Spending Less While Eating Out

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If you use at least one of these ideas on a regular basis, you should begin seeing a difference in your entertainment budget.
Bon Appetite Everyone!

HAVE A HARD AND FAST BUDGET FOR EATING OUT

Set a self imposed spending limit for eating out before you step out your door! Not limiting your palette to the spendable cash in your pocket book can be dangerous for anyone living pay check to pay check.

MEAL SHARING

Many restaurants are quite open and understanding when it comes to splitting a meal. Today’s meals are larger than most of us need to eat in one sitting to begin with. When we share a meal, we may be helping both our billfolds and our health.

I recently ate at a restaurant in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel where, when told that a couple wanted to share their largest steak on the menu, the steak was actually split into two equal portions and brought in from the kitchen on two different plates. Even the salad had been divvied up and brought to the table on two separate salad plates. The couple was charged for one meal only.

This may not happen at your favorite restaurant, but a wise restaurant owner will be willing to go the extra mile in response to such a request. After all, times are getting tougher for restaurants as well. And, they do want your repeat business, right?

 APPETIZER AS A MAIN MEAL

How many times have you gone out to lunch or dinner, looked at the appetizer menu, and thought about choosing one of those great sounding appetizers as your main, and possibly only, dish?

Who says you have to order an entree with veggies and a salad? Or a burger platter with fries? You can save money by passing up that larger menu item … especially if you are not sharing a meal with someone already.

Go ahead and do it! Step out of the box! There are no hard fast rules here.

SENIOR DISCOUNTS

If you’re old enough, don’t be embarrassed to ask. Even if you are on a date, check to see if the restaurant offers a senior discount. Your date may even be impressed that you are frugal with your money.

As a Senior Citizen be sure to take advantage of the Senior Menu section of the restaurant’s menu. At least take a look at it.

 ALWAYS PAY FOR YOUR MEAL WITH CASH

While paying cash will not give you a cheaper rate as far as the price of your meal, you certainly do not want to take a chance on paying interest on a credit card charge for your meal! Even with the best of intentions, it is too easy for this to happen.

Even if you are a real stickler on paying your credit card off before there one penny of interest shows up, if you get into the habit of only paying cash when you go out, you are certain not to get carried away with spending more than you have budgeted.

Do yourself a favor and leave the plastic at home. Better yet, perform plastic surgery on all those cards by cutting them up!

CHECK YOUR RECEIPT

It will most likely be intentional, but busy people are prone to make mistakes in any situation. Be sure to check your receipt and ask about anything that you do not understand on your bill.

LEAVE YOUR BUSINESS CARD

Leave your personal or business card whenever this is an option. Often a free meal is offered for the winner of the drawing.

KEEP THESE THINGS IN MIND:

·      When sharing a meal, be sure to tip your server as though you are paying for two meals!

·      If you are a Senior Citizen on a lunch or dinner date, be sure to encourage your date to order whatever he/she wants. Do not limit your date to the Senior Menu unless you have no desire at all to be with this person ever again!

·      Debit cards are fine as long as you remember to write down the amount and deduct it from your checking account.

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