How To Spend Less Money Dining Out

1. Plan Ahead

  • Set a Budget: Determine how much you can afford to spend on dining out each month and stick to it.
  • Limit Frequency: Decide how often you’ll dine out and try to keep it to a minimum.

2. Choose Wisely

  • Opt for Lunch Over Dinner: Lunch menus are often cheaper than dinner menus for similar items.
  • Skip the Extras: Avoid appetizers, desserts, and expensive drinks. Stick to water or the included beverage.
  • Share Meals: Portions in many restaurants are large enough to share. Consider splitting a main course.

3. Take Advantage of Deals

  • Coupons and Discounts: Look for coupons, special promotions, or discounts online or in local newspapers.
  • Happy Hours and Specials: Many restaurants offer happy hour deals or daily specials that can save you money.
  • Loyalty Programs: Join restaurant loyalty programs to earn points and receive discounts or free items.

4. Be Smart with Leftovers

  • Take Home Leftovers: Don’t let leftovers go to waste. They can make for another meal.
  • Order Strategically: Choose dishes that reheat well for the best leftovers experience.

5. Consider Alternatives

  • Cook at Home: Preparing meals at home is generally cheaper and can be a fun activity.
  • Potlucks: Organize potlucks with friends where everyone brings a dish, reducing the cost for everyone.

6. Be Mindful of Tipping

  • Tip Appropriately: While it’s important to tip service staff fairly, be mindful of the standard tipping rates and avoid over-tipping unless exceptional service warrants it.

7. Use Cash

  • Cash Payments: Pay with cash to avoid overspending. Once the cash is gone, your dining out is done for the period.

8. Eat Before You Go

  • Pre-Eat: Have a small snack before heading out. This can help curb your appetite and prevent over-ordering.

9. Look for Alternative Dining Options

  • Food Trucks and Markets: These often provide great food at lower prices compared to traditional restaurants.
  • Ethnic Restaurants: Some ethnic cuisines offer hearty and delicious meals at more affordable prices.

By incorporating these tips, you can enjoy dining out without breaking the bank.