dining out http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4423/all en-US 6 Painless Ways to Split the Check http://www.wisebread.com/6-painless-ways-to-split-the-check <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-painless-ways-to-split-the-check" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-smartphone-restuarant-177838052.jpg" alt="friends smartphone resturant" title="friends smartphone resturant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's 2014, also known as the year we all ought to rid ourselves of the long, awkward shuffle of money and pencil-drawn arithmetic that happens each time the bill comes after a nice dinner out with friends. Why? Because there's an app for that &mdash; actually, there are six of 'em &mdash; and you've already proven you need it. Plus waitresses across the globe are tired of splitting the bill between three cards and a crumpled up fistfull of cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-should-pay-for-the-first-date?ref=seealso">Who Should Pay for the First Date?</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the top six apps made to relieve the burden of shared expenses. (Note: If you're the type to try and dodge paying for the guacamole everyone tasted, there's not an app out there that'll help you with that.)</p> <h2>1. Splitwise</h2> <p>This free web and mobile app helps friend <a href="https://www.splitwise.com/">settle up everything from shared vacation expenses to the electric bill</a>. It's an organizer that allows large groups of people to collectively break down all types of expenses and see what they owe. All data is stored in the cloud, so it can be accessed and shared from anywhere. The app also offers users mediation tools including a fairness calculator to help settle disputes.</p> <h2>2. Divvy</h2> <p>Divvy is a quick and easy three-step debt settler app for iPhone users. It works like this: Snap a photo of the bill with your phone, drag each item to the name of the person who ordered it, and <a href="http://www.divvythatup.com/">see how much everyone owes</a>. Bonus: You can check that you've been charged the correct amount for each item before itemizing the order. Divvy is 99 cents in the App Store.</p> <h2>3. Cover</h2> <p>Some of the top restaurants in New York and San Francisco are now allowing customers to pay with Cover, a free bill-paying app that allows groups of people large and small to split and pay the check <a href="http://www.paywithcover.com/">without ever having to flag down the waiter</a>. Never again will you be stuck waiting for the bill. Simply tell your waiter that you'll be paying with Cover when you sit down to dine at any of the <a href="http://www.paywithcover.com/cover-restaurants/">113 restaurants that support the app</a>. Cover is free, available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and works best if everyone at the table is signed up.</p> <h2>4. Billr</h2> <p>Groups of up to 16 people can use this app to <a href="http://billr.me/">sort and split the bill, plus add gratuity</a>. All you have to do plug in the price of each dish. You can then show each person their individualized bill on your phone screen or send out a text message that lists the breakdown of everybody's debts. Billr is $1.99 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.</p> <h2>5. Advanced Bill Splitter</h2> <p>This Android-friendly app is free and performs much like its Apple supported counterpart Billr. Simply plug in everyone's order, including split items like that bottle of Malbec, and the app will spit out <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.rejinderi.billsplitter">personalized meal totals for each diner</a>. Much easier than breaking out the calculator.</p> <h2>6. Receipt Ninja</h2> <p>Perfect for road trips and weekend getaways with friends, Receipt Ninja lets you track and break down shared expenses on multiple receipts. It's a great way to <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.serene.receiptninja&amp;hl=en">divvy up gas, tolls, lunch, and hotel charges all in one fell swoop</a>. You can also export the data in spreadsheet form straight to Excel. And it's supported by both Apple and Android mobile devices. There's a free version, but if you want to avoid those annoying ads you'll need to cough up $2.99 in the App Store.</p> <p><em>How do you settle up at the end of the evening? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-painless-ways-to-split-the-check" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Painless Ways to Split the Check" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Shopping dining out friends and money restaurant check restaurants splitting the bill Tue, 16 Sep 2014 21:00:14 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1210859 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-reading-menu-122565575-small.jpg" alt="man reading menu" title="man reading menu" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans love to dine out. We spend an average of <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/09/25/lunchtime-americans-spend-nearly-1k-annually-eating-out-for-lunch/">$1,000 annually</a> just on going to lunch. In total, we each spend about $2700 annually in restaurants and on take-out.</p> <p>And where I live (New York City), it's that much worse. So I decided to do a price comparison to discover the restaurant menu items that serve up the biggest cost difference from homemade versions. As a reference, I used the menus of my local, reasonably priced diners and mom-and-pop restaurants. If you eat out at more expensive restaurants, the price difference will be even more extreme. Here's what I found.</p> <h2>1. Pasta</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/pasta%20dish.jpg" /></p> <p>Nothing could be simpler to prepare at home than pasta. Whether you buy dry or fresh pasta or make your own (as I recently started doing), pasta is generally a ripoff at most restaurants. My local Italian place serves its simplest and least expensive pasta dish for $10. I can make the exact same simple dish at home for less than $1.