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Eating out at restaurants can feel like a well-deserved treat, but it can definitely get expensive if you’re not careful. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to cut back on your bill, and they don’t involve you leaving the restaurant still hungry!
So before you head out for your next meal, consider these seven steps for saving money when you eat out.
1. Check Social Media Before You Go
These days, most restaurants have a page on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. They tend to post about specials or money-saving coupons for their followers, so check restaurant social media pages before you go out to eat. This could save you a few dollars one eating out with very little effort.
2. Eat Out for Lunch Instead of Dinner
Most eateries have lunch specials, allowing you spend as little as about $7 on your meal. Typically, you get a slightly smaller portion of an entrée for about half the price you would pay at dinner. So if you like the idea of getting a combo — such as a half sandwich and a salad — for a few dollars less than the full amount of food, lunch is a good idea.
3. Go for Happy Hour
Happy Hour is not just about the drinks! Many restaurants offer discounted food as well as adult beverages in the early evening during happy hour. Researching local happy hour offers can allow you to eat (and drink) at as much as half the cost.
Bar Louie features half price flatbreads and appetizers like the potstickers for half price during their Mon-Fri happy hours. This is a great way to eat out without blowing your budget!
4. Get an Appetizer as Your Meal
If you’re okay with not having leftovers, an appetizer might be all you need. It’s usually the perfect portion for one person, and it’s often under $10 at most restaurants.
Another great way to save when eating out is to just order water to drink. Not only is it healthier for you, but you are generally saving at least $3 by not ordering a soda and even more if you avoid alcohol.
5. Use Coupons and Groupons
There’s always the tried-and-true method of clipping coupons to save money, even at restaurants. Keep an eye on your mailbox, since you probably get coupons to eateries where you can buy one meal and get one free, or save $5 to $10 on your bill.
6. Ask About Specials
Many restaurants have specials at slightly lower prices on a daily basis. So as soon as you see your server, ask him or her if there are any specials that day.
7. Check Reviews
If you’re on a budget and need a restaurant you can afford, online reviews can help you find one that’s reasonably priced. Check popular review sites like Yelp, and look for eateries with reviews that mention keywords like “cheap,” “affordable” or “great happy hour.”
Conversely, stay away from the restaurants where most of the reviews say “expensive” or “overpriced.
You can enjoy eating out without blowing your budget! Just take the time to find ways to save money before you go!