Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to $ave Money when Dining out!

We go out to eat less frequently than we use to...mainly because I have learned to cook restaurant style meals at home.  The money spent dining out one moderately nice meal a week for our family of 4 can easily equal our grocery budget for the week!
Here are a few hints that may help trim back the cost of eating at a restaurant.

1)  Eat lunch instead of dinner because the prices are generally less for the exact same meal and portion size.
2)  Avoid the high price drinks-skip the glass of wine, alcoholic beverages and sodas and stick to water.  If your kids meal comes with a drink, allow the adult to drink that (because my children NEVER drak their soft drinks!)
3)  Use coupons you clip from yur newspaper, sign up for on-line savings at your favorite restaurants, purchase coupons at  Watch for specials such as BOGO free, Happy hour pricing or other pairings
4)  Stretch the entree into two meals.  Ask for a to go box and take a portion of your meal home.  Or take the soup or salad part of your meal home (ask for it to be served to go and you'll never touch it...or miss it)
5)  Dine earlier in the evening or on special days of the week when special pricing may be in effect.
6)  If you are an expensive coffee drinker, learn to make the Latte at home and save yourself the 5 bucks...
7)  Learn to cook some of your favorite meals by GOOGLING copy cat recipes from your favorite restaurants (I've reproduced recipes from Olive Garden, Outback and even Mortons Steak House with great success)

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