I know that eating out isn't always the most frugal choice. Nevertheless, it is sometimes necessary. We may be traveling and have to eat out. My friend over at Life is Sweeter by Design recently talked about how sick she is of cooking dinner and sometimes I get like that too and the only solution is eating out! There are tons of reasons that families eat out. I am going to show you how families can save money when eating out so it doesn't break the bank!
How Families Can Save Money When Eating Out
Drinking water when you eat out can save a family a LOT of money. I am always shocked by how much a simple glass of tea can be. Typically a soft drink or tea will cost $2-3 dollars. CRAZY! If my family all drinks water we will save a minimum of $10 and some places it may save me close to $20! That can add up to a lot of money over the course of a year.
Many restaurants give HUGE plates of food. It is way more than one person should be eating. How about sharing a meal with your spouse? Having your children split one adult meal instead of ordering 2 children's meals can also save a few dollars. There is nothing wrong with sharing….am I right? Plus you are helping your waistline at the same time!
Skip the Starters
I just talked about how large the portions are at most eating establishments. Do we really need that appetizer of mozzarella sticks? I almost always regret ordering appetizers because I am so stuffed by the time the whole meal is over! Skipping the starters can save you $8-$15 easy!
You know I love coupons. Did you know that coupons aren't only for groceries? There are lots of coupons for restaurants out there if you look for them. Sometimes I see them in the Sunday paper coupon section. I also look in my local area paper. Check the restaurant's Facebook page too! Do a quick google search before you head out and see what you can find. You may snag a buy one meal, get one free coupon for big savings!
Try New Places
I love to eat at the big name, national chain restaurants as much as the rest of you. The problem is that these big name places can charge the big prices. Plus I may have to wait for a table…thus wasting my time. I love to try smaller mom and pop cafes and diners. The food is usually fantastic and the prices are always better! Supporting small businesses is also something I really believe in!
Watch Out for Kid's Meals
Kid's meals are typically inexpensive. The problem is that my kids don't always eat their meal. I usually have one child who just nibbles and rarely eats much at one sitting. I don't order him a meal. I will let him eat a little bit off of my plate and other family members will also share with him. There is no reason to waste money and food on a kid's meal that won't get eaten!
Go Out for Lunch
Have you looked at lunch menus before? WOW….the prices are usually great. It is usually for the exact same meal you would get at dinner time. Eating during the day is just plain cheaper. Sometimes my husband and I will go for a date during the daytime instead of in the evening. We save money on food and if we hit a movie…we save money on a matinee ticket instead of an evening movie ticket! It is a double win!
Kids Eat Free
There are lots of local and national restaurants that offer a Kids Eat Free night each week. This is a great way for families to save money when eating out. Money Saving Mom has a huge list of places that offer Kids Eat Free nights. If you have children this is the perfect way to save some moolah and still enjoy a night out as a family!
Order the Special
Almost every restaurant offers a daily special. If the special is something you like…it will probably save you a few bucks off the menu price. Remember that every dollar saved counts!
Budget for Eating Out
A budget can be a very flexible thing and if eating out is something that you want to do…then you need to budget for that expense. If you know there is a set amount each month for eating out that will help you decide WHERE to eat and HOW OFTEN you can eat out. A simple plan and budget can give you the freedom and flexibility you want so you can eat out.
These tips on how a family can save money when eating out are simple and don't take a lot of effort to implement. It is amazing how much money you can actually save when you put a tiny bit of effort in before you sit down in that booth to eat!
Does your family eat out? Where is your favorite place to eat out? What is your favorite tip to save money when eating out as a family?