We all love to eat out. Whether it is to save us the hassle of cooking at home or to spend time with friends or to enjoy some delicious food that we simply can’t create in our own kitchen, eating out has a lot of positive attributes. Sadly it has one very large drawback, it is incredibly expensive. If you are not careful you can end up spending all of your savings eating out. What can start as a once in a while treat can turn into a nightly habit. Before you know it your fridge is permanently empty and you eat out all the time. That is not a good idea. Despite the increased expense of the grocery store, you can still eat far cheaper at home than at a restaurant. You should plan to only eat out once or twice a week so that you save money and see it as the treat that it should be. When you do eat out though there are some decisions you can make to ensure it is a little cheaper.
Bring your own drinks
So many restaurants make huge margins on selling drinks. A glass of coke costs you about $3 in a restaurant and they are pouring it from the same 2L bottle that costs you $2 in a grocery store. From now on bring your own bottle of water to a restaurant and don’t buy a drink at all. If you really want a glass of wine or beer then buy some from the shop and have them when you are back at home while relaxing.
Avoid the restaurant
Eating out doesn’t have to mean eating at a nice restaurant. You could to a burger place, a pizza place, Mexican, Turkish, and more. Many of these options are far cheaper than a traditional restaurant and serve food that is just as, if not more, delicious.
Go out for lunch, stay home for dinner
When you meet someone for a meal out it is usually dinner. Dinner is for some reason incredibly expensive in restaurants. It is as if when the sun starts to set the restaurant owners feel they can sneak an extra 0 onto the bill. Try going out for lunch once in a while. You can usually enjoy a full meal for about half the price of dinner. This is because lunch is usually cheaper on the menu and there are often lunch specials.
Dessert is priced in a similar way to that bottle of coke we mentioned earlier. You might get three scoops of ice cream and pay $11 dollars for it when you could go to the shop and get the nicest ice cream they have for $4. If a restaurant has a must-have dessert then, by all means, splash out and try it but don’t make those empty calories a constant part of your meal.
Restaurants do well during busy periods and struggle during quiet periods. To counteract this volatility they often sign up to discount books, restaurant weeks, and many other offers that allow people to dine for less. Check what the main discounts are in your area and if you are a big fan of eating out then use these discount websites to avail of the best deals.
Skip the main
Another great option is to order two appetizers instead of the main alone. You will usually end up with the same amount of food, with a variety of tastes and often at a lower price. Check through the menu in detail to see what hidden ways there are to eat more and pay less simply by ignoring the status quo.