5 Ways to Avoid Overspending when Dining Out

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dinner-table-444434_1920Dining out is a time to socialize and enjoy eating and spending time with family,friends or coworkers. It also can be expensive and really make a dent in your monthly expenses if you do it too often. It’s okay for a special occasion or once or twice a month, but when you stop doing it in moderation, your spending can really increase causing a rift in other areas of your budget. On top of the price of the food itself, you also have to consider tipping your server, alcoholic drinks and even dessert if you choose it.

Here are 5 simple ways to cut the cost of dining out.

Eat at Home

Reserve dining out for only special occasions like anniversaries and birthday celebrations and stick to eating at home most of the time. I know it doesn’t sound super exciting, but if you are on a strict budget and prefer to save your money, commit to eating at home most of the time and trying out new recipes to add some variety to your meals.

Go shopping every two weeks and plan out meals for each day. If stick to your meal plan, you get in a routine, and know how much food feeds your family during that two week period you can avoid having to eat out and spending all your time at the grocery store as well.

Only Get Dessert

If you want to get out some days, consider eating your meal at home and going out for dessert instead. Dessert will be much cheaper compared to an entire meal. Plus, you can also score some deals and discounts on dessert if you visit a restaurant on a particular day especially if you have kids.

Buffet Style Restaurant

A buffet style restaurant is a great way to save money on dining out. Just paying one low price to eat all you can, you’ll get more for your money if you are planning to have a filling meal. Most buffets even have lunch specials or discounted prices during certain times of the day so you may be able to maximize your savings even more.

Go With Coupons or Special Days

A lot of restaurants offer free appetizers or discounted entrees or drinks on certain days or special occasions. Figure them out if your favorite restaurant offers any of these discounts and plan to dine out during that day and time. You can really save with these kinds of deals on your birthday as well and probably receive a few freebies too. You can also sign up for a rewards or loyalty program so coupons or offers can be sent directly to your email. Take advantage of the coupons but make sure to read the fine print and keep the expiration date in mind.

Make the Most of Happy Hour

Find out when happy hour is for your favorite restaurant and enjoy some half priced drinks and maybe even appetizers. Some places offer dessert items during happy hour, but whatever they offer, take a look and see if you’d enjoy it.

How often do you dine out? Is there anything you do to save money?

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