Thursday, April 28, 2016

How We Eat Out For Less

Eating out or even getting takeout can be expensive. We don't eat out or get take out very often but when we do, I like to spend as little money as possible doing it.

Here are my tips for spending as little as possible while enjoying that takeout or restaurant meal:

- Never buy take out without a coupon. Go to the take out restaurants site and look to see if one is available to print. Google for a printable. Keep a folder or file envelope with coupons from inserts or the newspaper. We also get coupons in the mail, on the back of receipts, in our local journal or penny saver that comes in the mail. Print them from sites that you belong to.

- If you plan on going to McDonald's and there are no coupons, go to Wendy's or Burger King if they have coupons.

- Taking surveys for fast food places that are on your receipts will usually reward you with a free item. I had two in the past month. One for Chicken McNuggets at McDonalds and one for a Whopper at Burger King. I picked them both up while I was out running errands. We both had lunch or free.

- Many restaurants like Applebee's have to To Go service. Even if they don't you can usually order take out. I would much rather eat in my quiet dining room than eat in a crowded noisy restaurant. Plus you will save a 15- 20% tip.

- But if you want the ambience of a particular restaurant, sign up on their site. Many restaurants will give you a coupon for signing up like a free appetizer.  If they are running specials or offering a coupon, you will be notified.

- If you have children, check out the places that let children eat free with adult entrees. You can find them on pinterest or by doing a google search.

- If you don't mind crowds, many places offer something free each year on a certain date. For example you could have gotten pancakes at IHOP last month. Keep your eyes open for these kinds of deals.

- Go out to dinner on restaurant week for your area. This year many restaurants near me offered a nice meal for $ 20.16.

- When you sign up on certain restaurant sites, they sometimes send you a coupon for a free meal or other choice on your birthday or anniversary. Our local Italian restaurant offers a free entree on your birthday or a free bottle of wine on your anniversary. This list will get you started. 

- Use your rewards credit card to pay for take out or eat in restaurant meals. You might as well get cash  back or a giftcard.

- Many times that Hubby and I go out to dinner we order appetizers instead of entrees. They  are usually cheaper than full dinners. Sometimes we share an appetizer or an entree.

- Always ask what the specials of the day are if they are not prominently displayed. They are usually cheaper than the regular menu.

- If you can go to dinner for the early bird specials, it will be cheaper. 

- I love restaurants that have B1G1F beers during certain time periods. We each drink one and only pay for one.  

- You don't have to order a drink or any other beverage. Water is usually free.

- Pick up your meal or pizza instead of using delivery services. Delivery and  tip can be very expensive.

- If you see a giveaway for a restaurant meal on a blog, don't hesitate to take a chance. I have gotten a few restaurant giftcards over the years that way.

- If a restaurant that you frequent is running a deal when you buy a giftcard, that is the time to buy one.
I love these kinds of deals.

- Purchase Groupons for restaurants. One of our favorites is $15.00 off a meal for two that I pay $ 7.00 for. It is a restaurant that we frequent.

- Purchase discounted restaurant gift cards on Raise or other discount sites. Ebay sells them sometimes also. If you belong to a warehouse club, most of them sell them discounted also.

- I have also purchased cheap deals for our favorite local place. 

If you have any other tips that you would like to add that I have forgotten, please leave your tip in the comments.

Hubby and I can afford to go out for a great fine dining restaurant once or twice a year because we use these tips other times of the year.

I will be back tomorrow with our April Expense Report. I was happy to purchase more index funds today with our leftover April money. The stock market was down so it was a buying opportunity for us.


  1. Love the tips! Thank you!
    We don't eat out very often unless it is a special occasion or if we are on vacation.
    I use some rewards programs like red robin where you get a free
    burger on your birthday month. Thanks for the link to more birhday freebies.:D
    I like the bonus cards too when you buy $100 worth of gift cards around Christmas, at Outback and Texas Roadhouse. We have gotten some deals on groupons and

  2. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks. And thanks for sharing too.

  3. Instead of going out for dinner, go out for lunch instead. Much cheaper!