We all love to go out to dinner with friends. You can unwind, try new food, and best of all, you don’t have to do any cooking or cleaning. But, being the hardworking, responsible person you are, you just can’t seem to rationalize it. Fear not, frugal foodie: that well-deserved night out is attainable after all. Eating out on a budget is possible, and it can be fun—check out these five tips.
Choose Appetizers Instead
Appetizers at most restaurants cost less than entrées and are often pretty filling. Instead of ordering a full meal, choose one or two appetizers as your main course. You’ll avoid wasting money by ordering just enough food, rather than shelling out extra cash for an overwhelming portion. Your jeans and your wallet will thank you.
Happy Hour Specials
It’s called happy hour for a reason, you know. Not only do many restaurants have great happy hour drink specials, they often offer specials on selected menu items as well. Find a place that’s convenient for everyone to get to after work, call up your friends, and have them meet you for a drink, some snacks, and a little decompression.
Share Family Style
Going to restaurants that have a family-style menu allows you to try a few different dishes and split the bill with several friends. And if you go somewhere that doesn’t advertise as being family style—DIY! Share one or two main course plates or a few large appetizers. If you all like the same type of wine, you can family-style that too. Ordering a bottle is generally more cost-effective than ordering several glasses.
There are a lot of websites where you can find coupons for big discounts at great restaurants. Sites like Restaurant.com, EatDrinkDeals.com, or Groupon.com put up new coupons every day—and they all have mobile apps too, so you can check them out any time.
Enjoy Restaurant Week
Most bigger cities have this wonderful event called Restaurant Week at least once a year. Local restaurants promote their food and drinks by offering special discounted prix fixe menus. It’s a great opportunity to go someplace a little fancy without stressing out about how much you’re spending.
You don’t need a silver spoon in your mouth to enjoy an occasional restaurant meal. Eating out on a budget is its own reward, so raise your glass in a toast to your savvy self.
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