We love to eat out, but it’s so expensive for a family of 4 that we’ve cut way back. But we’ve also learned how to save more money when we do eat out.
Here are 7 Ways To Save The Family Money When Eating Out
1) Plan ahead. If you decide where you want to go before you leave the house, you can search for a coupon. Better yet, look through your coupons and decide from there where you will go.
2) Check out Restaurants.com and buy a gift certificate. They almost always have a code to get a $25 gift certificate for only $2. Look under my categories section to pull up the most recent code. Each restaurant has limitations but you can still get a deal. Here is a receipt from a trip to Ollie Koala’s. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a fun kids place like Chuck E. Cheese. We bought a $10 certificate for $2. As you can see we bought a large pizza, 2 kids drinks and hubby and I had water. Ollie Koala’s receipts are a little confusing. You can see where they took off $9.35 but I know you’re thinking it should have been $10. The other $.65 is taken off of the tax. We were only charged 7% tax on the discounted price. Had we been charged on the full amount, the tax would have been $1.46. I hope this makes sense. You can see how we used these certificates on a vacation trip as well. So we spent $14.43 OOP (Total + $2 certificate) on a meal that would have cost us $22.42. Not bad for a family of 4.
3) Eat on a weeknight when kids eat free. KidsMealDeals.com is a great website where you can find kids eat free nights in your area.
4) Order water! I cannot tell you how much money this has saved us. Sure you can get free refills on soda or tea at most restaurants but at over $2.oo each is it really worth it? For a family of 4 it can add up quickly. I carry a few crystal light packages in my purse and mix it in with my water, if I’m not in the mood for plain water. You can order extra lemons to add flavor and I’ve never been charged for them.
5) Go on a lunch date. Now that the kids are in school full time, my husband and I have taken advantage of lunch dates. We don’t have to pay for a sitter and lunch menus are not only smaller portions, but they are cheaper. Recently my husband and I went to Mimi’s Cafe for lunch and I had a $5 off $15 breakfast order. Did you know Mimi’s Cafe serves breakfast ALL day. Just ask for the menu. I think there are a couple of items not available all day but you still have a list to choose from.
6) Order curbside pick up. I love that restaurants are doing this now. Call ahead and place an order, pull into the “special parking spot” and they come out and deliver your order to you in your car. You can go home and pour your own beverage and you don’t have to leave a tip!
7) Share a meal or eat all the freebies first. You know those restaurants where they bring your free bread or a salad comes with your meal? Take advantage of this and eat up. Meal portions are so large at most places that you will be full before you finish it. How wonderful is it to have leftovers for lunch the next day? You can also share a meal with your significant other. My husband and I do this all the time. Or at least when we can agree on something!