We all enjoy a good meal out on the town. Not only does dining out provide us with the opportunity to eat foods we enjoy that we may not necessarily be able to prepare as well at home (or have the time to attempt), but it also provides us with the convenience of not having to clean up after ourselves or prepare meals. There are numerous advantages to dining out, but the cost is one of the less-than-pleasing aspects of doing so. This is especially true if it becomes a regular habit.
While dining out is a wonderful way to enjoy the company of your spouse and extended family, it is also a fun way to catch up with friends. Rather than shunning it when we should be saving money, there are numerous ways to keep dining out on the cheap when we should be saving money.
In order to save money when dining out, here are some of our best suggestions.
Do Not Include the Entrée in Your Meal.
Entrees are delicious, but they are not always necessary when we are ordering a large amount of food at a time. Avoid ordering the entrée when dining out and you might save an average of $5–10 on your bill when you do so.
Alternately, if you are not very hungry but still want to eat something, a lot of restaurants provide main and entrée-sized portions of several of their meals, such as pasta or even smaller slices of beef. Again, you may save up to $10 on your dinner as a result of this.
Take a Plate and Share It
Meals designed to be shared can often be better value and less expensive than purchasing individual meals for each person. This is not always the case, but it is worth considering in some instances, such as when ordering a seafood platter for two rather than two single-serve seafood dishes.
Consider Special Offers
Restaurants and coffee shops throughout the city regularly offer deals on different days of the week, such as a discounted dinner on Wednesdays or free meals for children on Mondays. When these specials are available, make a note of when they are available and schedule your dining out accordingly. Some establishments even offer a “buy one, get one free dinner” promotion to customers on certain nights of the week. This could result in a savings of $20 or more.
Make Use of Deal Websites
And, of course, there is a vast array of discount dining websites, such as Groupon, each of which has an extensive selection of discount dining deals to choose from. This necessitates eating at specific establishments during specific hours, but if a bargain is available at a location you are interested in, you can save up to 50% off the standard price you would otherwise pay. This, however, necessitates advance preparation.
Many of us want to sample a few different meals when dining at restaurants that provide ethnic food such as Indian, Chinese, or Thai cuisine, for example. In most cases, if you are traveling with a group of people, you can take advantage of a banquet-style lunch, in which a variety of popular foods are served on a large table for everyone to eat for a set price. Alternatively, you might all choose a favorite and order it to be shared amongst the group. This involves purchasing one main dish and possibly splitting the cost of side dishes such as rice.
There are numerous ways to dine out in elegance without having to spend a small fortune, allowing you to “have your cake and eat it too,” as they say in the United Kingdom.