10 ways to save money when eating out

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When you’re watching your money and trying to get your finances under control you probably shouldn’t be dining out too often. You do have to treat yourself once in a while, though, because there are just some nights when you can’t muster the strength to cook one more meal. Dining out does not have to be a total drain on your wallet, but you have to be careful about the places you go and the items you order.Keep in mind these ten ways to save money when eating out for the next time you head to a restaurant:

1. Use coupons. Plenty of restaurants periodically send out two-for-one coupons or have special nights where meals are discounted. Clip coupons as you run across them and keep them handy for when the urge strikes to go out to eat. If you’re trying to save money you should always dine with a coupon in hand.

2. Share entries. Most portions at restaurants are pretty huge, so consider sharing the meal with someone else. Avoid asking for a second plate because some restaurants charge extra for this, so if you’re out on a date this is the perfect opportunity to get cozy.

3. Fill up on free stuff. If you are dining at a restaurant where bread or chips are presented on the table as you make your menu decision, fill up on these items and then order a small entrée. It’s hard to eat an entire enchilada platter if you’ve already eaten a basket full of tortilla chips.

4. Order water. Don’t even think about ordering any drink other than water, and don’t order fancy water. Simply ask for “a glass of water.” It will probably come from the faucet, but honestly, it’s not going to kill you. Most restaurants will keep your water glass refilled throughout the meal at no additional cost.

5. Skip the appetizer. Don’t order an appetizer. These dishes are notoriously overpriced since most people don’t even bother to look at the cost of appetizers. Trust that your entrée will be enough to fill you up, and don’t even peruse the appetizer menu.

6. Forget dessert. As with appetizers, most desserts are quite overpriced. It would cost you much less to pick up some ice cream from the grocery store on the way home than it would to order a single scoop sundae from most restaurants.

7. Go to an inexpensive restaurant. Just because you are indulging in a night away from cooking does not mean that you have to go all out and spend a ton of money. Who says you have to go to a fancy sit-down restaurant? Head to a fast food place and eat in. It will be faster and you will save a great deal of money. As a bonus, you don’t have to tip anyone.

8. Get it to go. Order food beforehand from your favorite restaurant and then pick it up and take it home. You won’t be tempted to stick around for dessert and you won’t get talked into ordering an expensive drink. You also won’t have to tip a server, although you may want to give a small tip to the staff for getting your dinner together.

9. Order from the kids menu. Unless the restaurant you’re eating at has restrictions on what ages can order from the kids menu, you may want to take a look at the offerings. The portions actually aren’t that mu

ch smaller, and the cost is much less than adult entrées.

10. Be an early bird or night owl. Most restaurants have discounted prices for customers who come in at off-peak times since they don’t do much business during these hours. Take advantage of these specials and have an early or late meal in order to save some money.

Of course there are always the less-than scrupulous ways of saving some money while dining out. There is the tactic of complaining about the service until the meal is discounted or free, and some people eat and then run before the bill comes. It’s best to stick with legal methods in order to save some money while eating out. Be a frugal diner, not a criminal!

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This is a guest article by Mr. Jonathan of

Masteryourcard a site has lots of excellent information on money and finance. You can access the same at http://masteryourcard.com/blog/My sincere thanks to Jonathan for this fantastic article..

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