6 Easy Ways to Save Money While Eating Out
1. ORDER WATER
It's so easy to order a drink everytime you eat, but those can add up. $3 for a coke, plus tax and tip will cost you $4 every meal. If you go out for lunch 5 times a week, and dinner 3 times a week, that adds up to $1,664 a year. This is not including alcohol! It's much healthier for you and I mean, it's an extra $1,600 a year! If you are a couple, that's $3,200 a year on just drinks at restaurants. This doesn't include coffee either! If you REALLY feel like a coke, share with someone.
2. USE COUPONS
No, not the coupons you cut out. (Although, there's nothing wrong with that.) There are plenty Groupon, Living Social, Yelp coupons available in your local area. (Pair that with a Groupon coupon code AND Ebates and you're saving a ton of money.) Always check into the restaurant on Yelp, and there could be a coupon there for you.
3. USE CREDIT CARDS
Chase Sapphire Preferred Gives 2 points per dining - these points add up to money you can use for travel, gift cards, and whatever else you want. Delta Skymiles which is a free membership mileage program also has a dining program. Delta Skymiles Dining. The cool thing about this one is if you register your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and now eat at one of the participating restaurants, you get points for both programs!
4. EAT LUNCH
Want to try the new fancy restaurant? Try it at lunch time. You'll get the same great food a much cheaper price.
5. GET APPETIZERS
Get 2 or 3 appetizers rather than 2 whole entreés. You get to try more things, not stuff yourself, and save money.
6. SHARE FOOD
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people don't like to share food. As a Korean, this is very natural to me. However, my Cuban husband had to get used to this very fast. You can save money by sharing one appetizer, and one entreé instead of two separate entreés. Share a drink. Share dessert. If you have five people, you can definitely share four entreés. "But what if I'm still hungry!?" Then order more after you're done eating. 9 times out of 10, you'll already be full.
Notice, there is nothing about skimping on the tips. Save money, but not at the expense of others. I guarantee if you do these things, you'll save thousands on eating out every year. Of course, you should splurge sometimes on special occasions. Just don't make it an everyday thing. It should be about balance.