You can save a lot of money by eating at home. But there are times (or a lot of instances) when you simply don't feel like cooking. Fortunately, having a nice meal out on the town doesn't have to mean breaking the bank. You'll be fine if you just follow these money-saving techniques when eating out.
1. Place an order for water.
While it may not be as thrilling as a margarita on taco Tuesday, it is unquestionably the less expensive (and healthier) alternative. Beer, wine, cocktails, and even fountain drinks may add anywhere from $5 to $50 to your bill (hey, we've all been there) — and if you stick to water, your price can be drastically reduced.
2. Organize your coupons.
Okay, maybe not in the literal sense. However, many restaurants (particularly chain restaurants) regularly post specials on their websites. There are loads of amazing offers out there, whether it's saving a few bucks on a certain item or getting a percentage off your entire meal. All you have to do now is look for them. Check out the restaurant's Facebook page, seek for discounts online by entering in the restaurant's name and the words "coupon" or "promo code," and, if you're old school, look for offers in the newspaper.
3. Do you have children?
Take advantage of the free dinner nights for youngsters! Many restaurants, both chain and local, provide complimentary meals to children on specific evenings of the week if an adult entree is purchased in excess of a specified amount. So bring the whole family out and take advantage of the savings!
4. Substitute an appetiser for your main course.
An appetiser is sometimes the same size as an entree but costs half as much. Use this to your advantage by having an appetiser as your main course. Because most appetisers aren't totally balanced meals, finish things up with a small house or side salad.
5. Share a meal with a friend.
It's no secret that most restaurants in the United States serve enormous amounts of food. So, if someone else in your party has the same desire as you, consider splitting a lunch. Request that the server bring out an extra plate and divide everything — including the bill — in half.
6. Take the leftovers home with you!
Making a meal into two meals is the greatest way to get the most out of it. Use willpower (also known as portion control) to order a larger item from the menu and only eat half of it. Then, in a to-go box, take the rest home! Heat it up for lunch or dinner the next day to save twice as much money.
7. Place an order for takeout.
This may sound paradoxical when it comes to dining out, but it works. Rather than sitting at a table and eating your dinner there, go to the restaurant and place an order for takeout. Depending on the location, you may receive more than the typical amount simply to fill up the box.
8. Last but not least, take advantage of the city's best happy hours!
Look for offers that only happen at certain times of the day on the internet, ask your friends, or ask the servers at your favourite restaurants. They're well worth the money!