Despite the economic crisis, people still have to eat, and dine out sometimes. You could save money by eating home-cooked meals, but maybe it is a way to convince yourself that things are not that bad, because you can still dine out. Just to be sure you are not forced to ask if you could wash the dishes to pay for the balance of your check, you could use some dining-out-on-a-budget tips.
1. Bring Coupons
Many local or community newspapers have restaurant advertisements placed on them with promotional coupons attached. These coupons should be worth a few dollars, a boon to those dining out on a tight budget.
2. Choose Buffets / See If Kids Eat For Free
For below $10 per head, buffets can be a wonderful choice. Gorge on everything that is on the tables, without doing mathematical computations in your head while you try not to choke on a chicken wing. You should also be lucky to find restaurants that let children dine free of charge.
3. Go to Family-Style Restaurants
If you are taking your friends out for a meal, you can do worse by picking a family-style restaurant. Varied dishes will be brought to your table served the same way at home. For an entire meal, you will only pay a single price, truly easy on your budget while entertaining friends.
4. Select Appetizers
There is the mistaken notion that appetizers are high on calories and are not filling. It is not true at all. Appetizers are served in portions that one person cannot consume by himself. You can make a meal out of the appetizers. Select the appetizer sampler as you enjoy a couple of different foods for a low price.
5. Go for Vegetarian Dishes
Dishes without meat are usually cheaper than dishes cooked with meat. Pasta and salads usually don’t have meat, so they are cheaper. You can choose these dishes. Not only is it budget-friendly, it is also good for your health.
6. Ask for Half Portions
If you are on a budget, do not be afraid to ask for half portions when you dine out. Not only are half portions cheaper, but half portions are also healthier. Your typical entrée will usually contain well over 1,000 calories.
7. Make Two Meals Out Of Large Portions
Sometimes, you get served too much food that you cannot possibly consume in one sitting. Do not be embarrassed to ask for a doggy bag. You will have something extra for your next meal.
8. Request the Special
A lot of restaurants have daily specials. Not only will you be able to enjoy budget-friendly meals, you can also try new kinds of food. The next time you go to the same restaurant, you can order another of their specials.
9. Limit Drinks to Water
Before you go to a restaurant, tell everyone going with you that drinks will be limited to water. No soda, no juice, not even beer for yourself. You are on a budget, and drinking free water cuts out a good part of the check.
10. Ask for Local & Senior-Citizen Discounts
Besides asking if children eat for free, ask for a local discount especially if you reside in a tourist area. Normally, restaurants in tourist areas are too expensive for diners on a budget but these restaurants want to cultivate their local clientele and give them discounts. From 10 percent to as high as 25 percent is a lot of savings for the budget-challenged.