As a frugal mom, I know that one of the easiest ways to blow through a budget is to eat out far too often. However, eating out can be very tempting, because you don’t want to cook all the time, it’s convenient, it’s quick and it gets everyone’s bellies full. Unfortunately, it’s just so expensive that you can’t do it all the time. Plus, it’s not the healthiest option out there, either. Even though you shouldn’t eat out every single day doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy a meal at a restaurant from time to time. Below, I’m going to give you some tips on how you can eat out on a budget.
Take Advantage of the Daily Special
Most restaurants out there actually offer up a daily special that you can take advantage of. Even if you already know what you want, you may want to consider expanding your palate and trying out the daily special. It will save you some money and you might find something you enjoy. Also, you should never be afraid to ask if there are currently any ongoing specials.
Ask for a Discount
A lot of restaurants don’t tell you that they offer discounts to certain people. For instance, are you an AARP member? If so, you can probably get a discount. Are you dining with your kids? Chances are, you can get a discount for them. Are you a senior citizen? There’s probably a discount for that. Are any veterans dining with you? They’re typically eligible for a discount. Always ask about discounts and you can usually find one that you’re eligible for.
Eat at Lunch Time
Now, it may seem like lunch time is going to be one of the worst and most crowded times to eat out, but it could be worth it, because you’ll typically save money around lunch time. Usually, restaurants will offer a lunch special, so it’s an option you should look into. Most restaurants have higher prices in the evenings around dinner time.
Appetizers can be as expensive as you main course, so you may want to avoid them. Plus, the appetizer portions are usually so big that you won’t even be hungry anymore by the time your meal makes it to the table.
Desserts cost a lot of money and they’re unnecessary. If you’re really craving something, you should go somewhere else for dessert.
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Dine During the Week
Typically, you’re going to get the lowest prices during the week. This is because restaurants are usually busier on the weekends, so they don’t have to entice people with any sort of incentives during the weekends.
Get it to Go
Want to eat your meal at home? If so, you’ll be able to dine for less. Place your order, go pick it up and then bring it back home. By doing this, you will be able to save money in almost every aspect. For instance, you’ll save money on drinks, appetizers, desserts and you won’t have to leave anyone a tip.