</p> <h2>2. Salad</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/salad%20dish.jpg" /></p> <p>Whether you buy your produce at the grocery store, farmer's market, your local CSA, corner produce vendor, or grow your own, a simple veggie salad is a dish you should avoid at restaurants, especially during the summer months when local fresh vegetables are plentiful. I tallied up what it costs to make a simple salad at home with ingredients from my grocery store, and it costs less than $2 for all of the ingredients. My local diner charges $9 for the same salad.</p> <h2>3. Wine</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/wine%20bottles.jpg" /></p> <p>Wine is my drink of choice. A reasonably priced local wine bar in my neighborhood has wines at $8 by the glass and $34 by the bottle (a bargain compared to a lot of New York City restaurants). My local wine store, however, has these same bottles for $14 each. A bottle easily serves four good-sized glasses of vino.</p> <h2>4. Coffee and Tea</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/coffee%20cup.jpg" /></p> <p>We are a country of coffee lovers. As many as <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/04/09/coffee-mania/2069335/">83% of Americans drink coffee</a> and in total we consume 587 million cups of joe per year. Excluding Starbucks, local coffee shops, and the artisanal coffee retailers that tend to charge high per cup prices, I toddled over to my local diner to browse their coffee and tea selection. They cost a minimum of $1.55 per cup. Not bad, especially with free refills. Then I broke down what it costs to brew my favorite gourmet coffee and tea at home and found it only costs $0.25 for the coffee and $0.15 for the tea. Grab your travel mug and home brew your morning fix.</p> <h2>5. Juice and Sodas</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/soda%20cup.jpg" /></p> <p>These are items best bought at the grocery store. Juice is $3.50 per glass at my diner. Soda is $2.50 per glass. I recently bought 64 ounce bottles of each through Freshdirect for $2.50. Doing the math, a glass of either at home costs me $0.31. At the restaurant, stick with good ol' free tap water.</p> <h2>6. Dessert</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/pie%20slice.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Given my sweet tooth, I'm always tempted by the dessert case. My frugal ways help me to steer clear of ordering, however. A slice of pie, conservatively, runs about $5 per at my local diner. I can buy an entire 8-slice organic, fresh-baked pie at my Whole Foods for $10. If I bake that same pie myself, the cost for the whole pie is about the cost of a single slice at the diner.</p> <h2>7. Simple Sandwiches</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/grilled%20cheese.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>When it's lunch time and I'm out and about in the city, I often crave the simplest sandwich. Grilled cheese, ham and swiss, and a classic BLT are some of my go-to options. Then I look at the menu of some of my regular cafe stops and at their least expensive, these sandwiches ring up at $6 each. That same sandwich costs less than $1 to make at home. Grabbing a simple lunch on-the-go for the sake of convenience and time certainly comes at a cost!</p> <h2>8. Egg Dishes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/egg%20toast.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Eggs are a staple in my fridge and for $2.50 a dozen at the grocery store, they're one of the most nutritious bargains, too, at about $0.20 per egg. At my diner, an egg with a few potatoes and a couple pieces of toast will cost you $5. You don't even need your calculator to realize eggs are best consumed at home.</p> <h2>9. Baked Goods</h2> <p><img width="605" height="339" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/muffin%20dish.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>I used to tell myself I was no good at baking. Turns out I just needed to realize that baking and cooking require a different focus. While in cooking you can fudge measurements of ingredients, in baking you can't. Precision counts. Once I realized that, I started baking regularly. No need to spend $2 to $3 per muffin at my local bakery anymore. I can quickly whip up a batch of 12 for that price. I just put them in a ziploc bag and pop them in the freezer to warm up throughout the week.</p> <h2>10. Pizza</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/pizza%20dish.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>For a long time I believed pizza was worth buying because pizzerias deliver that chewy crust I crave. Then a friend told me that a $10 pizza stone would transform my homemade pizzas into works of art. Now I whip up homemade pizzas, with all the toppings I love, for a dime a slice. Even my local $2 slice joint can't compete with the cost-savings of my pizza stone.</p> <p><em>What's over-priced at your local eatery? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items" class="sharethis-link" title="Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink dining out expensive food restaurants Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Christa Avampato 1197727 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/good-resturant-service-135702380-small.jpg" alt="good restaurant service" title="good restaurant service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, my favorite spot was a little place called The Blue Danube, familiarly known as &quot;The Dube.&quot; In addition to the usual inexpensive bar fare, the menu there offered the <a href="http://imgur.com/fDIrmSR">Dube Dinner Deluxe</a> which paired a bottle of Dom Perignon with a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches (made with Roquefort cheese) at a cost of $185.</p> <p>Though I always regarded the Dube Dinner Deluxe as more of a joke than anything else, I've since come to realize that including it on the menu was a savvy marketing strategy on the part of the bar's owners.