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Top 8 Ways to Eat Out For Less

Posted by on May. 16, 2012 at 11:38 AM
  • 11 Replies

Top 8 Ways to Eat Out for Less

By , Guide

Eating out can be a real treat, but often the resulting bill is anything but. Here are six simple strategies to cut your bill, so that you can enjoy your restaurant meal without the side of guilt:

1. Share a Meal

Restaurant portions are often huge, so consider splitting a dish with someone else. If you ask, many establishments will even divide your order onto two plates before bringing it out to you. The unexpected bonus for your frugal efforts? Fewer calories and fat grams hitting your waistline.

2. Drink for Free

Drinks can really add to your tab, particularly if you're drinking something that is billed by the glass. To keep your check as lean as possible, order water (almost always free), or opt for a beverage that comes with free refills – soda, coffee, ice tea, etc. Can't do without that alcoholic beverage? Order one glass, and then stick to water for the rest of the meal.

3. Clip and Save

Coupons aren't just for groceries. Flip through your local newspaper and junk mailers, and you're likely to find lots of restaurant coupons. Buy one get one free offers can make a big dent in the price of eating out, so they're worth the search time. For even more savings, consider investing in a school coupon book or an Entertainment Book, if they are available in your area.

4. Go Kid-Friendly

Lots of establishments feature special nights where kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée. Do a little research to find restaurants in your area that do this, and you could slash your meal cost in half – now that's sure to make you and the kids happy.

5. Skip Dinner

No, I'm not suggesting that you skip dinner entirely, but I am suggesting that you consider skipping dinner out. Eating out at dinnertime is often much more expensive than eating out at lunchtime – even if the same foods are on the menu. Make the switch to mid-day meals, and you'll avoid the higher price tags and probably the crowd as well.

6. Order By Phone

If it's the restaurant food that you crave and not the restaurant experience, you can cut your costs by ordering your food to go. Many restaurant chains now offer car-side service, making it easy for you to get your favorite meals to go. How does this save you money? By taking the sit-down experience out of the equation, you can skip the drink order entirely and also avoid having to pay a tip – a savings of 15% by itself.

7. Buy Discounted Gift Certificates

Purchase discounted gift certificates to your favorite restaurants through, where $10 certificates sell for $3 and $25 certificates sell for $10.

8. Buy an Entertainment Book

Pick up an Entertainment Book for your city It's loaded with 2-for-1 restaurant coupons and 50% off deals.

by on May. 16, 2012 at 11:38 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on May. 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Thanks those are great tips
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by Lyn on May. 16, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Great ideas!

by Gold Member on May. 16, 2012 at 4:58 PM

 We don't usually eat out but these seem like good ideas.

by Member on May. 16, 2012 at 5:06 PM
we looooove our entertainment book. the theater tickets are great for when we want to see one of the 3d movies at a cheaper price. we keep our book in the car so if we are out and have the idea to splurge on icecream we have lots of bogo coupons in there.
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by Bronze Member on May. 16, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Love our Entertainment book.... we also do Happy Hour for dinner.   Drinks and half-priced appetizers are perfect.   Sharing meals and family style is the best. 

The only tip I don't agree with is not tipping on to-go orders.   You don't have to tip your normal 15-20+% but you should still tip a couple of dollars or 10% on a to-go order.   As an ex server, To-Go orders are often more difficult to put together than serving a table... especially if your order is difficult with a lot of 'on the side'.   The kitchen staff doesn't do the 'side' requests, the to-go server does.

by Ashley on May. 16, 2012 at 7:39 PM

ido a lot of these

by Ashley on May. 16, 2012 at 7:39 PM


by on May. 16, 2012 at 7:41 PM

by Nikki on May. 16, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Awesome thanks!

by Dawn on May. 17, 2012 at 8:15 AM
We do the kids eat free nights and coupons.
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