Eating out can be an expensive business. Costs can rise fast as you add extras onto your order, leaving you potentially over your budget at the end of the meal. If you choose a reasonably priced restaurant and calculate the total cost before you order, you can keep the surprise bills at bay, but how about saving even more? Here are some simple ways to get more food and drink for your money.
Make the most of your all-inclusive breakfast
If you’re paying for overnight accommodation, check whether the price includes breakfast. If it does, be sure not to miss it. Find out when they stop serving and get up in good time. If you’re planning an early start, on the other hand, it might be worth changing your schedule to catch the meal before you leave. With a prepaid breakfast, you can eat whatever you like without paying any extra. A big breakfast may keep you going through the day, saving you the expense of buying lunch.
Make use of deals and coupons
Don’t be afraid to use a coupon or other deal you have found online. Many restaurants will offer various coupons from time to time to entice customers to try their restaurant out for the first time. A coupon can be worth as little as $5-$10 off the price of your meal, or as much as a buy one get one free entree. Take advantage of deals whenever you can find them to make dining out a more affordable option.
Share a meal
If you’re at a café or restaurant where you know the portions to be big, share yours with a friend and split the cost. Ask for two plates and an extra set of cutlery and distribute the serving to suit you both. If you have a child with you, this arrangement will save you the cost of paying for a child’s portion as well as your own. Many restaurants serve large portions that can easily be split. When splitting a meal, you won’t be tempted to over-indulge, and your waistline will thank you for cutting the calories of your meal in half!
Order appetizers instead of an entree
Before you order your meal, check the prices of an entree against that of one or two appetizers. You may find you can save money by ordering from the appetizer selections instead of an entree and still feel full when you leave. If you opt for the main dish but dislike one or two of its components, ask for alternatives instead, so that you can eat your money’s worth. By filling up on your main meal, you will be less likely to have room for dessert -- which will save you as well.
Request a “to go” container
Most restaurants offer to go containers for meals that can’t be finished in the restaurant. When you take half of your meal home, the price of your meal just turned into the price of two meals, which is both a cost-saving and a health saving at the same time.
If you know of more ways to save money while eating out, we’d love to hear your tips -- share them with us in the comments, and make sure you put them into practice. You’ll enjoy your meal all the more knowing you got a great deal.
The team at CESI is committed to helping you make wise financial decisions and to helping you understand how to get out, and stay out of debt. For a free debt analysis, contact us and find out how we can help.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
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