I don’t know about you, but I love going out to eat! I love having good food prepared by a real chef and tasting new combinations of foods that I would have never thought of! For Bob and I, this is a luxury that we allow into our budget because it’s something we both really enjoy. Not to mention the wonderful benefits we get from going on dates!
But, eating out regularly can get really expensive. Because we don’t really want to spend all our money on food and because we’ve made it a priority to pay off debt, we are very conscious how much money we spend on this. Here’s how you can do it.
- Split meals.
We rarely each get an appetizer, salad, entrée, dessert and coffee. It works out that we pretty much like the same foods. So, what we’ll do is one of us will order a salad and the other will order a main course and we’ll split both of them. It usually works out to be just the right amount for us and really saves money.
- Be mindful of what you’re ordering.
Ok, two funny stories. First, one time we went to a restaurant who served family style. The portions were huge. A couple next to us, who obviously had not been warned of this, each ordered the usual four courses. I think the waiter tried to warn them, but they didn’t really understand. Bob and I sat next to them and just laughed because each course was bigger than the last and they barely got through their salad and had to take the rest home! It was so funny! All that to say, sometimes you just don’t need as much food as you think you do. Pay attention and order the appropriate amount.
Second, Bob and I went to a nice restaurant and spent about $25 and both left full. I think we even had leftovers! A while later, we went back. This time we had a gift card, so we decided to splurge and get whatever we wanted. We ended up spending more than twice what we had ordered before and didn’t have any leftovers. It really is amazing how a little effort is much wiser than no effort.
- Use Groupon or get an Entertainment Book.
There are some really good deals in those books! Most of the coupons are buy-one-get-one-free and they have a very wide variety of options.
- If you’ve got children go somewhere your kids can eat for free!
I know chains have this, but local places offer free kids meals too. Do a little research and keep your eyes peeled for these offers.
- Visit Restaurant.com.
You can find lots of good deals here and I’m sure there are many other places online that will lead you to deals. They have a ton of $25 gift certificates being sold for $10. There are normally some simple restrictions, but $25 for $10 is still a pretty good deal – don’t you think?