</p> <p>Due to a cognitive bias known as <a href="http://moneyning.com/money-beliefs/how-anchoring-in-behavioral-economics-explains-your-irrational-money-choices/">anchoring</a>, diners are more likely to buy mid-priced items when the menu highlights a very expensive meal. Just the existence of a high-priced item is enough to make the other prices on the menu seem reasonable in comparison. &quot;Menu engineers&quot; (and yes, that's a real profession) actually describe these very high priced items as &quot;<a href="http://youtu.be/aZ_G2gQr8Uw">decoys</a>,&quot; since they're only there to soften the sticker shock of other offerings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-overpriced-restaurant-items-that-waste-your-money?ref=seealso">13 Overpriced Restaurant Items</a>)</p> <p>As it turns out, restaurants have a pretty good handle on behavioral psychology &mdash; which is why you often end up leaving with a fuller belly and a lighter wallet than you intended. Here are 12 of the sneakiest tricks that restaurants use to get you spend more.</p> <h2>Menu Presentation</h2> <p>A well-designed menu is the single greatest asset for a restaurant's bottom line, as it can help to steer customers to the items the restaurant most wants to sell. That's why you'll find nearly all restaurants have many or all of the following features on their menus.</p> <h3>1. Visual Highlights</h3> <p>If you have ever wondered why some menu items are placed in a text box or otherwise bolded, it's because the restaurant wants to draw your attention to the item. Often, the boxed-off menu item is something that is a major profit-maker for the restaurant &mdash; like chicken wings, for example. Wings cost the restaurant pennies, so the more they sell, the more they profit.</p> <p>In addition, menu designers recognize that most people's eyes are drawn to the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/21/menus-cunning-marketing-ploys?guni=Article:in%20body%20link">top right-hand corner</a>, so that is where the big money-maker dishes are often placed. You may have noticed this if you've ever searched in vain for a simple burger on a menu. Burgers and sandwiches and the like don't tend be super profitable in some restaurants, so they are often confined to &quot;menu Siberia,&quot; where you'll have to read through the pricier items before finding them.</p> <p>Finally, photographs of food tend to be powerful motivators, which is why restaurants will place photographs of only some of their menu items. The ones appearing in photographs are the most profitable dishes.</p> <p>Even in high-end restaurants, where photos on the menu are considered a little déclassé, you will often find line drawings or other visual representations of the big money makers.</p> <h3>2. Offering Two Portion Sizes</h3> <p>I often order salads when I dine out, and I have noticed that salads are usually offered in two sizes. This practice is called &quot;bracketing,&quot; and it's a no-win for the customer. Most customers will order the smaller/cheaper portion, thinking that the lower price is a better deal. But the menu does not specify how much smaller the cheaper portion will be, and in general the restaurant is actually hoping you'll buy the smaller size. If you do splurge on the larger salad, often the size difference will be made up in inexpensive lettuce.</p> <h3>3. Feeling Like Family</h3> <p>Diners tend to like seeing the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/dining/23menus.html?pagewanted=all">names of mothers, grandmothers, uncles, and other relatives</a> on their menus. That's why you'll see something listed as &quot;Bubbie's Chicken Soup&quot; or &quot;Uncle Doug's Famous Burgers&quot; rather than simply chicken noodle soup or &frac14; pound burgers.</p> <h3>4. Brand Name Recognition</h3> <p>Going along with that, menu designers have discovered that using <a href="http://www.foodpsychology.cornell.edu/pdf/pre-prints/descriptivemenulabels-2001.pdf">brand names helps boost sales</a>. For instance, T.G.I. Friday's offers Jack Daniel's sauce, and many restaurants make sure to specify that their juice is from Minute Maid. The name recognition is enough to help sell the food.</p> <h3>5. Descriptive Language</h3> <p>A study by Cornell University revealed that foods described in a more flowery or beautiful way were more appealing and popular with diners than the same items presented more plainly. For instance, the study would either label a dessert as &quot;New York Style Cheesecake with Godiva Chocolate Sauce&quot; or simply as &quot;Cheesecake.&quot; The results showed that diners chose the more descriptive menu items <a href="http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/summaries/sales_labels">27% more often</a> than the more plainly labeled items.</p> <p>Restaurants will often use this effect to highlight a profitable dish &mdash; while using much plainer description on a less profitable menu item placed nearby.</p> <h3>6. Price Shenanigans</h3> <p>One of the things you won't find in almost any menu, from a formal foodie haven down to Mom's Diner, is a dollar sign. Omitting the symbol from the price seems to be enough to spur diners to spend significantly more, according to another Cornell study.</p> <p>In addition, you'll notice something funny about the numbers on menus. You will rarely see any prices ending in a 9. For instance, a dessert will be listed as $4.95 <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/party-like-its-1999-the-psychology-of-pricing">rather than $4.99</a>. Apparently, numbers ending in 5 seem &quot;friendlier,&quot; while numbers ending with 9 connote value, but not necessarily quality.</p> <p>Many restaurants will leave off the cents entirely, listing their dishes as a clean and simple number. All of these gambits make prices abstract, which makes spending feel less threatening and painful.</p> <h3>7. Price Placement</h3> <p>Many menus will avoid listing prices in a column, since that will make it much simpler to compare prices between meals. Instead, many restaurants will bury each item's price beneath the description.</p> <p>Even if prices are listed across from the dishes, restaurants generally do not print leader dots between the dish name and the price. It's harder to scan across to the price without those dots, meaning you're more likely to focus on the dish.</p> <h2>Service</h2> <p>The menu is not the only way restaurants try to manipulate your spending. Your friendly server is also in on it.