21 Tips to Save on Eating Out

September 16, 2016

21 Tips to Save on Eating Out

We’re all aware that eating out can be a huge budget buster. And a surefire way to save on eating out is to do it less.

But eating out IS fun, and instead of feeling guilty when you cave and dine out, go ahead and budget for it and know that there are ways you can stretch your restaurant dollars.

Use these tips to keep your food tab low and save on eating out.

1. Find a Deal on Groupon or LivingSocial

You’ll be able to find great restaurant deals on both Groupon and LivingSocial. It’s also an excellent way to find and try new restaurants. Just be sure to read the fine print!

2. Look for New Restaurants

That new restaurant in your neighborhood that you heard about might be running specials before they officially launch. Do some investigating to find out.

3. Skip the Soda

There is a tremendous amount of markup on soft drinks, juices, and tea. Bypass the drinks and order water. You’ll save money AND calories. Need some flavor? Ask for lime or lemon with your water.

4. Bring Your Own

Instead of ordering wine or beer when dining out, save money by finding a BYO restaurant. You may have to pay a small corkage fee.

5. Bring Your Own…Food

Some wineries and breweries allow you to bring your own food, providing you’re spending money on their drinks.

6. Take Advantage of Restaurant Week

Just about every city has a Restaurant Week. Some have it twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall. Since most of the time a three-course meal is offered, this is a great way to celebrate a special occasion or try that expensive restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to.

7. Get a Second Meal Out of it

Typically the portions we’re served are way more than we actually need to consume. Stop eating when you’ve had enough and bring the rest home for tomorrow’s lunch.

8. Do Lunch Instead of Dinner

You’ll still get the thrill of dining out, but at a significantly lower cost.

9. Order it To Go

Instead of sitting down to your meal, grab it to go. You’ll save by tipping the counter staff rather than your server.

10. Use Coupons

Most newspapers or coupon apps have coupons for restaurants.

11. Eat During Happy Hour

Typically, restaurants with bars run specials on their bar menu during Happy Hour.
Take advantage of lower-priced food – sometimes as much as half-off.

12. Eat on Certain Days

Some restaurants run specials on a certain day of the week. That’s your day to go!

13. Make a Meal Out of Small Plates

It could be cheaper to combine two or three small plates for your meal. Check the pieces to be sure, of course!

14. Wings or Cheesecake?

Choose between ordering an appetizer or dessert, but not both. (Or skip both!)

15. Yelp it Up

Save on your meal by finding a discount on Yelp. Sometimes a simple task like checking in on Facebook is required.

16. Get on Your Restaurant’s Email List

Join the mailing lists of your favorite restaurants to be notified of discounts and promotions.

17. Brunch Specials

Find a restaurant with a good weekend brunch special.

18. Go Big

Order more food? Yes! This applies mostly to take out, but spend a few more dollars to get the larger size of what you’re ordering and get TWO meals out of it.

19. Buy Gift Cards at a Warehouse Club

Both Costco and Sam’s Club sell gift cards at lower prices than their face value. Save a few bucks by purchasing your gift cards to the restaurants you frequent.

20. Use Restaurant.com

Buy a discounted voucher on restaurant.com. Again, pay close attention to the fine print!

21. Entertainment Books

You can score some decent deals by purchasing an entertainment book. The discounts are usually good for at least a year, and you can save on far more than eating out.

Try one or a few of these tips to maximize your dining dollars!

What are some other ways you save on eating out?