Five More Tips For Eating In Restaurants And Sticking To A Budget
Even if you are working hard to keep your discretionary spending to a minimum, you can still enjoy a restaurant meal once in awhile. In Tips for Eating Out Cheaply, Xin Lu shared five ways she and her husband eat in restaurants often without spending a lot. Here are five more tips for eating in restaurants and still sticking to your food budget:
- Eat earlier. Almost every restaurant charges more for dinner than they do for breakfast or lunch. Go earlier in the day and pay reduced prices for similar meals. The breakfast and lunch portions may be smaller than the dinner portions, but considering you get far more than you should eat in a single meal at most restaurants anyway, this shouldn't be a problem!
- Order from the kid's menu. Some restaurants allow adults to order from the kid's menu. The prices are about half of what is charged for the adult version and typically the portion sizes are not much smaller! Look for the fine print on the menu to see if they specify age limits for the kid's menu and if not, chances are you can order and save both money and extra calories.
- Appetizers as meals. Often, the appetizer portions are large enough to be a meal in themselves, so why not plan it that way? Find an appetizer you really like, like Boneless Chicken Wings or a sampler platter – and eat it as your main course.
- Bring your own wine. There are many restaurants that have a "bring your own wine" policy. You can buy a bottle of your favorite wine at the beverage center, or bring one you've got at home and save money on the cost of eating in a restaurant. This is perfect for people who really enjoy a glass of wine with dinner but not the high price tag associated with restaurant wine.
- Get take out and enjoy a family style meal. If the point of going to a restaurant is to avoid having to cook once in awhile, you could always order your restaurant meal ahead of time and bring it home with you to share with your family. Ordering two entrees is more than enough to feed the typical family of four, especially if they are italian pasta dishes! Grab a chicken parm and a lasagna dinner and you're likely to have enough for your family (and some leftovers), and most restaurants include salad and bread with their dinner even if you get it to go.