I read a lot of Jean Chatzky’s money advice. The lady knows her $tuff. I was recently absorbing wisdom on her website (http://www.jeanchatzky.com), when I came across a little snippet about dining out.
We Americans spend an unreal amount of money eating out! Guess that’s why whenever you see a new building being constructed, you can bet the odds are good that it’ll be a restaurant – or a bank for them to keep their money (that was once our money) in. Ronald McDonald must need multiple banks.
It made me start thinking – there are probably lots of ways to save money when eating out. Since I’m not an expert at saving money on anything, I launched a search this morning to find people who are. I’ve rounded up the best advice they had to share as well as links to their sites. The first one actually is courtesy of me – something I’ve learned the hard way. It’s actually burned me twice!
- When you’re “going buffet,” check the price beforehand. They usually aren’t posted in restaurants where the buffet is the main draw. Take a look at what’s on the buffet, measure that against the cost, then see whether you think it’s worth it or not. Keep in mind, it’ll take the same amount of food to fill you up – whether you have a plate dinner or a buffet.
- Keep an eye out for “Kid’s Night” deals. Most restaurants feature at least one night a week when kids under 12 eat free or for 1/2 price. (The Money Instructor)
- Check the mail for coupons and use them. (The Money Instructor)
- Most phone books include great coupons for restaurants – as well as lots of other places. (Get Cooking – I came up with another one. Whoop whoop.)
- Order Pizza!!! Pizza restaurants always have special deals, and you can look for additional coupons in your weekly paper. Alright! Permission to eat at my favorite Pizza Place: Mancino’s on 54 in Owensboro, Kentucky. In fact, one of their Taco Pizzas, my daughter Steph and I have dinner plans tonight. (The Money Instructor)
- Check out the slew of tips HERE! There are too many to go into – but a lot of them are really good.
- Buy and use the Entertainment Books that are sold in a lot of communities. Lots of great bargains live inside these books. (Mommy Savers)
- Have your cake, and share it, too. Go ahead and order dessert, but share it with one or two others. We actually always do this. We’ll order two different desserts and put them in a rotary cycle around the table. Dessert portions are usually pretty big, so they can charge what they want to. Plus, after a big meal, you probably won’t be too hungry anyway, so sharing’s cool. (Free Money Finance)
- “A $35 restaurant bill for a family of four can feed that family for several days. More importantly, if you are in debt or otherwise tight, eating out too much can suck up money that you can use to work toward financial freedom.” (From Better Budgeting)
- Join a dining program such as idine. (Better Budgeting)
Another tip from The Money Instructor was to have coffee at the end of the meal rather than dessert. You’ll save money and calories.
Speaking of desserts – be weary of Pecan Pies in most restaurants. I’ve never, ever gotten a good Pecan Pie outside of my my mom’s, my aunt’s or my own kitchen. As a matter of fact, most I’ve tried out have bordered between disgusting and deadly!
Have an amazing weekend,