There is nothing like an evening out with the family, but things can get expensive in a hurry. Even a basic restaurant meal can cost a family close to 100 dollars and if you eat out just once a week, you might be spending as much as 400 dollars a month on dinners.
There are ways to save money on your nights out however. Take a look at some simple things that you can do to cut costs without ruining your enjoyment of your meal.
1) Look For Kids Eat Free Days
What better way to save money than with a free meal!
Kids eat free days usually offer a free kid’s meal with every adult meal purchased. Look for these offers from local, family owned restaurants. With he average kid’s meal costing roughly 8 dollars, this can cut your meal ticket by 16 dollars plus the cost of tax. Keep in mind that you should still tip your waiter on what the full cost of the meal would have been.
2) Groupon Deals
Up and coming restaurants need to find a way to get people into the door, and they often turn to Groupon to accomplish this goal.
Check your local Groupon page often for deals that could cut your dinner costs by as much as half. Order your deal in advance though, because many of these deals are not valid the day you purchase the offer. So, if you plan to go out for dinner on a Friday, check the Groupon page Thursday or even earlier. Voucher are generally good for several months.
3) Bring In Happy Meals
Some kids are just incredibly picky and food purchased at a restaurant will only go to waste. In these cases, it might be advisable to bring in your own kid’s meal in the form of a Happy Meal or similar fast food offering. For less than half of the price of a restaurant kid meal, your kids will have something they actually enjoy.
Do check with the restaurant before hand. Many will not allow outside food to be brought in, because they obviously want to make money. If you frequent a locally owned establishment however, and explain your situation, they may allow it. After all, they want you to continue to dine there.
4) Consider The Cost Of Juice
Do your kids suck down the juice when they are at dinner? Be careful, because this can cost you greatly at many restaurants.
While many restaurants include unlimited drinks with their kid’s meals, this is not the case with all of them. You could be paying as much as $4 a piece for a simple juice box and that can add up quickly. Before you order another round, check with your waiter and see if it is included. If refills are not free, switch them to water. It is healthier and they will save their appetite for the actual food.
5) Go For Free Bread
Nothing beats free when you are dining out. To save money, choose a restaurant that offers free bread or even chips.
Free bread is a great alternative to a pricey appetizer and it will fill you up so that you do not have to order as big of a meal. You can generally find restaurants that offer free bread or chips by searching the reviews on Google or even Yelp.
6) Split An Entree
Most restaurant meals are pushing 1500 calories or more. Given that the average caloric needs for a person is 2000 calories, you can see that there is a problem.
Instead of purchasing two entrees, with way too much food, adults can split an entree. Even if there is a split fee, you typically come out ahead. Save money and prevent any unnecessary weight gain.
7) Skip The Alcohol
It is a pretty well known fact that restaurants make huge profits on alcoholic beverages. It can turn an ordinary bill into one that you need to take out a loan in order to pay for.
For the most savings, cut out alcohol entirely from you family dinner. You will save big and cut out a lot of extra calories from your meal. If you must have a drink, have a drink at home first, as long as you have a designated driver. You can then have a single drink at dinner instead of ordering multiple rounds.
8) Eat Dessert At Home
Most kids do not care where they eat dessert, just as long as they get it.
Instead of paying 5 dollars or more for a scoop of ice cream at a restaurant, simply have dessert waiting at home. For the cost of a box of fudge pops, you can shave an easy 20 dollars off of your dinner check.