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Trying to eat out on a budget? For your next restaurant visit, see the tips for ways to save money when eating out.

Are you looking for simple ways to save money while eating out? It’s so tempting to order everything on the menu but that isn’t logical when you’re trying to save money. If you love heading out to a restaurant and ordering fun, there are some simple tips to save money when you’re out and about.

Simple Ways To Save Money When Eating Out

15 Simple Ways To Save Money When Eating Out

How do I stop spending money on eating out?

This is the question that everyone wants to know. When it comes to eating out, you might feel as though it’s breaking your budget before you even start. The reality is that if you’re wanting to stop spending money when eating out, you need to make certain that you have a budget in mind on what you’re willing to spend.

If you go to a restaurant without a budget, you’re going to spend way more money than you’ve ever intended to.

How much does an average person spend on eating out?

In a year’s time, an average person spends about $3,500 eating out. When you put it into perspective like that, just think about all the other things that you can use that money for.

eating out on a budget

Is eating out a waste of money?

This all just depends on what the person feels. Some people feel that going to a restaurant is a way to celebrate or enjoy good food, but there are others who cook at home and feel that eating out is a waste of money and isn’t really necessary.

To decide if it’s a waste has to be up to what you feel. If you’re spending money for someone else to cook for you when you could easily eat it at home for way less money, you’re more than likely spending more money and wasting it as well.

How many times a week does the average American eat out?

When it comes to the average American, they eat out about 4-5 times per week. This could be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner but it does include meals that they didn’t include or create on their own.

Now that you know some of the most simple questions asked by people when they’re trying to cut costs, let’s dive into some simple ways that you can save money while eating out.

Tips To Save Money When Eating Out

15 Simple Ways To Save Money When Eating Out

1. Order appetizers instead of meals
It’s important to know the restaurant that you’re eating at so you can get the best bang for your buck. Some places offer appetizers that are way more affordable and are just as plentiful as ordering a regular dish.

2. Hit the happy hours
Restaurants are known for having great happy hours where they discount a big amount of the costs if you’re willing to dine in and eat at a certain point in time during the day.

3. Share meals
Another great way to cut costs when dining out is to order a meal and share it. There are so many great options on the menu that offer more than enough food to share. This means that you can make a $15 dinner stretch between two people which is a huge cost savings of food.

4. Eat the leftovers
Another way to share meals is to consume what is left after the kids eat everything that they’re going to eat. Most times, they leave a lot of food on their plate that is just a waste of money if no one eats it. You can really stretch the dollar by eating the leftovers or sharing a meal or two off the menu with your child.

5. Check the Internet
Before you go out, check to see of the restaurant offers a coupon or some sort of incentive for dining there. Perhaps a Yelp check-in? Or A tagged photo? You can also try to go out during a special holiday or perhaps Restaurant Week in order to save a few dollars.

6. Going during lunch
Typically, restaurants might offer a lunch menu where it’s a smaller portion or different types of food that will be cheaper than the dinner menu.

7. Skip the drinks
If you’re not careful, a lot of your restaurant bill may go towards drinks alone. You can stick to plain water (which should be free). If you want a special drink, ask to see if they have free refills before you start ordering.

eating out at a restaurant on a budget

8. Join the club
Enroll if the restaurant’s loyalty club if they have one. It’s generally an email list where they could send you specials or discounts once you’ve dined there so often.

9. Try Fast-Casual
Restaurants where you order at the counter and seat yourself will help save you on tips. Think of places like Panda Express, Chipotle, Panera Bread, etc.

10. Order food that keeps
If you want to save on calories and on money, then order food that can keep into the next day. Eat half at the restaurant and the other half at another time. Chicken, pasta, pizza are usually good the next day. Now you have two meals for the price of one.

11. Use A Rewards or Cashback Cards
If you already have a rewards card or a cashback card, use that to pay for the meal, so you’ll get a little something from it. Perhaps you’ll get some points towards something else or some cash back to use in the future.

12. Buy Discount Gift Cards
You can also purchase gift cards to the restaurants to help save money. The discounted coupons might offer a percentage off and you can save money that way.

13. Check prices before
IF you’re wanting to try out a new restaurant, check out the prices before to see if they are in budget. Then choose something that you can afford. That way, you’re not pressured to choose something or make a hasty decision on what to get.

14. Skip or share dessert
Your meal should fill you up. There is a huge markup on dessert, so it will definitely cost you. If you have a sweet tooth after dinner, either split a dessert or grab a cookie or a pint of ice cream on your way home.

15. Order to-go
Ordering food to go can actually be a good way to save money, too. Because sometimes, when you’re eating a restaurant, you might find yourself ordering drinks and more food than you normally would because you’re enjoying the ambiance. Instead, order your food and leave the drinks for a different time. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter your food bill is when they deliver it to you.

When it comes to saving money when eating out, these simple tips above are a good way to start. Just by trying one or two of these per week is a great way to cut costs while still feeling like you aren’t giving up on the fun of eating out. You can start using this method to save more money to use it on other things in life!


15 Simple Ways To Save Money When Eating Out, Tips for eating out on a budget