Whether you’re a broke college student or mom with little mouths to feed, it’s always nice to find ways to cut expenses on food at restaurants. Today I’m sharing a couple tips to save money while eating out.
Important Disclaimer Moment:
If you need to save money, eat at home! But every so often, we need the convenience of someone else cooking the food, and even better–someone else doing all the dishes!
Before you go:
1. Coupons! Check your local paper & the Internet for coupons to your favorite restaurants
2. Create a specific email account for coupons, and use that email address to join restaurant loyalty clubs. These emails can net you everything from free appetizers to a free birthday dessert!
3. Check to see if the restaurant has an app. Many fast food restaurants now have apps that offer coupons & rewards. Some apps, like Chick Fil A, allow you to earn points for each purchase, and then redeem those points for food items.
4. Check websites that resell gift cards. Raise.com and giftcardgranny.com are two popular sites. A quick search on Raise revealed discounts up to 27% off for gift cards to restaurants ranging from McDonalds to Buca di Beppo.
5. Find restaurants that offer kid friendly specials like “kids eat free” or $0.99 kids meals. Usually restaurants offer these specials on weeknights with the purchase of an adult entree.
6. Avoid eating out on weekends. Many restaurants that have lunch specials don’t honor these lower prices on Saturdays & Sundays.
At the restaurant:
1. Don’t assume a combo is always the best value. Will you actually eat all the food that comes with the combo? Sometimes ordering a la carte can save several dollars and prevent you from having too much food.
2. Check the price of soft drinks and decide if they’re really worth it. Some restaurants charge up to $6 per soft drink!
3. Check pictures of the portions on Yelp to see if portions are large enough to share.
4. Beware of hidden costs! Often the only way to find out about these is to ask. You are the one paying, so don’t be shy! Your bill can rise sharply if the restaurant charges for refills, extra condiments, substitutions, or sharing a meal.
Do you have any tips for saving money at restaurants? Let us know in the comments!