Did you know that Americans are spending billions of dollars more at restaurants than on groceries? Preserve your finances and enjoy a meal away with the buffet of options to feast on savings.
1. Budget It
Take control of the urge to splurge by setting a limit on how much you will spend on restaurant meals. Having a budget will help you determine how often you will dine and which restaurants fit within your means.
2. Savings in Your Wallet
You may be holding a key to dining discounts. Are you a student? A member of AAA or AARP? Veteran or active-duty military personnel? Use your affiliation card to reduce your cost of eating out.
Coupons can upgrade your dining experience because they are like extra cash. You can find restaurant coupons in your local paper. Check for coupons or deals before heading to your favorite restaurant.
4. Coupon Books & Discount Cards
Groups such as schools and civic organizations sell coupon books and discount cards full of discounts from local establishments. The money saved with these tools used just a few times during the year will more than cover the initial cost. To save even more, purchase a coupon book with a friend and share the coupons.
5. Restaurant Loyalty Clubs
Many franchises offer deals via emails and text messages. Signing up is usually free, and the savings add up quickly. Look for birthday specials – you may be able to treat yourself “freely” on your special day!
6. Online Deals
Look online to find coupons for your favorite spots. Find deals on your choice restaurants and try out novel places for a fraction of the regular cost.
7. Discounted Gift Cards
You can simply and quickly find discounted restaurant gift cards online. Save up to half (or more) off your meals!
8. Daily Specials
Look out for special pricing at your local eatery. You may find early bird and lunch specials, Happy Hour deals, or popular menu items that are discounted on certain days.
9. Take Out
By picking up your entrée, you save yourself the effort of preparation and the added expenses of delivery fees and tips. You also avoid the temptation of ordering expensive sides and drinks. Embellish your meal with a simple side, drink and dessert from the grocery store.
10. Drink Water
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages can drain your wallet, opt for water instead. Water is free and healthy and allows the flavors of your food to shine through without sugary undertones.
11. Share a Large Dish
This idea works well for preteens or adults that want more than a kid’s menu portion but less than a regular adult portion. Ask for an extra plate and share a meal.
12. Free Food for Kids
Some restaurants offer free kid’s meals on certain nights. This is the ideal time to treat your child to a special dinner at no extra cost.
13. Receipt Surveys
You may find an invitation to participate in a survey on your restaurant receipt. Often, you will be offered a free drink, entrée, or meal for responding. This is a painless way to earn free food at a place you already enjoy.
14. Cash Back Credit Card Program
Recoup 1% to 5% of your purchase when you use a cash back credit card. Check the rewards programs on your card(s) to keep track of available savings.
Preparing your own food is usually more economical than eating out but, you have a variety of options to save significantly at restaurants. Enjoy time off from kitchen duty without breaking the bank. Bon appé***!