One of my favorite things to do, and the one thing I spend most of my entertainment money on is eating out. I have talked about this in previous articles I have written, but there is something about having someone bring me my food and clean up my mess that I can’t get enough of. Even more than the ease, I also find it to be a relaxing time to spend with friends and family that makes for some really great memories.
While eating out can get very expensive, there are a few steps that I do take to save some money while out and I am going to share some of them with you. Now, keep in mind most of these methods don’t save a ton of money, but every little bit helps out!
First thing I do when going out is check out the restaurant’s website that I will be visiting. Not every one of them has an e-club, but you will find a good amount of them do. Sign up for their list which will ask for your birthday in most cases. Give them that information as they typically send ot freebies right around your birthday and during your birth month, you can REALLY get some good savings! Besides the birthday, most will send you an offer for signing up and then some regular savings as well.
Next thing I do is look for some Groupon offers, I try to find food ones as I know I like to eat out, so I will check those out daily and if a restaurant interests me, I will buy. This is not only a great way to save money, but is also a great way to try out some new places to eat. While on Groupon, there are some bonuses as well, you can get discounts on other products and services there as well, so if you aren’t signed up, I would head on over.
Another place I have been checking lately is Yelp, while it started as mainly a review site, they also have their own deals going on and if you have a smartphone, you can browse them by what is near you. Just last week I was on Yelp and found a deal that was $10 for $20 to this new hot dog place. Thought I would try it, and turns out I absolutely loved the place!
Frequent diner cards are also a great way to save money, they aren’t NEARLY as popular as they once were (remember when Subway had stamps?), but some places still have them. If you visit frequently they are worth it! I just recently filled my card up to Dickey’s Barbeque and can’t wait to go in and get my free dinner there!
Drink water! I am not as good at this as I should be, but if you can pull it off it really cuts down on the bill. Restaurants now are charging between $2 and 3 for a soft drink or tea, if you have a family of 4, just right there you can knock $8-$12 off of a final bill. Same thing with appetizers, skip the queso and skip the appetizers, and you can find your check at the end will drop considerably.
Facebook and Twitter! Facebook has more deal offerings than Twitter typically, but both can be great places to find some deals and specials. As above when I mentioned going to their website, also check out their Facebook and Twitter before leaving the house, you never know what kind of little bargains you can find! Once you leave the house and get near the restaurant you are going to, check out Foursquare on your smart phone! Many restaurants will offer deals for your first time checking into a place! If you have a restaurant row type of area in your town, Foursquare can be a gold mine as you look through at all of the savings to the restaurants nearby!
One thing to keep in mind is that while the savings don’t seem like a lot on one meal, but add these savings up over the course of the year, and you are really starting to save quite a bit of money.
Please keep in mind when eating out and getting discounts that it is customary to tip on the total BEFORE your discounts. The server still took care of you and most servers make less than minimum wage!