Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Eating Out

For your tip today, I thought I'd talk about:



I think I've mentioned that we've drastically cut our 'EATING OUT' budget to $100 a month.  It used to be quite a bit more, but we realized what a waste of money it was!!  Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with going out to eat, because we definitely like to do it, but the money we were spending on a family of 4 was more than we wanted to spend.  So, we decided to cut the budget and see how we'd do.  We've actually done pretty well.  A few times here and there we've gone over, and that's OK---the $100 is just a GOAL we set for ourselves, it's not the be-all-end-all!  So, since we're trying to reduce our 'EATING OUT' budget, I thought some of you might like to join in!!  Here are some great tips that I've found in my research that I wanted to pass along to you!

1.  Don't order two dinners. If you go to a restaurant with someone else, order one dinner and an appetizer and split it. Restaurants typically serve way too much, which is costly and unhealthy (if you try to finish it).

2.  Make a second dinner on leftovers. Start by eating the veggies and fries or bread, then eat the actual meat item last. You might be so full from the warmup stuff that you don't eat much meat. Then take the meat home and use it for a second dinner the next night.  I've actually never thought to do this and, honestly, if I order a piece of meat, such as a steak, I usually like to eat it!!  But, it's a good idea, nonetheless!

3.  Ask the server to box half of your Meal. This kind of goes along with the tip above, but instead of just the meat, it's an entire half of your meal.   You box half of it up right away to take home for another meal, and then you are sure to get 2 meals for the price of one!!

4.  Go for lunch specials. Lunch specials will be cheaper than dinners, and breakfasts are even cheaper, generally. Always ask about the daily special, as it can often be a good deal.

5.  Get a discount. There are lots of ways to find discount coupons for restaurants online!   Try Restaurant.com : enter your zip code and see what restaurants offer coupons or discounted gift certificates.  They often time have awesome deals and you can get up to 80% off!!

6.  Don't order Kid's Meals. OR, if you have more than one child, order ONE Kid's Meal, and split it.  My two kids are still fairly young, and don't eat quite as much, so ordering 1 Kid's Meal and sharing it between them is the way to go.  In the past, we have ordered one for each, and there is so much food left over!  Also, we end up letting them sample a few things from our plate, so in the end, there's definitely plenty of food to go around!

7.  Just order side items. A salad and an appetizer can often make for a delicious but affordable meal for one.

8.  Special days. Many restaurants will offer special family days, or will allow kids to eat for free, or have special discount days. Call ahead and take advantage of them.

9.  Drink water. You go to a restaurant for the good food, not the soda or alcohol. You can get those for much cheaper at a grocery store. Drink water, perhaps adding a slice of lemon for taste.

10.  Skip dessert. If you're eating at a sit-down restaurant, dessert is often a rip-off!  (Albeit, my favorite part of the meal!!)   Pick up a carton of ice cream on the way home, and save a bunch.

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