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5 Ways to Save Money at Restaurants

Updated on January 29, 2007

Do you spend too much money eating out for meals? Most people do. Eating out for two adults can really add up, but try taking the family out to eat. Then it really gets expensive. Here are some things we do to save money on eating out, aside from plain not doing it, which is tempting when you have small kids.

  1. I especially like to eat meals out. It means no cooking or clean up for me. So often when I get the itch to eat out, we will go out for lunch. Eating lunch out is usually cheaper than eating dinner out. Then when it is time for dinner that night, I will fix what I was going to fix for lunch that day, which is usually quick and easy. So I get the benefit of eating out, but I didn't pay as much money for it.

  2. One of my other favorite ways to save money at restaurants, is to find one that has a kids eat free night. Many restaurants will offer this deal during the week, when they are normally slow. The last time we took advantage of this deal I calculated that we saved $20. Each kids meal was almost $5.00. Going out to eat on Monday instead of Tuesday meant we got 4 kids meals for free, with the purchase of our meals of course.

  3. One of the biggest ways a restaurant makes money is on drinks. Especially alcoholic beverages. These can be $5 or more per drink. Soft drinks are usually around $1.50. How about drinking water? It is free and is so much better for you. Almost everyone needs to drink more water anyway, so why not start while eating out?

  4. Let's not forget coupons. Many restaurants offer coupons. I have seen them for dollars off as well as buy one meal get one free. I have also seen them where if you buy a meal you can get a free desert. Some are in the coupon section of the paper, others in the weekly food section of your paper, and many restaurants offer coupons online. Just print off and give to your server at the time of ordering. There is nothing wrong with using a coupon for food. The restaurant would not offer these coupons if they didn't want people to use them.

  5. Last but not least, how about splitting the meal? Many meals are enough to feed two people. Frequently when I eat out, I only eat half of it. I do not like to stuff myself, so I usually end up with a doggy bag to take home, which is also fine. But if you really want to just save the money, especially if you have no access to a refridgerator right away, consider splitting the meal. Servers are usually happy to bring an extra plate out. Many places also offer a 1/2 meal option. This is usually priced more than 1/2 of the full serving option, but it is still cheaper.

As a bonus idea, we often ask for giftcards to restaurants at Christmas. These make great gifts for everyone involved. They are easy to purchase, easy to ship and easy to use. When someone asks you what you want for your birthday and you enjoy eating out, why not mention a giftcard to a restaurant? That way you can enjoy your meal, without spending a dime.

Anyway you look at it, eating costs money, but eating out doesn't have to cost a fortune. Just eat out wisely and it is easy to save money.


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    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

      Great tips! I follow these, especially coupons - in fact, I usually don't go to restaurants unless I have a coupon :)

    • currieemily75 profile image

      currieemily75 8 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      Good tips. I do those tings to save money at restaurants too.

    • profile image

      ARLENE PINEDA 9 years ago

      I also split the meal with the kids. I ask the waiter to split an order of steak and order extra mashed potato and they wont notice. For a family of five, i order 3 softdrinks in can, and ask 4 5 glasses with ice. Its just right. I do this from the smallest restaurant to the more expensive ones

    • profile image

      Juniata 10 years ago

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