on special days of the week. Visit Kids Meal Deals to check which restaurants in your area offer free meals for kids.
- Buy an Entertainment Book. Entertainment Books are sold for school fundraisers. Not only can you save money on dining but you can save on shopping, movie tickets, groceries, services, travel, car care, home furnishings, and more totaling in hundreds of dollars in savings. The best part is that the book only costs $20.10 so you’ll be getting your money back in no time.