Eating out is an easy way to enjoy a night out or a special occasion, and Americans eat out in record numbers according to a recent Rasmussen report, 58% of American adults dine out at least once a week. Did you know, that you can save a lot of money if you use these money saving tips for eating out. The amount of money that Americans spend eating out is staggering totaling around $709 billion according to the National Restaurant Association. As dining costs continue to climb, and eating out just does not fit in to the budget, consumers are looking for ways to cut those costs and still enjoy the experience. Here are a few ways to do that.
- Look for Weekly Specials
- Use Gift Cards
- Dine Our for Lunch
- Share Large Portions
LOOK FOR WEEKLY SPECIALS
You should always ask your server or host what the daily specials are, they are often meals that are reduced in price or offered in large portions that can be shared with your dining companions. Keep a list of favorite restaurants and keep going back for those specials, this can save you money on eating out in a big way. Sometimes the cook is trying new dishes that they want to add to the menu and are trying to see if there is an interest in the item, so they are willing to offer them at a lower price to gauge the interest in that new dish. If you don’t mind trying new things, this can be a great way to save money.
USE GIFT CARDS
Gift cards are a huge industry, and almost every restaurant offers them, they are a great way to reduce your bill and save you money while eating out but don’t stop there. There are many websites that offer discounted cards that are worth far more face value than what you pay for them. Why might you ask are they doing this or how can they do this? The restaurant industry is very competitive, so in order to get you through the door, and show you what the food and atmosphere is like, these restaurants are willing to offer these discounted cards in the hope that you will frequent them and patronize them in the future, win win for all.
Don’t overlook Groupon where you can find excellent savings on local eateries. Look at the fine print though, there may be party size requirements and time limitations, but if you meet the requirements, you can potentially save 50-75%. Couple this with online booking, where you can get a check in bonus or other special promotions, just check and see if you can use them together with other coupons. You should also use coupon books. Often a local schools, churches or charities will offer discounted coupon books that have local restaurant coupons in them and they can be very generous in the saving. Local restaurants can get great exposure and local schools or charities can get a boost from the sales. And you can eat for a reduced amount.
DINE OUT FOR LUNCH
Dining out at night is a treat, and can be added to other events as a whole night out, like going to eat and a movie, show or concert. But don’t overlook dining out at lunch time. Restaurants will regularly offer their lunch menus at a discounted rate, and that is a great way to save money eating out. Not only are you saving money but most times the portions are larger. Sometimes you may even be able to order off the lunch menu all day and all night, which is a little trick you can use to save more money. Many people eat out for lunch all the time and rarely give it a second thought, but with coupons and the lower lunch prices you can reduce your expenses a lot.
[Read: A Coffee Addict’s Money Saving Tips]
SHARE LARGE PORTIONS
Sharing large portions and large appetizers is another great way to save money while eating out and most restaurants do not mind, as many meals are made for sharing, like pizza, a classic dining out meal, or nachos, which also lend themselves to be shared. It is always polite to ask the server if it is okay to share an entree though, because some restaurants may charge you a little extra for the additional plate, but that is rare, but non the less, you should ask.
As you can see there are many ways that you can save money while still eating out, just do a little research and a little “coupon” cutting and you will be well on your way to a really good meal at a really cheap price, and hey, you do not have to clean all those dishes either!
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