Save On Dining Out

Friday, February 13, 2009

Eating out can cost a lot of money these days. If you follow these very simple steps, you will save a little money when dining out.

Take advantage of coupons that you can find on the internet and in newspapers. Some restaurants, especially the franchise/chain restaurants (such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden, etc.) have coupons as well. They are often advertised in your newspaper (for example, the Sunday paper).
Pass on the sodas and alcoholic beverages. Instead, order water or water with lemon, which will usually be free of charge. Other beverages can cost from $2-$5 each. You could also try a search at and search for "Free Drink When Dining Out." This will give you some tips on avoiding the sometimes high profit mark-up restaurants charge on drinks.
Pass on the dessert. You will probably be very full by then anyway! Or just order the fruit salad and keep healthy.
Go out only for special occasions. Remember you don't always have to go out to eat and keeping it for those special occasions only makes restaurant visits a lot more fun and exciting.
Make a restaurant at home. Look up recipes online or in your favourite cookbooks and try some new exotic foods!
Order lunch and other meal specials. Take advantage of them while you can. They are often worth it and you will get a lot of good food for less than the other items on the menu.

Some restaurants charge less for meals eaten by a certain time. This is often around 5 - 7 pm, before the higher paying clients begin to arrive. This can be a very useful thing when you are traveling, to keep down the costs of meals eaten out each day.
If you live in a country that tips, be fair with the tipping. That money is often an extremely important supplement to the earnings of the waiting and kitchen staff. They probably need to spend as carefully as you do. If you cannot afford to tip, you cannot afford to go to a full service restaurant - go to a fast food restaurant.
Tipping is a part of a contract of custom in American culture as well as a sign of appreciation. The custom is so wide spread that our laws have been written to reflect the custom. You should never tip out of guilt. You should understand that waiters are only doing a job. Their services are something that you are contracting when you go out to eat at a full service restaurant. Even though some believe that restaurants should not be an exception to the rule of people who live solely on their guaranteed wages or salary, by US labor law and American custom, restaurants are one such exception.

Don't be a penny-pincher all the time; life is for enjoying after all. Splurge on really special occasions and don't feel guilty. Save up for such occasions so that you and your family can truly enjoy them.
However, do what feels right and makes sense to you. There is nothing rewarding if you're saving money but feeling painful about it. Learn to convince yourself that wasting money and feeling painful about it later could hurt even more.
Stiffing tipped employees is grounds enough for a restaurant to refuse you service.


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