If the high cost of restaurant meals is eating up your cash, here are some great ways to keep your tab lean!
DISCOUNTS. Many restaurants offer a reduced-price menu for seniors and children. If you or someone in your party qualifies be sure to inquire if this doesn’t show up on the regular menu. Typically these discounted menus offer smaller portions at significantly reduced prices.
SKIP THE SODAS. Skip the pricey drinks and dubious “free refills” altogether and you’ll save at least $2 a person. Lisa B. rewards herself whenever she opts for water by stuffing two bucks into her savings account.
SHARE. Splitting a meal these days is socially acceptable and economically savvy. While some restaurants charge a minimal charge for splitting, most are very accommodating. Even if you have to pay a buck or two to split, it’s still better than paying for two meals you cannot eat completely. If you’re embarrassed about sharing, don’t be. If you must explain, say you are a light eater or that you’re doing your duty to the earth by not over-consuming. Many restaurants are so accommodating they’ll split the meal in the kitchen rather than handing you an extra plate.
SPECIALS. Many restaurants have low-priced daily specials that are not on the menu. So before you get your heart set on a regular menu item, be sure to ask about any unadvertised specials.
EARLY BIRDS. Many restaurants, in an effort to build business during their quiet hours, offer half-off or some other enticingly priced meal, but only if you there before the regular dinner crowd, typically from 4:00 to 5:30 pm. Look in your local newspaper and your mail box for advertisements and information.
APPETIZERS. Before you opt for a full meal, check the appetizer menu. You’ll find generous portions minus the add-ons like salad or soup. And the price is right. Just request that your selection be served as an entrée and you’ll fit right in.
PLAY TOURIST. It’s not unusual for restaurants to have special offers directed at tourists that you can take advantage of as well. Stop in the lobby of a local hotel and peruse the local attraction brochures. You’ll find all kinds of offers for local restaurants. Your local tourism board will have this kind of information as well.
LUNCH MENU. Many restaurants have a lunch menu that is slightly different from the one for dinner, the difference being the portion size and price. Ask the waiter if you can order from the Lunch Menu and you will save a lot.
RESTAURANT.COM. You can buy Gift Certificates for selected restaurants in all parts of the country for half of the face value at www.restaurant.com. A $25 Gift Certificates is typically $12.50; one with a $10 face value is just $5. And you can purchase the quantity you desire for the restaurants offered. This is a site worth checking out!
GROUPON AND LIVING SOCIAL. Both Groupon and Living Social offer great deals for restaurants in your area looking to bring in new customers. Take advantage and you can often find great values for 30%-60% off your meal.
Question: How many times each week on average do you eat out?