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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

10 Tips for Saving $$ While Dining Out

1. Use 2-for-1 coupons.
You'll find them in the newspaper or in direct mail offers those buy-one-meal-get-the-other-one-free deals. Use them as a way to discover new restaurants you haven't tried yet or just to save money when you feel like eating out. Get more restaurant coupons here.

2. Kids Eat Free
Many restaurants offer a night or two a week when kids eat free! Just by ordering meals for the parents.

3. Split dinners.
This works best in Italian or Chinese restaurants, but it can be used anywhere. At restaurants known for exceptionally large servings, order only one entree and split it. For a family of four, order only two or three entrees and divvy them up among yourselves.

4. Buffet meals for family fare.
When taking the family out to dinner, consider restaurants that have buffets. In most cases, the prices are outstanding and a parent can share with a small child. They are usually all-you-can-eat, and there is something for everyone. Other than fast-food restaurants, buffets are one place that won't break the bank when eating out.

5. Try out appetizers.
Better restaurants usually have a long list of appetizers that are reasonably priced. If you're not outrageously hungry, perhaps there's a yummy item on the appetizer menu that will satisfy your hunger. Also, don't be afraid to ask for fresh bread to accompany your meal. Another idea is to order soup and/or salad.

6. Watch what you drink.
Drinks, including sodas, have some of the highest mark-ups. Limit yourself to water with a squeeze of lemon or lime with your meal.

7. Ask for a doggie bag.
It really isn't necessary to clean your plate off. Eat what you feel comfortable with and take the rest home for another meal. This in itself is a 2-for-1 deal.

8. Try lunch instead of dinner.
Many of the expensive restaurants are also open for lunch, but the lunch menu can be as much as half the cost of their dinner menu. If you're dying to try a pricey new eatery, why not go for lunch and keep the cost down. Many places I have go to will allow you to order from the lunch menu even at dinner time, it can't hurt to ask.

9. Older is better.
Some places it's 50, others it's 55, 60, 62 or 65, but seniors can luck out at many restaurants that offer them a discount. Sometimes senior discounts are offered on specific nights of the week. Call your favorite restaurants and ask if they offer senior discounts. Also, places like Denny's and IHOP have senior menus offering smaller quantities and lower prices, and many times you don't have to be a senior to enjoy the savings.

10. Check out online specials.
If you have favorite chain restaurants, check their sites out online to see if they have specials you can take advantage of. Sign up for their newsletter to receive coupons, special offers and freebies on your birthday.


Marshall Price said...

I like when their certificates go to 80% off...great food and great prices.


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