Eating out is sometimes considered a bad money habit, as it makes people lose more money than they usually would. However, this is because many people don’t know how to save money eating out.
Even though you tend to spend more money whenever you eat out, there are ways to reverse the situation and save money instead. This post explores the numerous ways to save money eating out, even if you have never tried it before.
More importantly, you can learn to make it a habit and one of your money-saving techniques.
Also, if you have been looking for ways to live frugally and spend less money even though you like eating out, the tips outlined in this post would be very helpful.
Does Eating Out Save Money?
Although eating out is one of the everyday habits that prevent people from saving money, some simple techniques can be applied to the situation to enable you to save money. In a nutshell, saving money while eating out is an achievable feat.
Eating out only prevents you from saving money when you don’t do it right. Once you know what you are meant to do each time you visit a restaurant, you will save some money instead of losing cash.
How Can I Save Money While Eating Out?
You can save while eating out by eating on a budget. Many people fail to save money while eating out because they don’t have a small budget to guide their spending time at the restaurant.
For instance, you can budget 15 – 20 dollars for eating out in a day. What that means is that you won’t exceed this proposed budget, thereby enabling you to spend less money and save more.
Is Eating Out A Good Money Habit?
Based on popular opinion, eating out may not be a good money habit because people tend to splurge a lot of money while eating at restaurants. Nonetheless, you can turn this into a good money habit once you learn how to save money eating out.
If you usually spend 150 dollars a week on groceries to make your simple meals, but on the other hand, you can spend 140 dollars a week eating out; this means you can save 10 dollars a week when eating out.
That’s how you can make eating out a good money habit and save money on restaurants. You just need to carry out your calculations and budget properly.
Benefits Of Eating Out
By eating out wisely, you will save some money, which will have a good effect on your finances. Moreover, if you aren’t earning a lot of money, it’s important you learn how to save money while eating out, and it would help you a lot.
Besides, here are some of the benefits of eating out:
- It helps you save a lot of money passively.
- It enables you to understand how to live frugally.
- It saves your time. You don’t have to spend hours preparing meals at home.
- It reduces stress and improves your concentration on daily tasks.
- It brightens your mood, as you get to stay outdoors and see different faces.
- It’s a perfect option for someone who doesn’t know how to cook.
12 Ways To Save Money Eating Out
Saving money while eating at restaurants is something you can always pull off easily. Here are 12 amazing tips to help you save money while eating out.
1. Skip The Appetizers
Many standard restaurants offer appetizers aside from the regular meal you intend to purchase. As it should be, this comes at an extra price.
Hence, if you want to spend less money eating out, it’s advisable to skip the appetizers. Besides, you don’t even need the appetizers to have a nice time eating at restaurants. As long as the meal you ordered is sumptuous, that could be enough to satisfy you.
On the other hand, instead of skipping appetizers, you can make a meal out of them. That is, you can eat them and forget about the typical meal you were meant to order. This is one of the common tips on how to save money while eating out.
2. Join Reward Programs
Almost every restaurant has reward programs for loyal customers. This is why it’s advisable to eat at one or two restaurants instead of visiting numerous restaurants all the time.
As a loyal customer, you can sign up for the reward program at your favorite restaurant. By doing this, you would get messages (emails) of special offers, and occasionally, you would be offered appetizers for free.
Don’t forget that you must be a regular customer at the restaurant before you can enjoy a reward program, and that’s why the offer is meant for “loyal” customers. While figuring out how to save money eating out, consider reward programs.
3. Drink Water
If a restaurant sells expensive food, the drinks would be expensive as well. Most restaurants charge about four or five times the average amount of a bottle of beer or wine.
This does not only concern alcoholic drinks. Even non-alcoholic beverages are expensive at most restaurants. This is why it’s advisable to drink water while waiting out instead of drinking beer or wine.
Always demand a bottle of mineral water. Ordinarily, this would cost a little above 60 cents. But in restaurants, you may have to spend up to $3 on a bottle of water. However, it’s much cheaper than beverages.
You can save a few dollars every day by drinking water while eating out.
4. Use Coupons
Coupons are not as popular as they used to be. Nonetheless, using coupons can help you save a lot of money while eating out. In fact, it’s still one of the best tips on how to save money while eating out.
In some restaurants, you can use BOGO coupons (Buy One Get One) which are the best. Sometimes, you just have to buy two drinks or a special meal package to get the deal.
