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SAVE MONEY EATING OUT
The first thing that seems to get cut out of the budget when trying to save money is going out to eat. If you’re a huge foodie this may be an issue but it doesn’t have to be.
I like to have balance in my life, I try and eat at home as much as I can but every once in a while I like a nice dinner out with friends and family. I also like to get out of the office and grab lunch when I can, so saving money when going out to eat is something that is important to me.
Luckily my friends are also budget-conscious so we can plan our meals at places that give us the best deal. The great part is that there usually is a way to save at most restaurants even if you don’t have the most budget-savvy friends and family.
So to help everyone that is interested in saving money, I came up with 15 different ways to save money when going out to eat. Some of which can be combined to save a bunch of money and maybe even eat for free!
1. Ok so let’s get started with a simple but easy tip! Order water and skip dessert and appetizers! Drinks can be super expensive and appetizers most often will get you so full you can’t even finish your entrée.
Try cutting at least one or two of these, buy a nice pie or cake to eat at home which will often cost a lot less than buying each person a dessert at a restaurant.
2. Use a Groupon! Groupon is great for saving money when going out to eat. They offer huge discounts on restaurant vouchers and I find a lot of my favorite restaurants are using them to offer discounts.
3. Restaurant.com – If you haven’t heard about Restaurant.com they are a website where you can buy extremely discounted gift cards for thousands of restaurants. They also have an app where you can buy on the go.
4. Use Coupons– You can find restaurant coupons in your weekly flyers or on the websites of your favorite restaurants. You may also want to sign up for your favorite restaurant’s reward program. Most often you will get a nice freebie or coupon just for signing up.
5. Use free gift cards or discounted restaurant gift cards. Check out my article on how I earn free gift cards every month and also my article on how to use gift cards to save money how to use gift cards to save money. I go through my whole strategy in those articles so be sure to visit them after this.
6. Download the BevRAGE App for cashback on any drinks you order– Download the BevRAGE App (use referral code: MCGENTMF to let them know I sent you (greatly appreciated). Browse the offers in your location, upload your receipt by taking a photo and get cash back on your drink purchases at restaurants!
7. Become a Mystery Shopper! I get to enjoy many nice dinners as a mystery shopper. A mystery shopper is someone who evaluates a restaurant or other establishment anonymously and then fills out a detailed report on their visit.
I wrote an article on how to become a mystery shopper and find legit jobs that you may want to check out if mystery shopping interests you.
8. Buy an Entertainment Book– The Entertainment book is a location specific coupon book and membership for usually under $12. Your membership quickly pays for itself with savings of up to 50%. Get exclusive savings on the things you love — restaurants, movie tickets, golf, zoos, skiing, shopping, travel & more.
9. Download the Gambeal App– Gambeal is a new app I just started using and I am loving it. Gambeal gives you a little cashback just for uploading your restaurant receipts and giving quick feedback on your experience. Combining this way to save with others gives you an opportunity to save even more money. You can check out my full review here.
10. Sign up to get text messages and emails to your favorite restaurant. Texts are becoming increasingly more popular as a quick way to get a discount at many restaurants and other places. Most often you will just need to text a number and consent to receive messages and they will text you offers throughout the year.
11. Eat on Free Kids Nights– Lots of places offer free kids nights where kids can eat free with every adult entrée purchase. You can check this great list on Brad’s Deals to see which restaurants are offering this. Check it out here.
12. Eat Lunch instead of Dinner- Lunch is most often always cheaper than dinner. If you can do a nice lunch instead of a dinner you are sure to save money.
13. Split Plates! A lot of restaurants have huge portions, if you know this then you may want to split a plate. Some restaurants do charge a split plate fee so check on that.
14. Use a Reward Credit Card– If you’re going out to eat why not use a reward credit card and just pay it off right when you get home? I love my discover card which sometimes gives me as much as 5% back on my purchases. Want to sign up for a Discover Card? Use my link and get $50 in Bonus Cashback after your first purchase, check it out here.
15. Download Restaurant Apps!- Restaurants especially fast food ones are jumping on the app bandwagon. I love when I am about to go through a drive-through and I can just pull up the app on my phone and use a coupon! Nothing to clip!
Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Starbuck, and McDonald’s are some of the more popular apps but there are thousands of others.
As you can see many of these tips can be combined and save you a whole lot of money! I hope this list has helped you! If it has, share it with your friends!