dining out on a budget: 5 easy ways to eat out on the cheap

[ 0 ] February 23, 2012 |

Many of us are living on a less-than-ideal budget these days. While we’d all love to go out every night and order delicious $8 pomegranate martini’s without worry, the reality is we just can’t get away with it. There’s no need to skip out on dinner all-together though. You may not be able to dine in luxury, but you can still make the best of it with these five eating out savings tips.

1. order appetizers.  Most of the time portion sizes at restaurants are too big anyways. So, instead of getting one big plate of the same thing, why not order a few appetizers to share among the group? Not only will you spend less since appetizers are cheaper than entree items, you’ll also get to try out a variety of dishes.

2. clip, print and save. Before you go out look around for coupons. Check online (see our Restaurant.com coupons) and in local grocery flyers or newspapers. You can also follow our Pinterest board for up-to-date printable coupons. Admittedly, if you’re headed out on a first date, this may not be your best option. Some may feel a tad uncomfortable using coupons at a restaurant in the first place. But, if you’re with people you feel comfortable with, and you’re looking to save, then I say use ‘em! They wouldn’t offer coupons and discounts if they didn’t expect customers to take advantage.

3. skip the drinks. I know, I know. This one can be a toughy. But, if you’re really trying to stretch your hard-earned dollars, it’s definitely worth it. Order a water to go with your meal (free!), or forgo those alcoholic-beverages for drinks that come with free refills such as coffee, tea or soda.

4. pay attention to daily specials. Most restaurants have deals for each day of the week. You can get anything from all you can eat wings to cheap martini’s, depending on where you’re going and what day of the week it is. Check out the website of the restaurant you’re interested in and plan which day to go beforehand based on the deals they have available. I find that Tuesdays are usually best for cheap eats, since it’s the traditionally the slowest night of the week.

5. do lunch instead. Eating out during dinner hours is usually more expensive than eating out at lunchtime. So, next time you plan on eating out make it a lunch or even breakfast date instead. You’ll save money and beat the crowds.

What do you do to save on eating out? Share in a comment below!

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Category: home shopping tips

About Shannon: Shannon is a savvy saver and lover of all things fashion and beauty. As a lover of pop-culture, she'll keep you up-to-date on all the hottest news and trends. You can find her tweeting on @FabulousSavings. View author profile.

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