How To Save Money at a Restaurant – 10 Tips

Learning helpful tips to save on going out to eat could land you huge savings and still allow you to go out to eat at your favorite restaurant.

Here is a list of 10 tips to save at a restaurant:

Drink Water as Your Only Drink

Go out on Kids Eat Free Nights

Choose Less Expensive Restaurants

Create A Realistic Budget for Going Out

Utilize Special Deals At Restaurants

No Dessert

Split Your Main Dish with Other Person

Avoid Going out on Big Holidays

Order A Lunch Dish for Dinner

Make Going Out A Special Occasion

If you utilize these tips, then you should not only save money but appreciate the experience of going out to eat more.

Through this post I hope to be able to give you helpful and practical information on how to save money at a restaurant.

Drink Water as Your Only Drink

Drinking water as your only drink will help you cut down a lot of the expense of going out to eat. Ordering a drink can add up to a big difference if you do this every meal, even if it is only a $6 drink.

Imagine if every time you went out you ordered that $6 drink and you went out to eat 4 times a week.

This $6 cost times 4 would mean that you spend $24 a week just on that drink.┬áThis $6 drink cost over the course of a month would come out to be $6×16 which equals $96.

In many restaurants this drink could be much more, especially if you order another drink every meal.

$6 = 1 Drink per Meal

$6×4 = $24 Weekly Drink Cost

$24×4 = $96 Monthly Drink Cost

Cutting out this drink and instead going for water as your main beverage is going to end up saving you more than you might think.

Go out on Kids Eat Free Nights

Going out on kids eat free nights, or when there is a special deal for kids, could be great for saving money if you have a big family.

Most restaurants have a bargain during one day of the week and checking with your favorite restaurants via in person or on their websites could help you land some extra savings and still get to go out to eat.

Usually family focused restaurants will offer some reduced price for a children’s meal when combined with an adult meal.

The more kids you have in your family the more enticing this could be and you could save more money.

Choose Less Expensive Restaurants

Choosing less expensive restaurants could help you not spend as much but still get to go out to eat. There are so many options for going out to eat at a restaurant, and possibly not going out to a traditional restaurant at all.

Taking the time to figure out which affordable option you would enjoy could help you save a ton.

Picking cheaper restaurants to eat at that you still enjoy going to is going to help you save money while still allowing yourself to go out.

Save the more expensive places for a special occasion and go out instead to the more affordable options.

Budget Image
Create A Realistic Budget for Going Out

Create A Realistic Budget for Going Out

Creating a realistic budget that includes a going out expense can help you be prepared for this expense in your current budget.

Taking time to plan out once a week, twice a month or whenever is the best frequency for you to go out to eat, could help you calculate what you will need to save up to be ready for this expense.

Reviewing your budget could open up a lot of potential ways for you to save money for going out to eat but it could also give you helpful information about whether you have the extra money to go out to eat consistently.

Sometimes taking a closer look at your budget will inform you that you actually don’t have as much extra money for going out as you thought you did.

Coming up with a specific amount in your budget for going out will help you be prepared but make sure that the amount you decide on is not too limiting or too extravagant.

If you want to read more about creating a budget, read How to Create A Good Budget.

Utilize Special Deals At Restaurants

Utilize the special deals at restaurants when it is going to be slower and you will be able to score a great deal and still get your favorite meal.

There can often be special deals at restaurants including the following:

  • Happy Hour
  • Early Bird
  • Mid Week Deals

Going to a restaurant that has Happy Hour will allow you to get a drink at a reduced price which will save you money.

You can usually get free appetizers and slightly cheaper menu items during this time because the restaurants are trying to entice people to eat there.

Going to an Early Bird special will allow you to get an early dinner for a reduced amount. You can always eat your main dinner a little earlier and then have a small dinner at home later to help carry you over for the rest of the evening.

Many people don’t go out during the Mid Week Days because they don’t have the time or energy.

Restaurants usually offer deals on these mid week days to get people eating there and this is when you can go and score a great deal.

Going out on these Tuesday through Thursday days will help you still be able to go out without there being tons of people crammed into your favorite restaurant.

Dessert
No Dessert

No Dessert

Not ordering any dessert and instead eating dessert at home is going to save you a bunch. This is probably the most extra expense during your meal that you can easily substitute with your favorite ice cream at home for much less.

If you stop eating dessert, you will find yourself cutting down on how much you spend at the restaurant consistently.

You can always try splitting a dessert with a few people if you still really want the dessert. Find the right amount of dessert for you whether you can cut it out entirely or split it and this will save you money.

Split Your Main Dish with Another Person

Splitting your main dish with another person could help you save money while still getting a healthy portion of food. Some restaurants give very big portions for the main entree and splitting this dish with another person actually makes sense.

I have been to many restaurants where even when I was very hungry I could not eat the whole main dish and had to take some home.

Splitting this dish will allow you to save money and keep yourself from feeling uncomfortably stuffed by the end of the meal.

Avoid Going out on Big Holidays

Avoid going out to your favorite restaurants on the big holidays because there is usually a significant increase in price for all the main menu items.

Try to go out the day before or the day after and it should be less expensive and more enjoyable.

The big holidays are when restaurants are busier and will not be able to give you as much of deals and the service could be not quite as attentive because the people working are extra busy.

Going out on a non big holiday will allow you to get a great experience and not have all the extra delays that happen when you go out to eat or anywhere on a big holiday.

Order A Lunch Dish for Dinner

Often ordering a lunch dish for dinner is much less money and not that much smaller than a dinner meal. Ordering a lunch meal can help you reduce the cost of your meal without having to eat that much less and still get a good size meal.

If you still want to go out for dinner and want to save more money, then try to go for an alternative going out experience such as for a frozen yogurt or ice cream. This way you can still go out for the evening and save more money.

Make Going Out A Special Occasion

Getting into the habit of preparing most of your meals at home and turning going out to a restaurant into a special occasion will help you appreciate the experience more.

You will be able to save a ton of money not going out as much and when you do actually go to your favorite restaurant it will be extra special simply because it is not part of your everyday routine.

Food is something that we all need but if you can prepare most of your food at home you will be able to stay one step ahead for meal planning and never be forced to go out.

Going out to eat should be a fun experience and if you space out how frequently you go out to eat by getting better at meal prepping you will be able to enjoy these times when you go out to eat and you will save a bunch of money.

In Closing

There are many ways to save money when going out to eat but using the ones listed here will help you save significantly.

Making food at home much more and making going out to eat at a restaurant a big deal is going to help you cut costs a lot.

If you want to learn more about saving money on food, read How to Save Money on Grocery Shopping.

I hope that this post was able to give you helpful information about how to save money at a restaurant.

If you want to leave a question, then please leave it below and I will answer it as best as I can.

4 Replies to “How To Save Money at a Restaurant – 10 Tips”

  1. I like this! Saving money where I can is important for me so that I can treat my children to holidays and also with Christmas coming up. I totally agree with the expense of drinks in the bill, resturants make so much money on drinks!! I have a scheme with my bank where I can go to certain resturants between Monday and Thursday and get 2 for 1 on main meals which is very useful. Thank you for this.

  2. Nice article, I usually find going out is not worth it. You pay a lot for food you may or may not like. And drinks are so much more expensive , you can get a whole bottle for less if you buy from a shop. Cooking at home is best.

    1. Going out to eat can become expensive, especially when you factor in the drinks too.
      Cooking at home is going to save you a bunch and you can always create what you want to eat.
      Glad you liked this article!

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