</p> <h3>8. Introducing Themselves by Name</h3> <p>When your server introduces himself as Todd and claims he'll be &quot;taking care of you this evening,&quot; he's not just being friendly. Studies have shown that <a href="http://drjaydill.com/PSY500/Garrity-Degelman_1990.pdf">restaurant tipping is higher when servers introduce themselves</a> because the interaction feels more personal.</p> <h3>9. Upselling</h3> <p>Servers are trained to ask you if you'd like to add to your meal during every step of the ordering process. For instance, when you order a cocktail, your server might offer you a choice of brands of liquor &mdash; letting you know that the restaurant carries both Bombay and Beefeaters gin, for instance. What the server does not tell you is that there is also a perfectly good and inexpensive gin that the bartender would have used had you not specified either Bombay or Beefeaters.</p> <h3>10. Listing Specials Verbally</h3> <p>In addition to upselling, servers are also trained to rattle off the day's specials &mdash; from the appetizers to the soups to the entrees to the desserts &mdash; off the top of their heads. This practice provides you with a mouth watering description of the foods that the restaurant is hoping to sell, but it does not give you the price point for each special. Many diners are too embarrassed to ask about the prices of specials, meaning they are surprised when the bill comes.</p> <h3>11. Beverage Timing</h3> <p>You've probably noticed that good servers get your beverage from the bar very quickly after you place your order. That's partially because if the timing is right, you'll run out of your drink either before your entrée arrives or in the middle of your meal &mdash; which will often mean you ask for a refill. If you're drinking a bottle of wine, you might find that your server is Johnny-on-the-spot with refills, since you might be persuaded to purchase another bottle if the first one is empty before your plate is.</p> <h3>12. The Midas Touch</h3> <p>Waitresses in particular are known for being very friendly and even lightly touching diners on the shoulder or hand. That's partially because studies have shown that both men and women tend to tip significantly more when their waitresses touch them in a friendly way. Researchers have dubbed this the <a href="http://psp.sagepub.com/content/10/4/512.abstract">Midas Touch</a>.</p> <p>This Midas Touch <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/work-matters/201005/women-have-the-midas-touch-not-men">does not extend to male servers</a>, however. Diners are more likely to see that kind of touch as creepy rather than friendly or nurturing when it comes from a waiter rather than a waitress.</p> <h2>Limiting Your Restaurant Spending</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the restaurants hold most of the cards when you decide to treat yourself to a meal out. Since you are there to enjoy yourself, it can be very difficult to attempt to counteract the psychological tricks since doing so will likely negatively affect your enjoyment.</p> <p>The best way to deal with these issues is to plan ahead. Bring cash so you cannot spend more than you brought. Check out the menu online and decide what you will order before you arrive. Make sure you ask questions of your server if you're not sure of prices or options. And plan to savor your food and drink, since it will help you be more satisfied and lessen the possibility of over-ordering and overeating.</p> <p><em>Have you noticed any other tricks of the restaurant trade? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more" class="sharethis-link" title="12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping dining out psychology restaurants spending tricks Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1189022 at http://www.wisebread.com 40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior-couple-restaurant-80408262-small.jpg" alt="senior couple restaurant" title="senior couple restaurant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As we age, there are many benefits to look forward to, including retirement, time for travel and hobbies, wisdom, and the joy of being a grandparent. Sometimes, however, retirement means a decrease in income and spending. Many businesses recognize this fact and offer discounts to senior citizens. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-senior-discounts?ref=seealso">Big List of Senior Discounts</a>)</p> <p>Below is a list of 40 restaurants that may offer customers (some starting at age 55) a discount for their business.</p> <h2>Fast Food</h2> <p>Many fast food restaurants will offer a discount, which ranges from 5%-15% as well as a reduced price coffee or soft drink. Discounts may vary from location to location, be sure to ask before you order.</p> <h3>Arby's</h3> <p>10% discount for those over 55.</p> <h3>Burger King</h3> <p>10% discount for those 60 and older.</p> <h3>Captain D's</h3> <p>Discount on select days (usually Sundays and Wednesdays) for seniors 62 and older.</p> <h3>Carl's Jr.</h3> <p>10% discount on meal or drink.</p> <h3>Chick-fil-A</h3> <p>Free small drink or coffee plus a 10% discount for those 55 and older.</p> <h3>Del Taco</h3> <p>10% discount or a free drink for customers 55 and over.</p> <h3>Hardees</h3> <p>Small drinks are 33 cents with the purchase of a meal for those 65 and older.</p> <h3>Jack in the Box</h3> <p>Seniors 55 and older can save 20%.</p> <h3>Kentucky Fried Chicken</h3> <p>Free small drink with the purchase of a meal for those 55 and older.</p> <h3>Long John Silvers</h3> <p>Discounts vary by location for those 55 and older.</p> <h3>McDonald's</h3> <p>Discounted coffee and soft drink for customers over 55.</p> <h3>Popeye's</h3> <p>10% discount or a free drink for customers 55 and older.</p> <h3>Sonic</h3> <p>10% discount or a free drink for seniors 55 and over.</p> <h3>Subway</h3> <p>10% discount.</p> <h3>Taco Bell</h3> <p>A free drink for seniors or 5% off to seniors 65 and older.</p> <h3>Wendy's</h3> <p>10% discount on your purchase if you are over 55.</p> <h3>Whataburger</h3> <p>Offers a free drink or a 10% discount.</p> <h3>White Castle</h3> <p>10% discounts for customers 62 and over.