Most everyone enjoys dining out at restaurants, myself included. Saving money when dining out is possible though. When we save money dining out we can do it more often even. I’ve put together a list of ways that you can save money eating out from fast food to even fine dining and everything in between.

How to Save Money Dining Out  |  Robyns.World

How to Save Money Dining Out

  1. Sign Up for Emails from Restaurants
    Just about every restaurant, of all kinds and price ranges, have websites now. Most of them also allow you to sign up for emails from them. In these emails there are often extra savings and specials.
  2. Sign Up for Text Messages from Restaurants
    At many restaurants you have probably seen little cards on the table saying to text them to sign up for text messages. It is that simple. They will send out specials via text message to you.
  3. Sign Up for Birthday and Anniversary Specials
    Some restaurants include asking for dates of your birthday or anniversary when you sign up for emails, some have a separate form for that. Either way, be sure to provide them the dates because you will often get special “gifts” from the restaurant on those special days. Things like free meals, free appetizers or free desserts are very common “gifts”
  4. Watch for Restaurant Coupons
    There are tons of places to watch for coupons to your favorite restaurants. Watch for them in coupon mailers (via snail mail), Valpak coupons (again via snail mail), newspapers, yellow page telephone books, back of receipts from local stores, bottom of receipts, restaurant website, restaurant social media accounts, emails, apps, and text messages are some of the places to watch.
  5. Follow on Social Media
    Particularly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you can follow/like your favorite restaurants. Many share special deals that are unadvertised anywhere else. Look at the restaurant’s website to see if they have links to their social media accounts.
  6. Groupon
    This site allows restaurants to make special offers for diners. Many of the deals are for a certain percentage off or other special deal. Make sure you read the full details of the offer as many require a minimum purchase as part of the deal.
  7. Restaurant Apps
    More and more restaurants are offering apps for your smartphone now. On these you can often get coupons, see the latest deals, get hours for things like happy hour, enter giveaways for free meals, and as a bonus even make reservations or add name to “call-ahead” seating.
  8. Happy Hour
    Find out the times for Happy Hour at your favorite restaurants. While traditionally this will include a lot of drink specials it also often includes deals on appetizers and other food items. Some places have it only available in the bar area (but there are usually tables in that area) and some for the entire restaurant.
  9. Online Ordering
    Many restaurants have carryout or drive-thru and many of them have special deals when you use the online ordering system via their website or their app.
  10. Share Meals
    How often do you have leftovers when you go out to eat? Probably a lot of the time since portions can be really big these days. We are used to sharing appetizers but also consider sharing entrees as a way to save money on your total bill.
  11. Order Water
    Instead of paying a few dollars for each soda or tea consider ordering just water to drink with your meal. It is healthier for you, helps fill you up, and saves you a lot of money!
  12. Lunch
    Eating your main meal at lunch is considerably less expensive. Some items may be a smaller (but actual more reasonable) portion but many are the same size as dinner time meals but still less expensive. This can be especially nice if you want to try a more expensive restaurant at more reasonable prices.
  13. Early Bird
    This is not just for “old people”. Watch for early bird specials, usually before 5pm, for extra savings on your diners. As a bonus, most restaurants are less crowded in this time frame and you get better service too.
  14. Frequent Diner Rewards
    Ask if the restaurant has a frequent diner program. Many of these award points for every dollar you spend that you can build up and redeem for free items on future visits.
  15. Credit Cards
    If you have a credit card with a great perks program for money spent then you should use that card when you dine out. Don’t let the balance ride though, as soon as you get home make a payment to your credit card for the full amount of your bill so you don’t pay any interest on dining out but still get the perks of using your credit card.
  16. Gift Cards Deals
    While I am not generally a fan of gift cards, restaurants are one of the exceptions to the rule. Watch for special deals where if you buy a gift card you get another gift card of any value free or where you save a percentage off gift cards of a certain amount. There is no rule that says you cannot use the gift cards you buy for yourself. So say they offer is buy a $50 gift card and get a $10 gift card free. If you buy this for yourself it is like getting a $10 off coupon.
  17. Kids Eat Free
    If you have kids in your family who still eat off the kid’s menu this can save you a lot of money. Find out what days your favorite places have a kids eat free night and go to them on those days.
  18. Receipt Surveys
    Many restaurants want feedback on your visit and will provide you a special phone number or website to complete a survey on your receipt. Some restaurants only offer a chance to win a prize for completing, but many offer a free item or a discount of your next visit for completing the survey. They generally only take a couple of minutes to complete.
  19. Entertainment Coupon Books
    If you like to eat out a lot and try new places in your city then purchasing an Entertainment Coupon Book  ($25-$50 or so) can really benefit you. There are always tons of restaurant coupons in them that are really good deals.
  20. Restaurant Week
    Many cities have a “Restaurant Week” that is to promote restaurants and often donate earnings toward a charity. In these weeks more of the fine dining or more upscale restaurants participate and often have a “prix fixe” selection. This means you have a selection of certain items, usually a starter, main, and dessert, at one set fixed price. This allows you to try out these more expensive restaurants at a much lower price.
  21. Fundraiser Nights
    These special fundraiser nights may or may not save you money, however they all donate a certain amount of their proceeds to a charity or cause. Local schools do these often. Even if you don’t save your own money you know that some of your money is supporting another group.

Important Note About TIPPING when using discounts

When you use coupons, deals or other savings when dining out it is important to make sure you tip your server based on the regular full amount of your bill. The server is still doing the same amount of work as if you paid full price and it is not fair to them if you only tip on the discounted total.

Did you learn any new ways to save money when eating out in this post? Are there any other ways to save money you can share?

Robyn

 

21 ways save money dining out  |  Robyns.World