If you really want to live a frugal life and save for the bigger things that you need, you would definitely be better off simply cooking your meals rather than eating out. However, there will always be times when you would need to relax and not think about cooking, and have a sumptuous meal at your favorite restaurant. Everyone needs an occasional treat, but it gets a little tricky if you want the experience of dining out, without having to worry about the bill. Here are a couple of tips that can help you enjoy your night out with family or friends, without really burning a hole in your pocket.
1. If you are dining with your partner, you can simply share a meal. Order an appetizer and main dish that you can both share. Most servings that you get from restaurants are huge anyway, so it is more practical to share.
2. If you order a meal that has side dishes like veggies or fries, eat these first before the meat. You may find yourself already full from the starters that you may not have room for the meat anymore. Take the leftovers and either serve for lunch or dinner the next day.
3. Healthy eating is popular anyway, so instead of ordering a main dish, simply go for the appetizers and soups. You won’t be stocking up too many calories and you would be saving some cash as well.
4. Kids eat for free offers are great! Check out offers from local restaurants where kids eat for free. Call the restaurant ahead and ask about their promos for kids.
5. Sign up for discounts. There are some food chains that offer discount cards for their facilities and restaurant.
6. Order plain water for drinks. You’d be surprised how much you can save by simply ordering water instead of soda or alcohol.
7. Go for fast foods. They are usually cheaper than high end restaurants. However, it is never good to do fast foods too often in a week. You can stick to restaurants that offer low calorie or vegetarian meals to avoid the high fat content that most fast food restaurants serve.
8. Forget dessert. Desserts are priced too steeply in most restaurants. After dinner, you can simply buy ice cream on the way home or have some fruits instead.
9. Try new restaurants. They often offer discounts or specials to attract new customers.
10. Check your local newspaper for special promos and discounts that restaurants offer.
The best option, still, to save some cash is to avoid eating out. If it can not be avoided, try any of the tips above, and for sure your dollars would go a long way.