</p> <h2>Casual Dining</h2> <p>Whether you are sitting down for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these restaurants offer you discounts on your meal. Some offer a senior menu (which may have smaller portions as well as a lower price), but be sure to check on the value, if you are a big eater or want to take leftovers home, the regular menu may be a better value for your dollar.</p> <h3>Applebee's</h3> <p>10%-15% off on your meal if you are 55 or older.</p> <h3>Bob Evans</h3> <p>Senior Menu for those 55 and older.</p> <h3>Boston Market</h3> <p>10% discount for seniors 65 and older.</p> <h3>Chili's Grill and Bar</h3> <p>10% discount for seniors 55 and older.</p> <h3>CiCi's Pizza</h3> <p>Seniors 60 and over receive a 10% discount.</p> <h3>Culver's</h3> <p>Customers 60 and older receive a 10% discount.</p> <h3>Denny's</h3> <p>Senior Menu for 55 and older, AARP members receive larger discounts.</p> <h3>Golden Corral</h3> <p>10% off to customers over 60.</p> <h3>Hometown Buffet/Ryan's/Country Buffet and Others</h3> <p>Sign up for a discount card and receive deals and coupons all year long.</p> <h3>IHOP</h3> <p>Senior Menu for those 55 and older.</p> <h3>O'Charley's Restaurant</h3> <p>10% off for customers 60 and over.</p> <h3>Papa John's</h3> <p>Save 25% if you are over 55 or an AARP member when you order online using the promo code &quot;AARP25&quot;.</p> <h3>Steak and Shake</h3> <p>Customers 55 and over can receive a 10% discount on Mondays and Tuesdays but locations vary, call ahead.</p> <h3>Waffle House</h3> <p>10% off your meal on Mondays for customers 60 and older.</p> <h2>Desserts and Treats</h2> <p>When you need a sweet treat or a great dessert, you can continue to score discounts at these great restaurants.</p> <h3>Ben &amp; Jerry's</h3> <p>10% discount for seniors 60 and over.</p> <h3>Dairy Queen</h3> <p>10% discount or free drink for those 55 and older.</p> <h3>Dunkin Donuts</h3> <p>Free donut with the purchase of a coffee.</p> <h3>Friendly's</h3> <p>Discounts are available for those 60 and older, inquire at each location for specifics.</p> <h3>Krispy Kreme</h3> <p>10% off for those customers 55 and older.</p> <h3>Mrs. Fields</h3> <p>10% discount for customers 60 and older.</p> <h3>TCBY</h3> <p>10% discount for customers 55 and older,</p> <h2>Additional Discounts and Tips</h2> <p>Ask at every restaurant you visit. Even those not on this and restaurants local to you may offer discounts. Also, if you happen to be an AARP member, you can <a href="http://discounts.aarp.org/dining/index/uSource/HCTN">save even more</a> by showing your membership card. They also offer discounts for buying gift cards to restaurants through a partnership with <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-5674461">Restaurant.com</a>. If you are a member of AARP, it might be worth checking out those deals before dining out.</p> <p>Many of these discounts could vary by location, it is best to give them a call before heading out and expecting a discount. Be sure to bring your identification to show your age, in case the restaurant requests to see proof before offering a discount.</p> <p>For even more discounts available to seniors, check out <a href="http://www.seniordiscounts.com/">SeniorDiscounts.com</a> or <a href="http://www.sciddy.com/">Sciddy.com</a>.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite senior discounts? Please share in comments.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts" class="sharethis-link" title="40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping dining out discounts restaurants senior discounts Thu, 03 Jul 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1153214 at http://www.wisebread.com Infographic: Always Know Who Should Pick Up the Check http://www.wisebread.com/infographic-always-know-who-should-pick-up-the-check <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/infographic-always-know-who-should-pick-up-the-check" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/restaurant-bill-78745435-small.jpg" alt="restaurant bill" title="restaurant bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="178" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've just had a nice dinner, great conversation, and many laughs. The server has dropped off the check, and the last bites of dessert have been consumed. The age-old dilemma arises &mdash; who picks up the check? Here is a quick infographic guide that helps you figure it out. And keep reading below for more details!</p> <p><img width="605" height="1057" alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/Who-picks-the-check.jpg?ggnoads" /></p> <p>Embed this infographic:<br /> <textarea style="width:590px;height:65px;">&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.wisebread.com/who-picks-up-the-check&quot;&gt;&lt;img src=&quot;http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/Who-picks-the-check.jpg&quot; /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;</textarea></p> <p>Tradition says that if you are on a date, then the man should pick up the check and pay. That tradition began years ago when men were working and women were not. Times have certainly changed, and women are making money as well as men. Women could, and &mdash; in some cases should &mdash; be picking up the check from time to time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-practice-math-when-you-leave-a-tip?ref=seealso">Do You Practice Math When You Tip?</a>)</p> <p>What do you do if you are out with friends, on a business lunch or dating someone of the same sex? Tradition doesn't always apply. Here are three situations that you may find yourself in and how to determine who should pick up the check.</p> <h2>Out With Friends</h2> <p>It might seem like this situation would be the easiest to solve. After all, these are your friends, and they should be the easiest to talk to about situations like this. However, there are times when dining out with friends can create a stressful situation. If you are with multiple friends but avoid drinks or only order a salad, it can be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paying-for-a-piece-of-the-pizza-techniques-for-splitting-the-bill">difficult to split the check evenly</a>. It's hard to speak up and tell a group of people whom you care for that you think they are being unfair by splitting things down the middle.