Top Tips for Dining Out on a Budget!

by - Friday, May 25, 2012

I'm a foodie. I love to eat out and try new foods. Eating out can be so expensive, especially when you have a family. Luckily, our daughter is only a toddler, but those kids meals can add up too! I never try to pay full price when eating out. Lately, I have been doing pretty well in this area. Here are my top tips that I use to help save my family money when dining out. 

  1. Plan ahead - I tend to plan out where we will go when my husband wants to eat out. This gives me time to check out the menu online (if possible), checkout daily specials and scout for deals. It's hardly ever a spur of the moment decision for us.

  2. Sign up for the mailing list or e-club - Many restaurants now offer incentives for signing up to receive emails from them. You will often receive a free meal or high value coupon just for signing up! Do this at least a week in advance of eating there.

  3. Fan them on Facebook - Restaurants are tapping into the power of social media and rewarding customers for liking their fan page. Olive Garden has recently been giving out high value coupons and free dessert offers. Sometimes you will even find out about special events happening that may not be posted on the main website. Even if you create a FB account just for deals, it's worth it.

  4. Check out - Many local restaurants are using this site to reach new customers. offers gift certificates at a discount. Last week I redeemed one with the family and we only paid $20 out of pocket! Last night, I redeemed one for my book club meeting and saved $10! *Note: Before you buy, always call ahead to make certain the location is still participating in the program. Check back often since the selection can change at any time.

  5. Invest in an Entertainment Book - Entertainment Books have been my friend for the past few years. Not only do they have coupons for my local restaurants but also for chain restaurants in your area as well. There are many Buy One Get One Free meal offers included in the book. The book retails for $35 but goes on sale many times during the year. After a few uses, the book basically pays for itself. Mine has MANY times over! Order online at or find in store (My CVS has some.)
How do you save money when eating out?

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