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Dining out is great!
It means that Mom or Dad get a night off from cooking and doing the dishes. In our house it means we get to try something new. A new dish, a new drink. We like to try new restaurants and new foods.
Dining out also provides a great opportunity for family and friends to catch up, relax and unwind.
Saving money while eating out.
There are smart ways to save money while dining on delicious meals and hanging with friends. You don’t need to dip into your savings to dine out.
Start with drinks.
If you are going to order a round, order a pitcher it’s cheaper. Or opt for water which is free and great for your body.
Moving on to the appetizers.
Order a few appetizers to share instead of ordering a main meal. Ask your host for some recommendations. Skip the salads as an appetizer and order a dinner salad and you will get more bang for your buck. You can even share it with your dinner party, just ask for some extra plates.
Main dish meals and family style.
If you have ever been to an ethnic restaurant most things are served family style, one large dish and lots of little plates. You can do this at most eateries even with burgers. Order a few different meals and share them. All you need to do is ask for some extra side plates to dish up.
Sharing a few large central meal dishes with your dinner party is more cost effective than everyone ordering their own dish. It also adds variety.
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Most restaurants and pubs, will have a happy hour when meals and drinks are cheaper. Some places will also run a special daily menu before a certain time. Locally we have an Italian restaurant that runs a special menu before 5 pm you get your main dish, salad and dessert all for one low price. The meal portion is a little smaller but still filling. The price is also lower than the dinner menu.
Join the club.
Most chain restaurants and some small eateries have diner club cards where you eat so many times you get a deal or you get a free meal on your birthday. Join the club and use the rewards to save money. You can even do this with your local coffee shops generally in the form of a punch card for so many coffees and the last one is free.
Avoid the shiny glitter signs.
Just like when you go on a vacation veer off the main street and you may just find a cheaper yummier place to eat. Avoid the big box eateries and stick to the Mom and Pop joints and you will get a great home cooked meal for less.
Food trucks are all the rage right now and you can get some pretty good foods at way less than a dine in restaurant. Plus you can order a few different dishes and share.
Bring home the extras.
I always wonder why people leave plates of food behind when they eat out. You are paying for the food on your plate so why not bring it with you. Pack it up and bring it to work for lunch or add a side salad and have it tomorrow for dinner.
Great ways to save money while dining out.
These are all some great ways to cut the costs of eating out. You work hard for your money there is no sense in giving it away. Another great way to save money is to ask your server what the days specials are or maybe your local restaurant has a week day special they run.
Take it and go.
Instead of dining in why not dine out and skip the seating fee. Some restaurants will knock 10% off the bill for take out and provide plates and cutlery. Make a picnic in the park with your meal. In fact my son and I love this option with our local pizzeria. There is nothing better than a picnic in the park with family, good food and outdoor fun.
I wish you all an amazing day,
Saving & Simplicity