Major confession: I do not love to cook. I mostly hate the grocery shopping part, but I kinda dislike the slaving over a hot oven part, too. That being said, my poor husband and I end up eating out at restaurants a lot. We have several tried-and-true favorites that we hit up pretty frequently (like Mexican!), but we love trying new places, too.
One thing we don’t love is the price tag at a nice restaurant. Things can get pretty expensive, especially if you order an appetizer or dessert, which we almost always do. We are big on appetizers. I’m usually starving from the moment that I sit down, so I “need” something to eat pretty quickly. We’ve learned a few ways to save a little cash when we eat out, so I wanted to share these with y’all:
Skip the Soda
First off, simple enough, order water. It’s the easiest way to save a quick $5 on the tab (a coke/drink usually runs about $2.50 a person). If you really need a coke for the night, stop off at a gas station on the way home, where you can pay under a dollar.
Call the restaurant and ask what nights/times they offer special deals. One of our favorite places to go, Applebee’s, offers half price appetizers late night, so if that’s what we are in the mood for, we try to go a little bit later to save a few bucks. Some restaurants offer “buy one get one” nights with entrees/drinks and others have “kids eat free” nights. Don’t be afraid to call and see what they offer.
The More the Merrier (and the Cheaper)
Invite some friends along and split the cost of your favorite appetizer/dessert. I love doing this because we still get to try all the things that we want to try, but the tab is a little bit more friendly because our friends are paying with us, too.
Tweet to Eat
Follow your favorite restaurants on Twitter! I know, it sounds kind of silly, but I promise that it can help save some dough. Several restaurants that I follow (including Outback) randomly tweet out free gift cards, coupons and other special offers.
If you’re going to order an appetizer, split a main dish. My husband and I do this a lot because we quickly learned that after eating an appetizer, we could never both finish our entrees. So now we split an appetizer and an entree and we pay a much nicer price and still go home with happy bellies.
I hope some of these tips help y’all out. Please feel free to share a few with us in the comments below. I love finding cheaper ways to eat out. After all, that means less cooking for me! : )
How do you save money when you eat out?