I know that there are several ways to save money when you go out to eat. One way is to stay away from expensive restaurants. Another way is to use coupons. Those are pretty obvious solutions, though, so below are some quick tricks to help you save a few bucks and still enjoy yourself on a date.
1. Go Out To Eat for Lunch
When you go out to eat at lunch, the lunch menus are typically more affordable. The restaurant will likely have lunch specials that could be even less expensive. The best part is that when you eat a big lunch, you probably won’t want a big dinner. You can make yourself a sandwich or a bowl of oatmeal at home for dinner that night and still get the same great dining out experience during the day.
2. Eat Appetizers
Part of the fun of going out is just getting out of the house and not having to do the dishes. At least, that’s why I enjoy going! (I seriously hate to cook!) However I’ve found that I always have leftovers. The portions are just so enormous in the States, and even though I’m eating for three, I can never finish my food. So, one way I’ve found to get around this is just to order an appetizer. Sometimes a soup can be just as filling as a big entree, and I love trying finger foods.
3. Share A Dish
I’m sure you’ve thought of this one, but sometimes it’s hard for two people to agree on something to share! My husband and I always like different things. He tends to try something new every time we go out, and I always order the same thing! We always plan to share a meal but then we end up getting separate ones (and to go boxes!) anyway. I’m going to try to make a concerted effort to try to share more as we go forward. After all, sharing is a good quality in a marriage.
4. Get Mexican Food
Okay, I know this is pretty specific advice, but Mexican is my go to food! It may or may not have been the inspiration for this post. You just can’t beat having chips and salsa right when you sit down. I’m always so hungry when it’s time for dinner, and I’m not going to lie – I just love the instant gratification that the chips provide! Mexican food can definitely be inexpensive if you just order a single quesadilla or a taco or two. After all the chips and salsa, that’s all you want to eat anyway! Remember, you can always order more if you’re not full yet. (The service is usually pretty fast!) All in all, you can probably spend less than $20 on dinner for two at a Mexican restuarant.
As evidenced, there are a lot of ways to save money when you go out to eat. There are the old tricks like ordering water, saying no to alcohol, and choosing some of the less expensive entrees on the menu. Then, add to it a little bit of sharing meals and a lunch date, and you might be surprised at how well eating out can fit into your budget!
What are some ways that you save money when you eat out?
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I cook once in a while and actually enjoy it. Going out is rather rare. When I do though, I prefer a shared meal...much fun as you have to compromise on what to eat and I might end up trying something completely new!
These are some pretty useful tips about saving on meals and I follow the one about starters too, less for money reasons and more for the portion size and taste factor (in some restaurant, starters actually taste better, especially if they are Mexican recipes).
One thing I like to do is always ask for a doggie box for any uneaten food. Makes for a perfect lunch the next day.