You don’t need to spend a fortune to eat out. Here are some ways to eat out economically that could potentially save you up to 50%!
- Share a meal. Most meals portions are generous enough for two. Ask your waiter if you can share an entrée. Some restaurants have policies against this practice, so it’s best to find out right from the start. It goes without saying, of course, that this isn’t something you can do on an all-you-can-eat special.
- Bag it! Ask for a to-go container at the start of the meal and box up half the entrée. Not only will you be eating smarter at this meal, you’ll also have a ready-made second meal. At a recent outing, I heard a woman ask her server to have the pre-entrée salad boxed up instead of being served, saying “I want to save my appetite for the entrée.” Great idea! She’ll have a salad for her lunch tomorrow.
- Share a dessert. I love dessert! But who can eat one after a full meal? If you box up half of your meal, you may have room for dessert, but sharing is still fun – and a calorie saver!
- Take Advantage of Coupons. Sites like Restaurant.com and Dining Advantage offer discount coupons for specials like Buy One Get One meals. Pay attention to the fine print – most deals require a minimum purchase – and these can save you substantial amounts. Registration is free. My preference is Restaurant.com, since the coupons never expire. They also have an easy, no-questions-asked, option for exchanging coupons, which I had to do when a local restaurant went out of business before we were able to eat there. Dining Advantage will refund the money you paid for a coupon, but it requires contacting them. They respond quickly, but if you’re a do-it-yourself person like me, Restaurant.com is the best choice. There are other coupon sites out there, that a search online can pull up. There are also books of coupons for local areas. Just be sure anything you purchase will be worth the cost.
- Ask for a discount. Are you a member of AARP or AAA? Ask if the restaurant gives senior discounts. Often you can find this information online, either on the restaurant’s page or through their customer service, so you can know before you go. You can also search the site for any discounts such as weekly specials or early-bird prices.
- Become a club member. Before you go, check and see if the restaurant has a club you can join to receive notice of specials and discounts. They may also have a social media page where they post specials. Points cards that add up to free goodies and special treats for your birthday are added perks!
- Speak Up. Many restaurants offer incentives for your feedback so check your receipt – there may be an option to do a survey.
That’s it! Enjoy your meal and the savings!
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