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Budget Dining 101

Updated on June 14, 2008

Saving Money when Dining Out

As our economy slows and things begin to look more and more uncertain, we need to figure out ways to still lead a semi-adventurous lifestyle minus the accumulated credit card debt. After all, even though times are getting hard, every now and again we need to enjoy the incredibly aromatic cuisine found in our neighborhoods. If only to feed our souls and nourish our spirits.

Here are five tips that might help alleviate the pain of opening up our wallets. Allowing us to perhaps regain our enthusiasm for bold and exotic dining.

  1. Take-out anyone? ~ Ambiance and romantic music can be overrated. Ordering food to take home instead can be just as delicious and relaxing. Add your own candlelight and cd of your choice and it most likely will turn out an even more sensual dining experience. You'll also save on tipping which should reduce your usual bill by 15-20% accordingly.

  2. Too many appetizers ~ It's a given that you're starving by the time you sit down and place your order, but often times food is wasted. Concentrate on ordering your entree and stick to the bread and salad (if complimentary). Your dinner will border on meditative when each bite is actually savored and enjoyed.

  3. Forget the George Clooney Mai Tai ~ o.k., so I doubt there's really a drink named after this delicious man, but my point is those mixed fancy concoctions can destroy any chance of walking away with budget still in tact. Instead, try experimenting at home with after dinner cocktails instead. Hence, avoiding the whole drinking and driving debacle. There's something to be said about kicking off your shoes, still looking gorgeous and having a private conversation in the comfort of your own home.

  4. The all-you-can-eat buffet ~ Explanation here is probably not necessary, but indulge me. Indulge being the key-word. Investigate your area and you may indeed find some out-of-the-ordinary recommendations. Almost everyone I know, will brag profusely of a fabulous and high-quality buffet. The key is to research and ask around. A little insight before making your dinner reservations and you could be in for quite a nice surprise.

  5. Sans Dessert please ~ Dessert can hike up the costs for a simple dinner for two. Instead, why not consider having a ready-made dessert waiting at home. What I mean by ready-made could be as simple as vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup or a homemade brownie recipe done to perfection. Either way the money will add up and allow you to dine out again sooner rather than later.

Soon enough, times will begin to turn around. The economy will once again become abundant. New restaurants will, once again, start popping up everywhere. And the "boom" will return. In the meantime, lets not forget the importance of enjoying a night out once in awhile. Consider it an investment in the well-being of your relationship. Wives and girlfriends, you can thank me later.


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    • Gregorythompson profile image

      Gregorythompson 9 years ago from Illinois

      Good advice, especially the drink one.