Restaurant Dining on a Budget

 Restaurant dining can be pretty expensive for a family. Then again, cooking every meal at home is tiring and sometimes our extra-curricular schedules are so hectic we don’t even make it home in time for dinner. Here are a few helpful tips to help curb your spending when eating out!  

  •  Kids Eat Free Days. Many chain restaurants host children can eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée. Here is a list of restaurants that participate:Kid’s Eat Free
  • Coupons. Check your local coupon circular  for restaurant coupons.  Read the fine print of the coupon.
  • Order water. Soft drinks for the whole family can become costly.  Additionally, if you have young children most restaurants won’t mind if you bring a drink for your child.
  • Skip the Appetizers. Many restaurants offer a bread basket or something comparable  upon being seated, often they will re-fill the bread basket for free. Some restaurants even offer free finger foods to children aged 3 and younger. Cheesecake Factory offers toddlers and babies a ‘Baby Plate’ of bread, cheese and bananas.
  • Frequent Diner Rewards. Some restaurants offer rewards such as a free item or meal to those who frequent the restaurant often. . Also these reward clubs sometimes send you a coupon for a free meal or dessert on your birthday.
  • Sign-up for Restaurant Newsletters. Chain restaurants often have e-mail newsletters that you can sign up for, if they have one your waiter will inform you about it or it will be on the opposite side of your check in the check booklet. These newsletters can contain coupons, news on special events and new dishes.
  • Try Something New! New menu items are often discounted during their debut. The lower price entices customers to try the new dishes and the restaurant can gauge how good a certain item is doing. If you happen to not like your dish, you can tell your waiter  and they will often allow you to choose something else off of the menu.
  • Doggy bag it! Go to restaurants that serve large portions. If the portions are large enough you may be able to split meal with a spouse or your child. Additionally, if everyone orders an individual meal you will most likely have lunch or even dinner for the next day!

Now that’s smart dining!



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