Frugal Living (MP) If you’re trying to save money dining out can take a lot out of the budget. “Don’t do it!” After all, when you dine out, you’re not only paying for the food, but everything from the service, lease, utilities, chef, to the dining room furniture. In order for restaurants to make money, for every dish you buy, they charge you about five times the amount they pay for ingredients, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But, of course, none of the above matters to you. Your survival instincts tell you – you have to eat out. You’ve known you’re fiancée’ for more than two years, and nothing in that time has indicated she’s getting any better at cooking. All the cookbooks, TV cooking shows and classes, you paid for isn’t helping either. You’re resigned that at least most days dining out sounds like a pretty good idea. So, how to eat out without paying for Mr & Mrs. restaurant owner next trip to Paris?
How to Save Money Dining Out?
10. Timing is Everything!
The time of day, or week, you decide to dine can also effect just how much money you’ll spend. For instance, you might possibly save money by reserving to eat your gourmet cuisine meals during Restaurant Week, when participating restaurants offer fix rate specials for lunch and/or dinner. Some restaurants also feature “early bird specials” (dinner before 6 pm, for instance) or mid-week specials.
9. Out for Lunch!
Go out for lunch, rather than dinner. Lunch meals is usually less expensive than dinner meals, and also you get the same quality ingredients and service you’d expect during dinner. Portions could be smaller, and of course the options different, but so is the bill. Before your next lunch outing, pay attention to the restaurant’s menu to make certain your favorite dishes are available.
8. Kiss up!
Supposing you make yourself a regular at a local restaurant, you can cut your costs. This is how: After repeat visits, you’ll have the ability to acknowledge your server by name or mention a detail from your last meal. Gestures like these help you get more personalized attention—as well as free stuff, like complimentary appetizers or beverages.
7. Choose carefully!
As for entrée, avoid chicken and pasta (See HuffPost restaurant ripoffs). These are generally the least expensive items to purchase, so restaurants mark them up greater than other dishes. Seafood, beef, and pork are better values for the price. And when you’re ready to leave, check the bill closely. Many restaurants add a gratuity just before the total is tallied, even for parties as small as five, which often goes unnoticed by diners.”
6. Act like an AA member!
Alcohol is the highest margin product in a restaurant, which is why happy hours often have ridiculous deals on alcoholic drinks. Wine is often marked up three times its wholesale cost, which is the reason an $10 bottle in a liquor store will set you back a little over $32.50 in a restaurant. Beer is $10 for a 12-pack at a the local store, but buy just two beers in a restaurant and you’ll pay the same price.
5. Dine in Groups!
To save on drinks when dining with a group, order individual sodas or cocktails instead of a pitcher. The big container looks like its’ cheaper, but it’s often filled with more ice than liquid and is that no bargain. You can spend less on wine and beer by asking for recommendations from the bartender or server. Say, “If you were ordering, which Pinot Noir do you think was the most reasonably priced?” He should suggest a wallet-friendly option.
4. Be an loyal Customer!
Many restaurants have email lists which advertise specials for their loyal members. Check your favorite restaurant to find out if they have an email list and sign up. Some will even give you a freebie for your birthday in exchange for your email. Plus,
a) Buy an entertainment book for a heap of valuable coupons for local restaurants and service providers. These are usually good through the end of the year.
c) Google, how to find “coupon books” in your locale. Combine coupons with other savings, like using a reward cards or a military or senior discount, can shave your dining out bill down to size.
3. Skip the extras!
When you order coffee and dessert the bill really adds up. A after-meal dessert or cup of coffee might sound like the perfect end to the dining experience, but ask yourself do you really need it? Instead, go around the corner to the local bakery for dessert. You’re likely to find better options and avoid the higher-priced desserts at the restaurant.
2. Go dutch!
Still want a little something sweet for dessert? Why not offer to spit the extras with your dining partner? You’ll get a taste each others dessert, and you can each share the bill. This can also work for the entire meal – anything from appetizers to main entrees. Plus, you both get to try several different dishes, and share them family-style. It’s a win-win.
1. Become a chef!
Prepare an affordable meal with elegant dining preparations and set up a dinner table on the patio. Or you can pack a picnic basket, go to the nearest park, lay a blanket down and enjoy. During evening hours, there’s always a nearby Wendy’s or McDonald’s to accommodate your dining out experience .
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