Check out the menu ahead of time - You can find most menus online and it only takes a few minutes to look it over and see what the prices and options are. That way you’ll know before you go what you can afford and if there are any deals or specials.
Order drinks by the bottle or pitcher - Sure, the $40 pitcher of sangria sounds like a splurge, but when the whole table is sipping $7 glasses of it, it adds up fast.
Go meatless - If you want to save a few bucks, getting the pasta or a salad might be cheaper than the steak or chicken dish.
Skip dessert and scope out the ice cream place around the corner - Check out the neighborhood to see what sweet spots are nearby for dessert. A $4 double scoop is a bargain compared to the $12 at the restaurant where you have dinner.
Pay with a credit card that gives you cash back for food - If you eat more meals out than at home, you might want to find a credit card that rewards you for that kind of spending. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns you two points for every dollar you spend at restaurants, and you can redeem those for cash back. If you’re gonna spend there anyway, might as well make the most from it!