Going out for a delicious meal can be a wonderful experience. But getting the bill and finding out it’s way more than you were expecting? Not so much. Restaurants are a business, so they’re trying to make as much of a profit off you as they can, but here are a few ways you can spend less money when you eat out.
- Pay attention to special deals - Most restaurants are offering some kind of a deal, from two-for-one drinks during happy hour to 25-cent wings on Mondays. Check the restaurant’s website before you go and ask the bartender if there are any drink specials before you order.
- Buy gift cards online - Check out com for discounts on gift cards to restaurants across the country. And sites like Groupon offer daily deals that include gift cards, so do your Internet research before you go out to eat.
- Don’t forget about Early Bird specials - If you don’t mind eating dinner before dark, look for early bird specials and happy hour deals to help you save.
- Drink water - Between cocktails, wine, sodas, and sparkling water, the beverages at your meal really add a lot to your bill. So skip all the extra cost and just drink water instead.
- Skip appetizers and dessert - This saves you money and helps you avoid eating too much.
- Eat an appetizer as your main course - Restaurant portions are notoriously oversized, so pick an app to eat as your entree and you won’t be as stuffed. Or split a main course with someone instead.
- Ask the price of the specials - When the server describes the special, they don’t always include the price. That’s because those dishes are often more expensive, so be sure to inquire about the cost before you order.
- Buy that big coupon book - You can get the Entertainment Bookfor practically every part of the country, and it’s full of good deals on dining.
- Use social media - Follow your favorite restaurants on Twitter and like them on Facebook so you don’t miss out on special offers they make to fans.
- Beware of “Market Price” - If you’re trying to save on your dinner bill, don’t even think about ordering a menu item with “Market Price” listed instead of a dollar amount. It’s usually reserved for pricey items like lobster or oysters with prices that change daily or weekly based on availability, and it’s almost always really expensive.
Source: The Daily Meal