On average the country spend over a billion dollars on eating out every month. So it is no secret that we like to dine out. Whether it be Sunday Brunch, lunch with friends or Friday night family dinner. Eating out has its perks. Discover great ways to save money while eating out.
No dishes to clean up, no meal preparation and cooking. And you get to try something new. Our favorite place to dine out is our local ethnic restaurant.
Cost Of Dining Out
Eating out can get expensive. On average a dinner meal for an adult costs $20 plus drinks and an appetizer or dessert. So for a family of 4 you are looking at a tab of $100 or more.
Save 100 Dollars
You could save the $100 and dine at home and get the family involved in the cooking. Plan a taco night or make your own pizza evening.
Saving Money While Dining Out
On the other hand eating out is convenient and fun. You get to sit down and visit, no rushing around the kitchen making sure the pots aren’t boiling over and you don’t have to do the clean up.
So, how do you save on the restaurant tab and still enjoy a great meal out with family and friends?
7 Ways To Save Money When Eating Out
Below you will find seven simple and easy ways to save money while dining out. These are all simple ways to cut $5 or more off your restaurant bill.
1. Go early and skip the rush
Most restaurants offer an early dinner menu that runs till 5:30 pm. It is usually a selection of three to four main dishes to choose from and includes an appetizer or dessert at a reduced price.
Honestly, these early dinner meals are great they usually run at $3 to $4 off and you get to skip the rush and enjoy a great meal.
2. Order several choices
Variety is the spice of life. An average dinner meal costs $20 where an appetizer could cost $6 to $8 each. Order a bunch of appetizers to share and skip the main dish.
Everyone ends up with some great meal choices and who knows there may even be leftovers.
3. Go family style
Choose to dine at a restaurant that serves family style dishes, large portions of single items. You will find these at Chinese, Indian and other ethnic restaurants and pizza parlors.
You usually order a meat dish, a vegetable dish, rice and maybe a bread portion. Everyone dishes up what they want and there is usually leftovers for lunch the next day.
You save money this way by sharing the portions and keeping the meal simple.
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4. Skip the dishes and do take out
You want to eat out and it’s a great day for a picnic. Order your favorite meal to go grab the picnic basket and head to the park. Generally to go meals are slightly cheaper than dine in meals.
If you have a local food truck this may be a great place to get your picnic food.
5. Skip the cocktails and pop
Yes, that drink with the umbrella is great and having a pop every once in a while is okay, but not at $5 to $10 a glass. Stick to water and ask for a slice of lemon.
6. Order the special
Most restaurants offer a meal special at a discounted price. Some restaurants will also offer a small side salad with the dinner special.
7. Sign up for the perks
Most popular restaurants have a loyalty card or in house program, sign up and get your birthday or regular customer perks. Your local restaurant may have cheap meal nights as well.
Or maybe your local family restaurant offers Sunday Brunch Buffet till 1 pm take advantage of the choices and enjoy a Sunday out with the family.
Saving Money While Dining Out
You don’t need to stop dining out to make it work with the budget. You just need to tweak your dining experience a little bit. Share a meal, skip the appetizer and order water. Or order it all to go and have a family picnic in the park.
Updated May 31, 2021