You can still eat out when you're on a budget, especially if you use these 7 simple ways to save money when eating out for a delicious, stress-free meal on a budget.
Ways to Save Money When Eating Out
Sometimes it's just nice to have someone else cook for a change! Whether it's for a birthday, or just a relaxing way to end a busy day, eating out and having someone else make your meals can be a lot of fun! However, it can also be costly. To keep your restaurant costs down, check out these 7 Ways to Save Money When Eating Out!
7 Ways to Save Money When Eating Out
1. Skip Unnecessary Stuff - When you're trying to save money when eating out there are a number of things you should skip when you order. First of all, skip ordering soda or alcohol, and stick with free water. Also skip getting an appetizer or a dessert, and don't get any "premium" sides or toppings (excluding cases where a "premium" offering is actually something healthier). Skipping things and just getting a "basic" meal will save you a lot of money!
2. Purchase the Lunch Portion - If you're eating out at lunchtime, or having an early dinner, take advantage of your local restaurants' lunch menus or lunch portion options. Not only are lunch portions smaller (and thus better for your waistline) but they also cost less! While the restaurant's menu may try to make it sound like the lunch portion is some tiny diet size, trust me, by the time you're finished with it you'll feel that it was plenty!
3. Use Discounted Gift Cards - Have you ever seen restaurants offering "Buy a $25 gift card for just $20," especially around the holidays? If you eat at that restaurant often, and there aren't any sneaky strings attached to the offer, it could be a great deal to take advantage of! You can sometimes also find restaurant gift cards on sale at grocery stores and retailers, and there are many websites online where you can buy discounted gift cards (like on Cardpool).
4. Enjoy a Buffet - If you're on a budget but still want to eat out, find some local buffets! Golden Corral, Cici's, and Stevie B's are a few of the bigger chains. And there are some healthy buffet chains out there, such as Sweet Tomatoes which has a lot of soups and salads to offer.
5. Be Loyal - A simple way to save money when eating out is to be loyal to a few select restaurants, particularly if they have good loyalty rewards programs! Some, like Chili's, give you points for every dollar that you spend. You can then redeem those points for free drinks, appetizers, desserts, even full entrees! Use your loyalty rewards wisely and you can actually get a lot of free food (and save a good amount of money!).
6. Use a Cash Back Credit Card - You'd be surprised, but a few percents back on your restaurant purchases actually adds up! So if you have a cash back credit card that offers a decent percent back on restaurant purchases, make sure to bring it along the next time you go to a restaurant. Just be sure you can pay it off quickly so you don't end up owing interest.
7. Take Advantage of Freebies - Many restaurants have great deals where kids get to eat free at a certain day/time. This is a great way to save money when eating out with a big family full of kids! Also consider signing up for the newsletters of restaurants that promise to give you something free on your birthday. And don't miss out on national food holidays! If you were considering paying for a dessert, you'll know to skip it on National Doughnut Day and get a free doughnut from Krispy Kreme instead!
How do you save money when you eat out?
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