Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Five Ideas To Save Money When Eating Out

In this slow economy eating out on a budget can be extremely challenging. But you can eat out, and for a lot less than you think if you follow a few simple ideas.

I eat out a lot and it can get quite costly. It's not that I have an aversion to eating at home, I know how to cook and sometimes enjoy it! But, being a single guy, it's not important for me to rush home from work and make a healthy dinner. It's easier just to stop at a restaurant along the way for dinner. My friends all ask how can I afford this luxury? It's not hard when you do it my way!

The economy stinks and of all industries I think that the restaurant business has suffered the most. Every week I hear of another restaurant that has closed after years of doing great business. What causes this, you ask? They just aren't getting the flow of customers they need to generate enough sales to cover the overhead. People aren't coming in so they are looking for inventive ways to get your business.

Everyone is looking for ways to cut down on their expenses and eating out seems to be one of the ways people are cutting their spending first. Or instead of going to the "more expensive" places they are frequenting the fast food joints and getting the double ripoff! They are saving a few bucks and trading off for a lot of useless calories and usually substandard food.

Not me! I go to some of the nicest restaurants, get served like a king, and walk out fully satisfied that I have had a good, healthy, filling meal for about what you spend at a fast food joint. Let me explain....

Idea Number One: Never go to a restaurant without a coupon.There are coupons everywhere. Buy one get the second free is a common coupon these days. You can find them all over. Small local free newspapers that you find, ironically, near the front door of some restaurants usually have several coupons for restaurants in the same neighborhood. Look them over and clip the ones you find appealing. Make a mental note of any special times, days, or limitations on the coupons.

Idea Number Two: Learn how to enjoy water.One of the biggest profit makers at a restaurant are the drinks. Forget about alcoholic drinks altogether. If your coupon requires that you purchase a drink with your dinner get the cheapest drink. Otherwise opt for a delicious, thirst=quenching, glass of ice water. If you just can't stand water ask for a slice of lemon, squeeze in a few drops and add a small amount of sugar or sweetener. I started doing this a few years ago and found that now I enjoy drinking water with all my meals.

Idea Number Three: Skip the dessert.Another restaurant moneymaker is the dessert. I have never seen a coupon that specified that dessert must be purchased. When your server comes by and asks about coffee and dessert it's up to you to resist the urge and say "no, thank you." For what you pay here for dessert you could go to the supermarket and buy enough for two weeks.

Idea Number Four: Sharing.Sharing is not a four letter word. Most restaurants give you so much food you could share with your partner and both of you will still be full. Unless your coupon specifies otherwise always think about sharing with your partner.

Idea Number Five: Take home the leftovers.Like I said above restaurants usually give you way more than a normal serving and sharing is an alternative. But don't be shy. Ask your server to pack up the leftovers for another meal the next day. In fact you can share one meal and take the entire second meal home! What a great way to save!

Now you are armed with Five Ideas to save money when eating out. I use them all. Today we ate dinner at an Italian restaurant that we go to almost weekly. We ordered Chicken Cacciatore and Penne with Chicken. Each dinner came with soup or salad and all the garlic rolls we wanted. The Chicken dish was $17.95. The other was FREE (no coupon necessary before 6pm). The whole meal cost $17.95 plus $6 tip, total $24 with enough leftover food for another dinner for one. Three meals for $24 comes out to $8 per meal.


Follow these ideas and you will be saving so much money you will just have to gloat about it to your friends like I do! Send me a note and tell me how you save money by eating out.

Salons and Spas 125x125

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