15 Frugal Tips for Dining Out

When you need to cut back, dining out is one of the first luxuries to go.  By utilizing these tips you may not have to completely eliminate eating in restaurants.

  1. Eat out at lunchtime.  Lunch menus are almost always less expensive.
  2. Eat out before 6 to catch the early bird specials.
  3. If there are two of you split a large entrée.  If you have kids split an adult meal between 3 or 4 of them.  Restaurant portions are normally huge.   If you are single, take half your meal home in a doggy bag for a meal the next day.restaurantfamily1
  4. Drink water and forget the alcohol.  Water is free and much better for you.
  5. If you have kids patronize restaurants with “Kids Eat Free” policies. Enter your zipcode at Kidsmealdeals to find these deals.
  6. Small “Mom and Pop” type local restaurants usually have cheaper prices.  Stay away from flashy chain restaurants.
  7. Local Mexican or Asian restaurants often have inexpensive menus.
  8. Skip dessert.  Stop by the grocery on the way home and get a 50 cent candy bar if you must have something sweet.
  9. Eat at restaurants that have complimentary starters like chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants or salad and breadsticks at Italian restaurants.  This will fill you up and allow you to take home more of your entrée for another meal.
  10. Use the Entertainment Book for coupons.  These coupons can save you 50%.  Search local papers or magazines for restaurant coupons.  Other coupons can be found on restaurant websites.
  11. Eat an appetizer in place of an entrée.  This could save you 20 – 50% over a regular meal.
  12. Order a couple of side items instead of an entrée.  Side items are often priced much lower than whole meals.  Do the math — this is not always true.
  13. Dine at places where you place your order at a counter.  Saves you tip money.
  14. Get take-out and eat it at home or better yet at the park.  This saves tip money as well.  If you take it home, supply your own drinks and dessert.
  15. Order off the kids’ menu.  Prices are lower and so are the calories.

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