Does the idea of your family dining out regularly at restaurants sound counter-intuitive to saving money? Guest blogger and Penny-Pinchin’ Mom Tracie Fobes has 5 tips that can make the concept more… palatable. Check them out below.
When it comes to your budget, most of us know that we should try to save money whenever (and wherever) we can. While you might be cutting back on some budget items, you might want to still enjoy life. One way many of us like to do that is by dining out. Doing so can be expensive (especially if you have a large family). Here are some tricks to help you save!
Use a Coupon
… and eat on the right night of the week. One way the restaurants get you to visit is by offering coupons and discounts. You may find these by signing up for their loyalty club, signing up for emails or finding coupons in the newspaper. There are also apps out there, such as Coupon Sherpa, which will help you find those coupons you need. You can even order the Entertainment Book, which offers discount coupons, including buy 1 get 1 types of offers (just order one for the location near you). Just don’t forget to tip properly if you do get discount.
You can also find discount vouchers on daily deal site such as Groupon or even Living Social. Sometimes these sites offer discounts as much as 80% off of retail. Now, these are not normally the most popular restaurants, but it can be a great way to try some of your local eating establishments.
If you have kids, you may want to check out eateries where they offer free or discounted kids meals. You are often limited to the day you can get these deals, but if it means your kids eat free — then it is worth it! We’ve got a huge list you can check out right here.
Skip the Appetizer
It can be tempting to order something to munch on while you wait for your meal to arrive. However, they are usually way for restaurants to get you to spend more! You may be able to get free chips and salsa or even bread — just ask. This may be enough to help hold you over until dinner arrives (and will knock money off of your check).
Order an Appetizer as Your Entrée
Have you ever tried this? Many times, an appetizer can be large enough to fill you up – and will cost much less than a full size entree. Add in an inexpensive side salad (or share one with your spouse or partner). Not only will this save you money, you will eat less (which may make your waist line happy too).
Skip the soda or alcoholic beverage when dining out. Instead — just go with water. You can ask for lemons or limes to bring some extra flavor to your H2O). This is not only a less expensive option (since it is free), it better for you than sugary drinks as well — double bonus!
Pass on Dessert
While tempting, desserts are very expensive. These can add another $8-$10 to your check (for each person who orders). Instead of paying the restaurant, just swing by the grocery store on the way home and pick up some ice cream — or just tackle that left over birthday cake on the counter.
Some other things you may find is that if you visit your favorite restaurant often enough, they may start to offer discounts for being a loyal customer. Request your favorite server and you may find a free drink or two or even a discount on your entire meal. When restaurants count on your business and you show that loyalty, they often do what they can to keep you coming back time and time again.
Have any other ideas you’d like to share with us? Comment below or click on “Tell Your Story“.
About Tracie Fobes:
Tracie Fobes and her husband worked together to pay down more than $35,000 in debt in less than three years. On her website, www.pennypinchinmom.com, she shares tips for saving money on everything from apples to zippers. When she is not sharing her ideas online, she can be found at home in Missouri with her husband and three children. You can follow her on Facebook to catch her latest tips and ideas: https://www.facebook.com/PennyPinchinMom.