Save Money at Restaurants – Tips for Spending Less When Eating Out
December 4, 2008
Saving money on your restaurant bill is simply a matter of doing several small things that can add up to big savings. I cover most of them last year in how to cut your restaurant bill big time but I’ll cover a few of them here and add in one that I missed.
Main Course & Appetizers
Spending less at a restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean eating less food. For example, at some restaurants the portion sizes are big enough that you can split a meal with the family member or friend you’re eating with. This works especially well at establishments that bring out chips and salsa, bread, salad, or some other complimentary food prior to the meal.
Of course, there are other pre-meal options that aren’t free at all. Appetizers can be quite expensive for the amount of food you get from them. They can cost half or two thirds the cost of your main dish so avoiding them can save you some money.
Drinks have a pretty big markup, it’s hard to believe that some places charge $2 for a glass of soda with your meal. Alcohol is even more expensive, a few drinks can really tack onto your bill. It may be strange if you’re used to having a Coke with dinner, but ordering water will certainly cut your restaurant bill.
Deal of the Day
Many restaurants offer specials on the weeknights to help bring people in during their slower times. You can save money by always knowing which establishment in town is offering the deal of the day. Also, don’t forget restaurants that offer free meals on your birthday!
Buy Less, Pay Less
One tip that really made some people mad last time I wrote about restaurant savings was “Spend Less, Tip Less”. This isn’t really a tip as much as it is a reminder. The idea is that there are costs to eating out that are based on the total cost of your meal.
If you figure the tip as a percentage of the total bill, then the less you spend on food, the less you tip. If you server does a stellar job and you want to throw in extra for the tip to say thanks, that’s up to you. Just remember, the same concept applies to sales tax, the smaller your bill, the less tax you pay.
One of the tips that I forgot last time that some of the readers pointed out was to use coupons for your meals. You can often find them in newspapers or coupon mailers, save them in an envolope and use them later when it’s time to eat out.
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All posts by Ben Edwards