How to save money when eating out

IMG_5766My family and I enjoy eating out from time to time, but with seven of us it can get REALLY expensive!

Here are my top 10 tips to help you save some money:

1.  Order water.  This may seem obvious, but if you order a soda it will cost you $2.00 a person.  This is an easy way to keep the bill down.

2.  Look for coupons!  I am amazed at how many restaurant coupons come in the mail.  Often times they are $5 off of a $20 purchase.  That is a 25% savings!  Other coupons are buy one entrée get one free with drink purchases.  A $2 drink is much better than and $8 dinner!

3.  Look for places in your area that have “kids eat free” nights.  This is HUGE!  Many places, like Chili’s, allow you to get up to 2 kids means per adult entrée ordered.

4.  Look for restaurants that offer combo deals.  (Chili’s and TGIF both do this!)  You order one appetizer, one meal and a dessert for a set price.  This is a TON of food.  So share it!

5.  Go during lunch hours.  Many restaurants will offer meals as much as 50% cheaper for the same entrée.

6.  Look for happy hours.  Many restaurants offer good deals on their food during less crowded times.

7.  Split your meal with your spouse or kids.

8.  Go to restaurants where you don’t have to tip.  There are some GREAT burger joints where you order at the counter and don’t have a server.

9.  Let your smartphone work for you!  Download apps that point out deals for you.  Dining Deals, Bite Hunter and Groupon are just a few!  They will tell you where all the deals are around you.  You can often buy deals right on your phone and never even have to print them out.  Just pull it up on your phone and show the server.

(And my favorite……)

10. Leave the kids at home with a babysitter to eat PJ&J while Hubs and I go out to eat for date night!  (Seriously… I can pay a babysitter for less than it cost me to take the kids out to eat!)

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