20 Easy Tips to Save Money When Eating Out Indulge in Your Favorite Restaurants Without Breaking the Bank


Eating out doesn’t have to break your bank, read my 20 ways to save money when eating out. Have your cake and eat it too.

Discover practical ways to satisfy your cravings and enjoy dining out without straining your budget with these 20 simple and effective money-saving strategies/tips to save money when eating out. Learn how to make the most of your restaurant visits while keeping your wallet intact.

My wife and I are like most millennials in that we enjoy eating good food at restaurants.  According to a Zagat survey, on average, people spend about $36 per person while eating out.  That seems like a lot of money, right?

On top of that, the same study found that people eat out around 4.5 times per week.

More people eat out in Los Angeles (average 5.2 times per week) and on the less frequent side, Bostonians dined out on average 3.8 times per week.

20 Ways To Save Money Eating Out

1. Check-out online deal sites

The four biggest sites that may save you money are Groupon, Living Social, Restaurant.com and OpenTable. My wife and I scan these websites frequently to see if we can save money on places that we love eating at.

2. Never leave home without a coupon

My wife is the coupon queen, and we always search online for any restaurant coupons. Most of the time, restaurants websites and Facebook pages have the best deals and you can save at least 10-15% just by looking.

3. Join a restaurant loyalty club

After the E. coli outbreak at Chipotle, my wife and I were a little scared to go back, but then Chipotle started to text out a ton of loyalty deals.  We have gotten free meals, BOGO deals, free chips and guac I even frequent it so often that they sometimes give me free burritos without an actual loyalty reward!

4. Many restaurants have a birthday or anniversary club

Its pretty easy to check on your favorite restaurants website to see if they have any coupons. In conjunction to this, it is wise to see if you can sign up for any sort of birthday or anniversary promo.  Some places will give a free dessert on your birthday, and others will give a free meal.

5. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

My wife and I love GiftCardMall.com and Cardcash.com.  Both are easy places to obtain discounted gift cards. We have saved anywhere between 5-20% off when we eat out at restaurants. Its super easy. Just search for your favorite places.

6. Take advantage of daily specials

There is a Tex-Mex place down the road from us that sells $2 tacos with free chips and salsa every Friday from 4-6 pm.  They also offer $2 beers and $5 margaritas. It makes for a fun and cheap early dinner if you ask me. While we usually eat late dinners during the week, we adjust our dinner time on Fridays to take advantage of this deal.

7. Eat at home

Wait, I thought this post was about saving money at restaurants?  It is.  Drive to the restaurant and order carry-out.  This will allow you to skip paying a delivery fee, a service tip to the waiter, and even saving money on expensive drinks.

8. Drink water

Do you know how much markup a soda or an alcoholic beverage is at a restaurant?  Soda can cost anywhere from $0.05 to $0.25 for the restaurant, and they sell it to you for $3+. Alcohol markups can often time exceed 600%.  That is nuts.

9. Become a mystery shopper

I may be weird, but I have always wanted to be a restaurant critic. There are multiple mystery shopper networks that you can join, and you are reimbursed for the cost of your food plus a small payment for a review on a certain restaurant. Sounds like a win-win to me!

10. Eat slower

At many restaurants, you receive a bigger serving portion than you actually need. I wont bore you with the science, but it takes time for your full stomach to tell your head that its full.  By eating slower, you probably wont finish everything on your plate.  In turn, you can take your leftovers in a doggy bag and enjoy a great meal the next day.

11. Get a huge meal and then share it

While a restaurant may not love it, if you know you cant finish the meal and youre eating with a friend who wants the same thing, save some money by splitting the meal.  Although beware my wife does not think its romantic to share pasta like in Lady and the Tramp. I dont know why?

12. Make it worth it

Restaurants markup anywhere between six to ten times of their costs for pasta dishes but sometimes barely break even on steak and seafood dishes.  Go for the good stuff, not foods that you could easily make at home.

13. Pay with a cash-back credit card

Depending on your credit card you can receive anywhere between 1% to 5% cash back on your restaurant purchase.

14. Avoid Tipping

Go to fast-casual restaurants where youre not expected to tip. Places like Chipotle, Five Guys, Panera Bread, Pei Wei, etc. These are all places to get great food while skipping the 20%+ tip.

15. Do the Research

Check out the menu online before you arrive.  If youre like me, you may get overwhelmed by lengthy menus.  You end up making a hasty decision and most likely, it isnt the most cost-effective one.  Scan the menu and prices beforehand, so you know what you are getting yourself into.

16. Skip out on dessert and appetizers

Even though it sounds boring, my wife and I only eat entrees at restaurants because otherwise the cost of going out greatly escalates.  If youre so hungry that you need an appetizer, eat a light snack before you arrive at the restaurant.  In addition, if you still want dessert after the meal, swing by the store and grab a gallon of ice cream for half the cost of a scoop.  Thats what we do, and we find it more relaxing to enjoy dessert afterward at home anyways because we can change into our stretchy pants and relax as eat to our hearts content.

17. Go During Happy Hour

Many restaurants run drink and food specials.  There use to be a burger joint down the road from me where I would crush $5 one pound burgers.  Im pretty sure they went out of business because of me.

18. Go Eat Samples

Costco.  Enough said.  I know people who have gone there during their lunch hour and filled up on all the delicious samples.  I said people, not me. Or my wife.

19. BYO..Wine?

Restaurants are getting lax with customers bringing their own alcohol.  It doesnt hurt to call up a restaurant and ask if there is a corking fee if you want to bring your favorite wine to pair with dinner. Its certainly cheaper than paying for a bottle off their wine list.

20. Utilize Kids Eat Free Nights

If you have a family, getting free food for your kiddos is an enticing offer.  More restaurants offer it than youd think (IHOP and Buffalo Wild Wings, to name a couple), so check around in your area!

Thanks to Source: https://millennialmoney.com/20-ways-save-money-eating


save money eating out

save money eating out

save money eating out