I love eating out. I love the food, I love the social aspect. I love getting out of my house, and not having to clean up or wash dishes. I thought once I had the baby I wouldn't do it anymore, and the budgetary problem would take care of itself, but then I had to go and have a happy, social baby who I could take everywhere. (I know, cry me a river, right?)
We eat out at least once a week. Usually more. I know, I know that the best way to cut down on this expense is just not to do it. I know. But it brings us both such joy that we don't want to cut it out entirely.
When we lived in a college town, it was easy to find cheap casual restaurants and to find coupons and deals for them. Here, not so much. So, in order to subsidize my eating out habit, I've had to get a little more creative. Here are some of the ways I'm trying to make eating out more affordable:
- Drink water. Every single time. When a soda costs as much as a salad, it's just ridiculous. I'm not there for the soft drinks anyway.
- Go to lunch. Honestly, with the baby, it's easier anyway, and a lot of the nicer places we go to have a lunch menu with lower prices for the same great food.
- Split an entree. Okay, my husband isn't big on "sharing" (did I mention we really like food?), but sometimes if the plates are big enough he can be convinced to split one with me and get a salad or appetizer to go with it.
- Get gift cards. I use my My Points and my credit card points to get gift cards for places we typically eat.
- Get coupons. I have not had the greatest success with Restaurant.com or Groupon, but some people do. I have had success by signing up for email or mailed coupons from restaurants we regularly go to. I also sign up for frequent visit/stamp clubs.
I am so open to tips, as I need to fuel my restaurant habit. How do you save money while eating out?