7 Ways to Save Money on Dining Out

Well, do you smell what the Rock is cooking?!  Probably not. Chances are he’s not cooking, he’s going out to eat instead! The number of people going out to restaurants and bars for their meals is at an all-time high.  According to Eater.com, Millennials spend an average of $174 a month on dining out, non-millennials spend $153 a month going out to eat. Why is this important?  For the first time ever, dining out has overtaken grocery store purchases.

With the popularity of going out to eat increasing by the day, I thought it would be a great time to examine ways to save money on dining out.  

7 Tips to Save Money On Dining Out

#1. Sign Up For E-Newsletters/Texts

Many restaurants have a sign- up form on their websites to join their E-Newsletters. If you know you are going out to eat, sign up the day before. Many of these E-Newsletters will include a free appetizer upon signing up as well as some other offers throughout the year. Some restaurants are moving toward a text message alert as well.

#2. Get Takeout

Ordering your meal to take home and eat is a lot cheaper than dining in.  For one, you aren’t going to have to tip a server.  If the average millennial spends $174 a month dining out, $35 dollars of that could be due to tipping. Also, when ordering take out, you are avoiding paying a premium for soft drinks or alcohol.  There are a lot of differing opinions on whether or not to tip on carryout. What say you? Let me know in the comments what you think.

#3. Celebrate a Birthday

Many restaurants will give birthday freebies either on your actual birthday or during your birthday month. Sign up and get these items in your inbox. My favorite is the Dairy Queen BOGO offer on blizzards. Happy Birthday!

#4. Skip the Soft Drinks

Stick with water. It’ll likely save you $3 or more per person and it’s much healthier.

#5. Look for Discounts

Deal sites like Groupon and Living Social often have great offers on local restaurants.

Also, Restaurant.com is a great place to find deals. They allow you to purchase gift certificates to thousands of restaurants at a discount. Check out this local Indianapolis pizza joint offering a $15 gift certificate for just $6…

Lastly, OpenTable allows you to book reservations to many restaurants via their website or app. You can accumulate points by using their service and can eventually get reward dollars that you can use for future meals.

Along those Lines, Get Social

Follow, connect with, and “like” your favorite restaurants on social media. Many places offer exclusive deals to their loyal followers through their social media channels.

#6. Kids Eat Free

Many different restaurants offer different days and times when kid meals are free. View this list to see many of these specials. This is a great way to save some money on a family trip to your favorite restaurant.

#7. Set a Budget

Last but not least, have a dining out budget. If you set a budget and stick to it, you will ensure that your dining out expenses won’t get out of control.  Set and track this separately from your monthly grocery budget.

Got any more tips?  Let them be known in the comments section!

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