</p> <p>In situations where there are only one or two friends dining out, the person who does the inviting should pick up the tab. At the very least, he or she should offer to cover the entire tab and be prepared to do so when making the invitation to get together.</p> <p>If dinner is with multiple friends, it might be best to to state at the beginning of the meal that you need to keep an eye on the budget and would anyone mind doing separate checks. Servers can very easily split checks now with just the tap of a few prompts on a screen, so separate checks are almost always easy to create.</p> <p>If it's a standing arrangement where your friends get together every month, rotate who pays each time. It's common for people of all ages to do this with their social groups; some actually choose to flip a coin! Have everyone flip, and any odd person out pays the bill. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-playing-credit-card-roulette">How to Play &mdash; and Win! &mdash; Credit Card Roulette</a>)</p> <p>When all else fails, use an app like <a href="http://plates.splitwise.com/">Plates</a>, from <a href="https://www.splitwise.com/">Splitwise</a>.</p> <h2>Business-Related Dining</h2> <p>If you have invited a potential client or colleague out to lunch or dinner for the purpose of creating a working relationship with them, you should definitely be picking up the tab. However, if lunch has been requested by someone who wants your business or if you are dining with a boss, then it should be their bill to pay. There are <a href="http://www.inc.com/steve-tobak/business-etiquette-who-should-pick-up-the-check.html">other situations</a> where you should pick up the tab as well, for instance if you have come to a mutual agreement to go to lunch together to collaborate or brainstorm. Ultimately, if the check is sitting on the table and no one is going for it, be the one to grab it and offer to pay for the meal. You never know when that gesture wins you a better working relationship with someone.</p> <h2>Dating</h2> <p>Tradition no longer holds water here. While there are still many men who feel they should always pick up the check when dating, <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/23244363/#.U3wK3vldUhV">those numbers are decreasing</a>. More and more men are expecting women to pick up the check, and more women are demanding that they have the opportunity to do so. Women generally don't want to feel like they can't take care of themselves, so they are more likely to offer to split the bill, pay the tip, or pick up the check during the next date. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-should-pay-for-the-first-date?ref=seealso">Who Should Pay for the First Date?</a>)</p> <p>However, a good rule of thumb is that if you are the one initiating the date, then you should be the one to pick up the bill. This rule really fits in most situations, but especially with dating. It's never a good habit to ask someone out, plan the date, and then expect <em>them</em> to pick up the tab. No one wants to date &quot;that guy/girl.&quot;</p> <p>Regardless of the situation, if the person you are with has picked up the tab and you really want to see him or her again, end the meal with a comment like, &quot;Thanks for buying dinner tonight. Let's do this again so I can return the favor.&quot; Be sure to comment with something that lets him/her know you are grateful, capable, and willing to pay yourself (and maybe most importantly, interested in more time together).</p> <p><em>How do you divide up the check? Share your advice in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/infographic-always-know-who-should-pick-up-the-check" class="sharethis-link" title="Infographic: Always Know Who Should Pick Up the Check" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink General Tips dining out dividing the check splitting the check tipping Tue, 17 Jun 2014 17:00:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1142932 at http://www.wisebread.com Cut $100 or More From Your Food Bill Without Even Trying http://www.wisebread.com/cut-100-or-more-from-your-food-bill-without-even-trying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cut-100-or-more-from-your-food-bill-without-even-trying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groceries-451557151.jpg" alt="man with groceries" title="man with groceries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've shared a lot of food budget tips here on Wise Bread, from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-great-coupon-debate">coupon clipping</a> to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list">getting organics on a budget</a> to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-restaurants-budgeting-tips-for-dining-out">finding restaurant discounts</a>. But what if you just don't want to put that much time and effort into money saving techniques? A single person can easily shave $100 off a monthly food budget without breaking a sweat by making some of these easy changes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-a-7-step-food-budget">Use a 7-Step Food Budget to Save Money and Eat Better</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stop Throwing Away Food</h2> <p>Imagine bringing home a bunch of eight bananas, picking two off the bunch, and pitching them right into the trash. If you're like the average American, you do the equivalent every week, throwing away up to a quarter of all the food you buy. If you can cut food waste to just 5%, that's a 20% savings without ever having to study Advanced Coupon Theory.</p> <p>What's the secret to not throwing away food? Eating it before it goes bad. At our house, we achieve that by avoiding overfilling our fridge &mdash; things that get pushed to the back behind new purchases end up wasted. Another handy anti-waste device is the clear storage container. I use these <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005B8K5/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00005B8K5&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Pyrex containers</a>. Used yogurt containers are free, but if you're like me, you might ignore leftovers packaged in an opaque container and forget about them until they've transformed into a fuzzy gray mess ready for HazMat pickup.