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15 ways to save Money When Eating Out

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I love cooking at home in my dutch oven cookware or thermal cooker. I love home cooked meals. But there are some times, when you just want to eat out and not worry about cutting, cooking and doing dishes. I love experimenting and eating out in different ethnic restaurants and trying out new cuisines.

Eating out can be expensive or cheap enough, depending on where you eat, what you order and type of food you choose. The best would be to able to eat out decent meal, without breaking your bank or your budget. Over the years I have learned a few tricks that has helped me and I am sure it will help you.

These tips are not new and used by many already. Some of it you may already know it. Trick is to save money and do not feel deprived, once you think you are giving up luxury, resentment may happen. Hopefully these tips will save you money without feeling deprived.

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15 Ways to save money while eating out

There are simple ways to cut the expense and save money while you are eating out!

  1. Eat out during Lunch Time: Eating out during lunch time is lot cheaper compared to eating same meal at dinner. I do not why, but restaurant charges more for same pasta dish during dinner time and bit cheaper during lunch hours.
  2. Share meals: Most US Restaurants are serving large quantities of serving size, compared to other European Eateries. There are now few places in US starting to serve right size meal. However, if your meal is large, share it with friends or have a take out to go for next meal.
  3. Order Water: Water is free, unless you order premium bottled water. Juice, Soda, and coffee, tea easily would add up to your bill. If you must order drink, do it occasionally only.
  4. Avoid Alcohol: Wines, Beers are more expensive in the restaurants with mark up of 300% or more. So best bet is to avoid ordering anything with alcohol in it. Some restaurant may allow you to bring your own bottle, so ask about it.
  5. Join Frequent Diner Club: Many restaurants offer special deals and coupons, if you join their frequent diner club, they may call it by different name. Check out the restaurant website or ask when dining there for such program. They may send special coupons via email or post mail. It is worth to ask.
  6. Look for Coupon deals: Some restaurant may offer “buy one – get one free” coupons. Look for these in newspaper, pennysaver ads, or online for discounts.
  7. Buy Entertainment Book: We bought a local entertainment book for $25, and we got many restaurants (fast food, and high end eateries) “2 for one” coupons plus many other entertainment discount coupons. If you are eating out a lot, this entertainment book may pay off in eating one meal out itself.
  8. Free appetizer while you wait: A few restaurant may offer free appetizer while you meal order is getting ready. For example, a many Mexican Restaurants may offer chips and salsa or Italian Bistro may offer Bread and butter. You can maximize your savings this way. Just do not add too much calories to your body, just because it is free!
  9. Eat out near College or University: Generally, eat out places near college or university is geared towards students and hence bit cheaper or reasonable. And many college town restaurants usually have diverse ethnic choices as well.
  10. Eat at Fast food or Mom and Pops: Many fast food or small mom and pops restaurants are generally quick service and cheap to reasonable priced menu items. I like to eat at many mom and pops restaurants to support my local businesses too.
  11. Work at Restaurant Part time: If you are working in a restaurant part time as your second job or full time, as an employee you may get free meals or discounts on your meal and maybe for your friends too.
  12. Be Mystery Diner: There are mystery shopper and mystery diner programs out there where you can sign up to review restaurants. You have to file a report, and they will pay you $10 and reimburse for your meals. To check it out, search “mystery shopper jobs” in your local area as it could be varying depending on where you live.
  13. Free Birthday Meals: A rare few restaurants offer free meals during your birthday, all you have to do is show your id, with your birthday! In addition to many restaurant may offer, free dessert to birthday boy or birthday gal, with candles and singing along. If that does not embarrass you, go ahead and take an advantage of it.
  14. Kids eat free Day: Some chain such as Denny’s and others have “kids eat free” day, so if you have kids or want to take your nieces or nephew out, pick those timing to eat out in that restaurants.
  15. Eat Vegetarian: Generally vegetarian items on menu are cheaper compared to many seafood and meat dishes. Many restaurants have a great Vegetarian or mock meat choices that will make you feel satisfied and not keep you hungry.

Hopefully, choosing above tips will make your eating out experience much pleasant and less expensive on your pocket.

Note: While I am for all saving money, do not save on tipping the waiters as their salary is counted with tip money.

Frugal Eating and Cooking Books

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free for the Frugal and Lazy Cook: Healthy Eating-Eating for Life Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free for the Frugal and Lazy Cook: Healthy Eating-Eating for Life
Strategic Eating, The Econovore's Essential Guide (The Simpleton Solutions Series) Strategic Eating, The Econovore’s Essential Guide (The Simpleton Solutions Series)


How to Eat Healthier On A Budget How to Eat Healthier On A Budget
Family Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill Family Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill


Image source: Vitamix Recipe

Source: 15 ways to save money when eating out from Cookware HeadQuarters

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