Dining out is much easier than cooking at home. After a hard and stressful day, the last thing you want to do is go home and make dinner; therefore, you load up the family in the car and go eat at a restaurant. While eating out is more convenient, it is also quite a bit more expensive, so you need to save as much money as possible. If you prefer to dine at a restaurant rather than at home, here are 15 ways to save money on eating out.
1. Check Nightly Specials
Some restaurants offer deals certain nights of the week. Kids might eat free or you might get two meals for one price. Mondays could be mom’s night, or Tuesdays could be military night. Restaurants will advertise their nightly specials on their marquis, or you might see them in the local newspaper. You are going to find most deals during the weekdays rather than on weekends.
2. Get Water to Drink
Sodas, tea, coffee or alcohol beverages can really get expensive. If you have a family of four, you could spend up to $20 just on drinks. Most restaurants will give you a cold glass of water free. Squeezing a lemon in your water will give it flavor.
3. Use Coupons
You can find coupons for almost any restaurant online. You need to go to the website, and find a coupon that would work for your family. You also could find coupons in the local paper, or you could buy a coupon book.
4. Share Meals
It is wasting money to have food still on your plate when you are full. You can share a meal with your spouse or another member of your party. Most restaurants do not charge for an extra plate, and you will save up to 50 percent.
5. Eat Out for Lunch
Lunch is normally quite a bit cheaper than dinner. Most restaurants offer lunch specials for a very good price. In some cases, the venue will throw in the drink with the special.
6. Do not Eat Dessert.
Most people have a sweet tooth and like something to eat after dinner. However, ordering dessert when dining out can really increase the bill. If you must have something sweet, stop by the store on your way home. It will be a lot less expensive.
7. Choose Cheaper Restaurants
Some restaurants are more expensive than others are so before you decide to eat out, check the menu prices. Many restaurants have their menus posted online, so look at what is available and how much it costs.
8. Do not Order Appetizers
If you need to have something before your main meal, eat it at home before you go. You can purchase numerous inexpensive snacks that you can put in the oven or microwave and eat before you head to the restaurant.
9. Sign up for Subscriptions
Many restaurants will send you specials just for signing up for their email list. The restaurant will send you weekly deals that you can print off and take to the restaurant. If you want to save money, do not go to the restaurant without a deal.
10. Use Credit Card Points
You can use credit card rewards points when you dine out. In some cases, a certain percentage of the bill will earn you cash back, or they can earn you airline miles. If you earn enough airline miles, you will be able to get a free plane ticket.
11. Look for Discounts
You might be able to get a discount if you are over 50 or 60, or you might be able to get a discount if you are a member of a certain organization. Some places offer discounts to teachers, and some places offer discounts to members of the armed forces. Be aware of the discounts that are available.
12. Take Home Left Overs
Do not leave anything on your plate. If you ask for a doggie bag, take whatever you did not eat home and eat it for another meal.
13. Fill out a Comment Card
Some restaurants want to know what you think. If you call in or go online to give them your opinion, you can earn a discount on your next meal.
14. Use Apps
In the world of today’s technology, you can download an app on your phone that will offer you deals. You do not even need to print a coupon. All you do is show your phone to the waiter or server, and they will apply the discount to your bill.
15. Eat only Appetizers
If you are not particularly hunger, just order appetizers off the menu. Appetizers are not near as expensive as regular menu items, so you can save money.