Q: My family loves to eat out. Is there a way to do this and save money?
A: I get this question all the time. After all, who doesn’t love to eat out? The idea of being able to take a break from the kitchen without breaking the bank is extremely appealing to all of us. I mean, hot food that I don’t have to cook? Sign me up.
You’ll quickly see how easy it is to eat out without breaking the bank. With that in mind, here are five quick tips for saving money while eating out.
1. Kids eat free
Ever seen these words hanging out on a menu? They are something to watch for. A kids meal can run around $5 and up no matter what restaurant you’re at. Cut out the price of a kid’s meal and suddenly a family of four watches the bill shrink pretty dramatically. Throw in the fact that many such meals come with free drinks and you are talking about substantial savings.
2. Go online. Sign up for frequent-diner programs and birthday freebies.
Restaurants want your business and many are willing to offer freebies or exclusive discounts to woo you in. Visit your favorite restaurant’s website, look for a frequent-diner or loyalty program as well as birthday freebies and sign up. At least once a month, my family’s favorite restaurant emails us a coupon for a free appetizer with any purchase.
3. Daily specials and text alerts
Many restaurants offer targeted specials on certain days of the week. Stop by at the right time and you often can order some of the most popular dishes at half price. Can’t keep the deals straight in your head? Join the club. I always remember Taco Tuesday -- on Wednesday. So that you never miss a deal, jump on the texting bandwagon. If your favorite restaurant offers text alerts, make sure to opt in. And don’t discount the lunch menu. If you have the option of eating early, you will end up with more cash in your pocket at the end of the night.
Coupons are a great way to save money at restaurants. They often pop up in the Sunday paper, weekly circulars and the “junk mail” that tends to show up every other day. If you live in a larger city, purchase an Entertainment book. It’s chock full of coupons, discounts and freebies.
5. Restaurant deals sites
Daily deal and restaurant discount sites such as Groupon, Living Social and restaurants.com offer substantial savings. These sites allow you to purchase restaurant gift cards or vouchers that have been heavily discounted, up to 80 percent off.
So can you save money when eating out? Absolutely! Now go give it a try.
For more tips on saving money, go to time2saveworkshops.com.