Although there has been an increased awareness of consumer spending these days, there are certain things many people are simply not willing to give up. Dining out can put a strain on the best budget, however it is something that brings people together and not easily avoided in this fast paced world in which we live.
Fortunately you can still enjoy getting together with your family and friends for a bite to eat without busting your budget. The following tips make it possible to take advantage of dining out without feeling guilty over money spent.
- Take advantage of kids deals- There are many franchise restaurants as well as privately owned establishments that offer special deals for children. By taking a few minutes out of your day to research popular family spots you can determine if and when they offer special deals for kids. This may include children under a certain age eating for free or getting discounted meals with each adult meal purchased. This can save a family with younger children considerable money when dining out.
- Skip expensive drinks- It doesn't take long to run up a large bill when everyone is drinking soda or alcohol. Skip these beverages and opt for water which is not only cheaper (or free) but also better for your health.
- Pick the right time of day- If you are meeting up with friends or treating the kids, consider dining out for lunch versus dinner. Lunch specials are generally cheaper than items on the dinner menu. When you have to go out during the dinner hours, try to get to the restaurant early to take advantage of any "early-bird" specials. Saving a few dollars per meal may not seem significant but when several people are dining out, it will add up.
- Snack before dining out- Many people make the mistake of waiting until they are "starving" before going out to eat. Instead of eating a small snack that will ruin their appetite, they hold off until the last minute, which almost always results in ordering more food than necessary. By having a light snack before going out to eat, you can take the edge off your hunger and avoid ordering pricey appetizers that add to the price of your bill.
- Utilize coupons- Many local and national eateries have coupons available via fliers or even on the Internet. There is nothing wrong with clipping a coupon and presenting it at the time of your order if it will reduce your bill.
- Ask about specials- When dining out, be sure to ask your server if there are any specials not listed on the menu. Not all restaurants publish their specials and it only takes a moment to ask the server before ordering.
- Split the meal and the check- Whether you are joining a friend for lunch, grabbing a bite with your kids or having dinner with your partner, consider splitting a meal you both enjoy. Many restaurants serve portion sizes that are much more than one person needs to satisfy their hunger. By splitting the meal you can get a break when the check comes as well.
These are just a few of the ways you can save money while dining out. Saving money doesn't have to mean you give up everything you enjoy. Instead, by managing your money better you can save money in some areas so you can continue to do the things you enjoy most.