Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Save Money Dining Out

We all know that the best way to save money on dining out is to just not do it! I know, it sounds harsh but it really is the best way. If you are serious about saving money then not eating out will save you a lot. We have gone without eating out, it is doable and we are looking to get back into the habit of not eating out. No fast food, pizza, take-out, or even an ice cream. When you get your spending back under control then you can start eating out again.

Use specials and coupons! This seems like such a simple thing but it really does help. If you have an entertainment book, it's a book full of coupons for your area, use the coupons in there. Use the buy one entree get one free coupon. Use the kids eat free deal. Whatever the deal or special is, if your going out to eat use it. We hardly ever pay full price for a meal when we go out.

Eat out only for special occasions--birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Maybe for a job well done at the end of the school year, or whenever you can afford it.

Don't eat at really expensive restaurants. If you can't afford it, don't eat there. NEVER and I mean NEVER charge a meal on your credit card--you will be paying for that meal for months to come! We hardly ever eat at expensive places because we can't afford to, the only time we do is when someone else is footing the bill. Yes, we're cheap but we are living within our means.

Don't let your eyes get bigger than your stomach. I admit this is my big downfall. Every thing looks so good that you can sometimes go crazy when ordering. Don't order more than you can comfortably eat. Not stuff yourself to the gills so you can barely walk, but what you can eat comfortably eat.

Split your meal with someone else. The portions are usually so out of control, that you can't comfortably eat the amount you are given. Not only will your pocket book thank you but sop will your waistline!

Always drink water. This is something that we have pretty much always done. We don't drink a lot of soda at our house so every once in a blue moon we will order a different beverage. But our beverage of choice will always be ice water with a slice of lemon. Also, you don't end up drinking a ton of calories at your meal. Another plus for the waistline!

Don't order an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert all at one time! If you are at a place that you just love the dessert than order an appetizer as your meal so you still have room for the dessert. I have done this many times, and the appetizer is just the right size to fill me up so I'm not starving but then again I'm not stuffed to the point that they have to roll me out.

Instead of going out for a whole meal go out for just dessert. Eat dinner at home and then go out for a nice dessert. Or, go out for the meal and come home for the gooey yummy dessert that you have at home waiting! Yum!!!

Ask if you can order off the children's or senior menus. It never hurts to ask, the worse they can say is no. So what do you have to lose? Nothing but you could end up saving a few pennies! Some places also have half orders, even if they aren't listed on the menu ask if they serve them.

When you have very little money or are trying to save some money or pay off debt don't go to places that require you to tip. You can end up spending as much on a tip as you would for a meal at a fast food place. So until you can afford to, don't. Another word of advice, if you do go somewhere where you tip, tip well. We will not order as much just so we can over tip the server. I wouldn't want their job and am glad that I don't have to have their job so why not give a little extra?

Do you have any ways that you save money when you go out to eat? Let us know, leave us a comment.

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