Most of try to keep our grocery bill under control but what about our food bills for restaurants? Whether you eat out occasionally or several times a week, I’ve got some tips to help reduce the cost of dining out.
1. CLIP AND SAVE
These days, you can get coupons for just about any store and even any restaurant so take advantage of it. They are meant to be used. Some restaurants like Logan’s Roadhouse will often send a $5 off coupon to their email subscribers. I know that Dairy Queen sends coupons for blizzards. That alone will reduce your eating-out bills a great deal.
2. BUY DISCOUNTED GIFT CERTIFICATES
A VERY popular way to save money is to buy gift certificates to your favorite restaurants at a discount through Restaurant.com. This is something you’ve probably seen but might not be completely sold on. I know for a fact that it works well and is a common money saving tactic among the savvy frugal folks. Basically you can get $10 certificates for $3 and $25 certificates for $10. This is especially useful on places that you dine out regularly and great when you want to try a new place but don’t want to spend too much money. JuiceBoxJungle is showcasing the Restaurant.com deals over in my sidebar! Check them out.
3. DRINK FOR FREE
Clearly drinking water is the best solution for a low bill total but there a couple of other things you can do. Tea is cheaper than soda for restaurants and often include free refills so make that one of your top choices. If you are going to have an alchoholic beverage, either dine in during happy hour or sip it. Many times that type of beverages are a miniumum of $6 and that can add up fast.
4. SHARE A MEAL
Oh man, this can really save you a bundle on the checkbook and on the hips. Restaurants tend to serve their dishes in huge portions which are great for splitting in half with someone. One entree for $13.99 vs 2 at almost $30 bucks and much less calories to put in your mouth.
5. KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS
There are so many places that offer special deals when dining with kiddos. Recently my good friend Alyssa fed her family of 4 for $13 over at Mooyah Burgers. How? Because it was a Kids Eat Free special which many eating joints offer. This type of offer usually applies to kid eats free per paying adult. There’s also a cool app if you’re an iPhone or Blackberry user called Kids Meals Deals. A great way to find Kid-Friendly meal deals!
6. FILL YOUR TUMMY UP ON FREEBIES
One of our favorite things about Logan’s Roadhouse is that you get delicious, melt in your mouth, FREE bread while you are waiting on your food AND during your meal. Not only that but they also offer buckets of peanuts to shell and eat as well. Other places offer chips and salsa so when it’s free, get full on the free stuff and order your meal accordingly.
7. DAILY SPECIALS
Many restaurants offer specials on the weeknights to help bring people in during their slower times. we usually eat out on the weekends so we don’t take advantage of this but I know others that implement this into their eating-out routine and it saves them a bundle!
8. ORDER OUT
If it’s the food you love and not the environment, then you can cut your costs by ordering your food to go. Many restaurant offer pick-up and delivery, making it easy for you to get your favorite meals to go. This can save you a good chunk of change because you can skip the drink order entirely and also avoid having to pay a tip — a savings of 15% on average. OH YEAH!
9. BUY AN ENTERTAINMENT BOOK or MY PARENT REWARDS
Much like 1 and 2 above, you can buy an Entertainment Book that offers savings like 2-for-1 restaurant coupons and 50% off deals. You’ll enter your city and buy the book for your area. Initially you are spending the money on the book but in the long run, it will save you more, offsetting the cost of the book.
My Parent Rewards is fairly new and getting rave reviews. Again, it’s a lot like the Entertainment Book but your coupons and discounts come on a card. Very convenient to use. This is great for shopping, groceries, food and more.
10. ALL YOU CAN EAT
Great on the pocketbook, not so great on the thighs. I highly recommend all you can eat restaurants if you have boy teenagers. For reals. I don’t know how much yours can pack away but good lord mine can eat as much as an army! Even at $10 bucks a person, you’re getting a great deal. And our favorite Golden Corral, offers a salad bar, fruit, main dish food, BREAD, and desserts. That’s a LOT of food and you’ll save money not having to buy appetizers.
Bonus tip: If you spend less on your meal, then you’ll save even more when it comes time to tip! On average, you’ll save 15%.
IF YOU HAVE A TIP OF YOUR OWN, PLEASE SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
This post is sponsored by JuiceBoxJungle and Restaurant.com. All views and opinions are of my own as stated in my disclosure.