Eating out can offer a lot of convenience to our busy lives. Factoring those expenses into your budget can be the difficult part. That means that you have earmarked your money for rent, water, gas and electricity along with all those other necessities like cars, clothes, and food. In the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for recreation or dinner out. However, if having a dinner out with your spouse or family is something you really want to do, there are several ways to eat out for less and still have a good time.
First and foremost, do your research. Most restaurants have websites where you can look at the menu, prices and find out if they offer discounts. If they offer BYOB you can save by not paying for alcohol which can add up quickly on your bill.
You can also purchase gift cards at less than face value from websites like Restaurants.com or buy groups of gift cards for less than they are actually worth from some warehouse stores. And don’t forget about those coupons! Ad Pages and Value Pak always have coupons for local eateries.
Some restaurants offer specials and perks just for completing their surveys. Check out free apps like SurveyMini that provide you with discounts for completing questionnaires regarding restaurants. In addition, some restaurants have clubs or reward programs you can join where you’ll receive discounts and offers, and specials during your birthday month.
If you and your family don’t mind ordering at the counter than having a sit-down experience with a waiter, the prices are often cheaper than at a full-service restaurant. And don’t forget, “The Buffet”! Buffets offer a wide variety of foods, often all you can eat, for a reasonable price. For those of you with young children, there are establishments like IHOP that have offers like “Kids Eat Free” from 4 pm to 10 pm.
And finally, don’t pass up those “National Days”. National Pizza Day, National Ice Cream Day, National Donut Day, National Grill Cheese Day, National Pancake Day and so on! Almost every day is National Something Day where you can receive free food by just showing up and asking for it!
So for all of you budget conscience folks, feel free to go out to dinner! And if you plan and make wise menu choices, you might have enough left over for a special evening out without the kids! Happy eating!