5. Order A Pizza
The main idea behind eating out is that you aren’t preparing the meal yourself. This means that even from your home, you can still “eat out” by ordering food.
Usually, people prefer ordering pizza because it costs less money and it’s still delicious. You don’t even have to leave your house to place the order. Just a few minutes of phone call, and the pizza delivery man is knocking at your door.
Another cool thing about ordering pizza is that it’s enough to feed more than one person. Except you are a competitive eater, you can’t possibly finish a cartoon of pizza. This is how to save money eating out, especially if you love eating pizza.
If you get tired of ordering pizzas, you can order something else. The goal is to get the food from the restaurant straight to your house.
6. Make It A Lunch
If you are someone who craves the experience of eating out, then make it lunch because you can spend less money at lunchtime than at dinner time. At many large restaurants, the meals on the lunch menu cost less, unlike the meals on the dinner time menu.
The good thing about some restaurants is that you don’t always have to order food at midday. They usually extend their lunchtime into the late afternoon, allowing you to have access to the lunch menu even if you are late.
This means that if you want to have dinner early enough, you could actually spend less by paying the lunchtime price. This has to be one of the creative ways to save money eating out.
You can check your local restaurants to see how long their lunch hours run.
7. Get A Birthday Discount
There are many restaurants with a birthday or anniversary club. This means that if you sign up for the birthday club on the restaurant’s website, you will receive a free coupon via your email for a free drink or dessert whenever your birthday approaches.
If you sign up with about 10 different restaurants, there would be more than enough free food a few days before and after your birthday.
The good thing about this is that you don’t have to cash in your freebie coupon on your birthday. You can get it a week after your birthday, which allows you to take advantage of other birthday discounts at the other restaurants you’ve signed up with.
If you don’t know how to eat out for less on your birthday, you should try this very good tactic.
8. Split A Meal
Sometimes, the amount of food you get at restaurants could be more than you can eat. If you try to finish the food, you will be overeating, and you might hurt yourself. If you leave leftovers, you will be wasting food.
A simple solution to this problem is to split a single entree with someone; it could be a friend or just an acquaintance. Ask for one main course and an extra plate. When the meal is served, divide it with your partner.
On the other hand, you can order something small like an appetizer, while the other person with you orders an entree, and you both would then split the bill. Depending on the restaurants you eat at, you can save up to 5 dollars doing this.
9. Take Home Leftovers
Another great tip on how to save money eating out is taking home leftovers. When you’re served an oversized portion of food you can’t finish, the best thing is to ask that it should be packed and take the remaining food home. You won’t have to spend a cent on your next meal because the leftover from your previous meal could be enough to satisfy you.
10. Take Advantage Of Discounts
Some restaurants create an opportunity for customers to reduce the cost of food with discounts and coupons. You can scout for coupons in your local newspaper and use them to purchase meals at a significantly reduced price.
But when using coupons, don’t forget to calculate the tip based on the actual price, not the discounted price you are paying. Nonetheless, this is how to save money eating out using coupons.
11. Have A Picnic
If you enjoy eating outdoors, you should go on picnics often. You can simply order Chinese takeout and visits the park or lakeshore. You don’t even have to go alone. A friend can accompany you, and you could split the meal with such a person if you want.
Usually, takeout boxes hold more food than the regular portion served at the restaurant. Hence, one can be enough for two people, especially if you don’t eat much.
If you don’t enjoy visiting the restaurant, have a picnic instead. It still fulfills the same purpose; teaching you how to save money eating out.
12. Use A Cash-Back Credit Card To Buy Food
You can save a bit of money when eating out by paying with a cash-back credit card. You can save up to 5% on your food purchases since some cash-back cards offer a flat-rate discount on almost anything you buy.
Other cash-back cards offer a higher percentage on specific purchases, including eating at restaurants. But if you think using cash-back credit cards is not the best tip on how to save money eating out, you can try other methods that have been explained above.
Final Thoughts: Saving Money While Eating Out
In as much as various tips on how to save money eating out have been disclosed in this post, the best way to save money on dining is to avoid it completely.
The meals at restaurants usually cost more money than the same meals prepared at home. Hence, cooking your own meals still makes a lot of sense.
In a situation where you can’t cook delicious meals, you can learn. In fact, learning to cook is relatively easy. By watching a couple of step-by-step cooking videos on YouTube, you can learn to cook sumptuous meals within a few weeks.
Pin this for later!