</p> <p>Finally, don't forget about your freezer. If you don't think you'll have time to finish the leftovers before they spoil, just stick 'em in a freezer bag and voila &mdash; you have a quick dinner for a future night. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-freeze-foods-that-dont-freeze-well?ref=seealso">How to Freeze Foods That Don&rsquo;t Freeze Well</a>)</p> <h2>2. Downgrade Unplanned Dining</h2> <p>If you want to go out with friends to a restaurant for a nice occasion, that's one thing. But if you find yourself heading to restaurants just because you're out of groceries or are too tired to cook, that's an opportunity for savings.</p> <p>Instead of hitting a restaurant, pick up a pre-made salad, a rotisserie chicken, or other ready-to-eat entree. Grocery stores, in a nod to busy families, carry a lot of those things these days.</p> <h2>3. Lay in Emergency Supplies</h2> <p>Emergency preparedness isn't limited to clearing the shelves of the local grocery store when a hurricane or blizzard is due. A night when you don't have anything planned for dinner is emergency enough. Buy some extra boxes of pasta and jars of sauce (with meatballs in the freezer), cans of tuna, or anything else that would allow you to whip up a halfway decent meal even if your original plans fall through. If you're tempted to eat your emergency supplies right away, hide them in a cupboard you don't usually open &mdash; for me it's that one over the refrigerator.</p> <h2>4. Don't Overeat</h2> <p>The average <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/restaurant-meals-higher-calories-fast-food-studies-find/story?id=19170366">restaurant meal contains 1,128 calories</a>. That's great news!</p> <p>Why great, when so many Americans are struggling to control their weight? Because it means that the typical restaurant meal contains enough food for tomorrow's lunch in addition to tonight's dinner. Don't gobble it all up tonight, just because it's there. Get a doggie bag.</p> <h2>5. Pack Your Lunch</h2> <p>Wait a minute &mdash; you thought this list was going to be low effort, and here we are suggesting you put in a grueling five minutes spreading peanut butter on bread. Well, would it be worth it if I told you that every minute you spend packing your lunch could save you $1?</p> <p>A peanut butter and jelly sandwich costs about <a href="http://www.christonium.com/culinaryreview/How_Much_Does_a_Typical_Homemade_Sandwich_Cost">29 cents to make</a>. Add an <a href="http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/fvwretail.pdf">apple for about 60 cents</a> and a 50-cent container of yogurt, and you have a nutritious lunch for less than $2, or $10 for five lunches a week. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-non-sandwich-work-lunches?ref=seealso">25 Non-Sandwich Work Lunches</a>)</p> <p>The average American worker spends more than <a href="http://www.accountingprincipals.com/Documents/downloads/workonomix_spending_habits.pdf">$36 on workday lunches out</a> per week. So 25 minutes a week of lunch packing could save you about $25, or a dollar a minute.</p> <p>Multiplied by four weeks in the average month, and you just saved your $100 a month &mdash; without touching the other two meals of the day.</p> <p>If you're a serial lunch forgetter, see if you can stash a few emergency lunch supplies in your desk or office refrigerator, so you don't end up going on unplanned lunch outings. My husband keeps a canister of oatmeal at work for those days &mdash; it ain't fancy, but it allows him to power through till dinner.</p> <h2>6. Cut Down on Junk Food</h2> <p>When people say that they can't afford to eat healthy, they tend to conveniently forget that unhealthy snack foods are among the priciest groceries in the store. A <a href="http://www.economagic.com/em-cgi/data.exe/blsap/APU0000718311">16 oz. bag of potato chips costs about $4.50</a>, compared to an average cost of <a href="http://www.economagic.com/em-cgi/data.exe/blsap/APU0100712112">73 cents per pound of potatoes</a>.</p> <p>So if you skip those between-meal snacks, you're not only improving your health, but you're saving your appetite for much less-expensive meal time calories.</p> <h2>7. Drink Water</h2> <p>This goes for at home, but it goes double for at restaurants, where soda and other beverages can be crazy expensive compared to the food. American households spend an average of <a href="http://www.drinkwaterfirst.com/Save-Money.html">$850 per year on soft drinks</a>. So even if you could cut that in half, you'd be looking at spending $425 less, or a savings of $35 a month.</p> <h2>8. Buy the Store Brand</h2> <p>It doesn't take too much study of the prices on grocery store shelves to figure out that the <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2010/october/shopping/store-brands-vs-name-brands/overview/index.htm">store brand is the cheapest</a> &mdash; Consumer Reports pegged the savings at 30%. In a 2010 taste test of store brands versus name brands, the magazine found that, &quot;Overall, national brands won seven of the 21 matchups and store brands won three. For the rest, the store brand and name brand were of similar quality.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Observe Meatless Monday</h2> <p>Vegetarian meals are usually cheaper, but I'm personally not willing to give up the savory deliciousness of hamburgers, roast chicken, or pulled pork for life. But for one day a week? That I can do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-by-going-mostly-meatless?ref=seealso">Save Money By Going Mostly Meatless</a>)</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.meatlessmonday.com/">Meatless Monday website</a> features lots of flesh-free recipes. They're not all budget recipes, of course, but in general I spend less on my vegetarian dishes than my carnivorous ones.</p> <h2>10. Join Costco or Another Wholesale Club</h2> <p>Many items are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-buy-at-costco">cheaper per ounce at Costco</a> than at regular stores &mdash; but you only really realize a savings if you can use everything you buy there. Costco is also a good place to get healthy frozen entrees if these help you resist fast-food windows.</p> <p><em>How do you save money on food? Please share your tips in comments.