It can be pretty tiresome to prepare your own meals at home day in and day out. After several grueling days of stressful work, followed by hectic stops at various places to pick up kids from their after-school activities, and a mad dash to accomplish assorted household chores and tasks, one simply cannot endure life without something to look forward to every now and then. That is what dining out should be – a special treat. Dining out can be a thrilling experience. Imagine having mouth-watering dishes served to you by polite and accommodating waiters without having to break a sweat yourself. All you have to do is order, enjoy the food, and pay up. But wait. That last part does not seem to be as pleasurable as the rest of the experience. However, you CAN do something to make it so. This article is aimed to show you some tips on how to make your gastronomic expeditions easier on your wallet:
1. Do take advantage of happy hours. You might think that eating early only suits the elders of the community, but you will be surprised at the number of people who make the most of happy hour deals offered by restaurants during their slow-traffic times. Although these restaurants offer various deals on different items, you can almost always be assured of paying less than what you would cough up on normal dining hours. Plus, an early meal means you will have a lot more time to relish the rest of the evening with whomever you are with.
2. Search for great deals and specials.
Happy hour deals are not the only specials you can take pleasure in. Take a little time surfing the internet for steals such as a dining gift certificate worth $25 for less than half that price on sites like giftcardgranny.com, restaurant.com, and many others. Simply checking in to various locations on FourSquare can open the door for several freebie offers and discounts. Keep your eyes peeled for coupons on the internet and in newspapers (especially the Sunday paper) as well.
3. Sharing is saving.
The thing with most American restaurants is that they often serve giant portions. A single order can satisfy the healthy appetites of two people, so if you are looking to save a few dollars while still being able to partake of yummy food prepared by others, you might want to split an appetizer or entrée with your friend or date. This will cut down your bill considerably by about $20.
4. Pass up on pricey drinks and guilt-inducing desserts.
Sodas and alcoholic drinks can be overpriced at times, so order water or water with lemon, which most places do not charge for at all. Other beverages can cost anywhere from $2 to $5, while wine can be on the more expensive side. Desserts are another pricey option so pass up on these guilt-inducing sweets as well. A little discipline on your part will be healthier for you and your finances!
5. Go on a power lunch!
Who said that dining out should only be in the evening? You can make your lunch the special meal of the day. By doing this, you can take advantage of similar menu options, and you can save as much as 20 percent on your restaurant bill. Want to save more? Order the lunch specials; you will be able to enjoy great food at lesser costs than the other menu items. A penchant for eating out does not necessarily have to entail filing for bankruptcy. Sometimes, all it takes to save on dining costs are resourcefulness in hunting for deals and a little bit of self-control. Practice these, and you will have made a dent on your restaurant bills (not on your savings).
Amanda is a part-time writer and a financial analyst for yourcreditscorerange.com. Her main interests are those topics related to personal finance, stocks, and other investments.