"" The Exhausted Mom: Pay it Forward Friday ~ Eating Out Without Breaking the Bank

February 10, 2012

Pay it Forward Friday ~ Eating Out Without Breaking the Bank

Meet Melanie!

Melanie is a native Floridian who has always been stellar at saving for that rainy day (and even for sunny ones!). She avoids paying full price if at all possible, and loves to snag a great deal. After becoming the go-to "Deal Detective" for her friends and family, Melanie founded the website SmartySaver.com, to share her money-saving tips, local deals and online discounts to help others stretch their hard-earned dollars. She's excited to bring deals and discounts your way, with the hopes of helping you get the biggest bang for your buck!

Dining out is one of those areas that can chomp a huge chunk out of your budget-- and I don't know about you, but it's one of the first places that I cut back on when I need to save.  But shy of never going to a restaurant again, how can you save and still indulge?  

Here are 10 ways you can still enjoy your meals out, without breaking your bank:

  • Use Coupons or buy Daily Deals - Before you dine, search online! There are so many dining deal websites these days, you almost never need to pay full price.  There's CharityDine.com, and Restaurant.com, but be sure to read the fine print, sometimes the restaurant has a minimum purchase amount required,  or won't accept the voucher on a Saturday night (that's why I'm not so crazy about those sites). 
  • Check weekly deals at sites like Groupon, LivingSocial,  Double Take Deals to save an average of 50% on restaurants. If you're in Florida, you can score ongoing deals at Local Dines. Snagging a dining deal voucher is a great way to try a new restaurant, or visit your local favorites at half the price!
  • Participate In Surveys - Many restaurants offer discounts on future visits when you give them some helpful feedback.  Be on the lookout for survey information on your receipt.
  • Sign up for E-mail Newsletters - A lot of restaurants will email you exclusive coupons and discounts just for signing up for their email newsletter.  I get Buy One Get One free or 25% off coupons from Ruby Tuesday, Sweet Tomatoes and Pei Wei all the time just for being on the list (and they don't tend to inundate me with unnecessary emails either).
  • Eat Out for Breakfast or Lunch - Many restaurants offer cheaper prices for these meals and serve the same size portions. You'll also avoid the evening rush.
  • Dine Out on the Weekdays - This may not be as much fun as going out on the weekend, but you can score some great weekday specials, including Kids Eat Free (see below).  Maybe do this once or twice a month to save a little bit!
  • Kids Eat Free Nights - If you have kids, why pay if you don't have to?  Places like Denny's, Friendly's and IHOP are big on these, as well as Duffy's.  Here's a list of 101 restaurants where kids eat free (though note, some apply to kids under 3). Also check out Kids Dine Free, where you can pay $19.00 for three months of dining out for kids. Valid at places like Firehouse Subs, Coldstone Creamery, Joey the Baker, Johnny Rockets and more...and valid on breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Share a Meal - Many restaurants serve super large portions--enough for two--so why not share a meal and save?  Even if you get charged a sharing fee, it will be minimal (around $2.00-3.00).  Or share one appetizer and a meal...it will still cost you less than two entrees in most cases.
  • Pass on Dessert - Do you really need it?  I didn't think so.
  • Order Water with Lemon - It's free and the best for your body! Plus, it'll save about $2.50 compared to ordering a soda or iced tea.
  • Skip the Alcohol - If you can, skip the adult beverages since that's where restaurants add the highest profit margin and it can really rack up your bill. Not to mention, the calories!

I hope these tips help you, and feel free to let me know of any others you have that might help us all save!


As a way to share the blogging love and meet new bloggers, I am introducing "Pay it Forward Friday."  I will periodically feature fellow bloggers with different interests and from new areas.  If you are interested in writing a guest post for "Pay it Forward Friday," feel free to send me a message!  Would love to feature you!!


1 comment:

  1. these are great tips!! we tend to eat out on the weekends more than we should. i try to accumulate restaurant coupons...definitely will be checking out double take deals and local dines...thanks!


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