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-100-or-more-from-your-food-bill-without-even-trying" class="sharethis-link" title="Cut $100 or More From Your Food Bill Without Even Trying" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink dining out food budget food spending groceries Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:24:33 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1124303 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Often Do You Dine Out? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-dine-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-dine-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/restaurant-5162879-small.jpg" alt="waitress with chips" title="waitress with chips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-dine-out#comment-694462">Michelle</a>, Tabathia, and Laura for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Many people enjoy dining out, especially if time, groceries, and cooking skills are lacking. However, the cost of restaurant meals &mdash; or even just take-out &mdash; can add up if it's a regular part of your life.</p> <p><strong>How often do you dine out?</strong> Are there certain occasions where you definitely would (or wouldn't) eat at a restaurant? What do you do to lower the costs when you dine out?</p> <p>Tell us how often you dine out and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> <p> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857d50/" class="rafl" id="rc-79857d50">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a></p> <script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script><p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, September 16th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after September 16th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-dine-out" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: How Often Do You Dine Out?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how often you dine out and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Ask the Readers dining out Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:07:04 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 981805 at http://www.wisebread.com Identify and Solve Your Spending Mysteries http://www.wisebread.com/identify-and-solve-your-spending-mysteries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/identify-and-solve-your-spending-mysteries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/finances-3258918-small.jpg" alt="spending" title="spending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you feel like some of your hard-earned cash seems to vanish into thin air each month? I kept noticing a big chunk of my change seemed to be disappearing into a monthly black hole, despite what I thought was decent budgeting. So, I decided to clean up my act and set out to locate these hidden areas. Here are a few tips that I learned along the way that can help you nab your mystery spending, too. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-your-hidden-spending-habits-and-save">Find Your Hidden Spending Habits and Save</a>).</p> <h2>1. Unplanned Dining Splurges</h2> <p>Despite having a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-more-tips-for-eating-in-restaurants-and-sticking-to-a-budget?wbref=readmore-2">dining budget</a>, I admit I was not keeping track of every single drink or ice cream that seemed like a small splurge at the time. While an occasional treat is well deserved, often I was being silly. For example, last week while waiting for our table, my husband and I ordered two glasses of not-so-good, lukewarm chardonnay for $21 including tip. When I go to the liquor store, I can buy two or even three suitable bottles for that price. Do the &quot;quick drink at the bar&quot; a few more times, and you can easily run up $100 a month and not really enjoy it.</p> <p>I noticed that other little treats were adding up, too. We always visited the ice cream shop after a dinner out or made a few unplanned, weekly fast food stops. Somehow, I was forgetting that the tab for such outings can easily run $15-$20 for four people.</p> <p><strong>Curbing the Treat Buying</strong></p> <p>Once I realized what was happening, I established a treat allowance per month. This consisted of setting aside a small, fixed amount in cash, bound in a rubber band. I could do what I wanted with my little roll of cash, but once it was gone, that was it for the month. This quickly stopped the previous over-spending and made me prioritize my buying and how badly I wanted something.</p> <p>Secondly, I found ways to spread out little splurges more. For drinks, it was as simple as holding off for a more economical bottle of wine at the table, or eating at home, followed by an affordable beer at the bar afterwards. For the ice cream shop visits and fast food stops, I made such trips into planned, special outings for my family. This meant not indulging after already out to dinner or because we were just driving by. Looking forward to these planned jaunts made everyone appreciate them more. Spreading treats into separate outings actually made us feel like we were going out more, too.</p> <h2>2. The Curse of the Last-Minute Gifter</h2> <p>I budgeted for big items, like Christmas and my daughter's birthday, but I was still shocked at my annual gift spend. Things like housewarming gifts, other children's birthday parties, and smaller-scale holidays were really adding up. Throw in a wedding or two, and you can easily go off the rails. I never stopped to think about just how many events we were attending and the types of gifts we bought. Additionally, I would often buy presents at the last minute, meaning I usually spent more out of convenience.</p> <p><strong>The Gift-Giving Fix</strong></p> <p>Once I realized that we were averaging 10 dinner parties, 5 kids' birthday parties, and a handful of holidays and special events per year, I made a better gift budget. Then, I saved a bundle by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">making some of my own gifts,</a> like painted flowerpots, or easier projects like repurposed jars filled with fresh flowers from my garden. Next, I stocked up on some attractive home goods, which I found at craft stores for $5 or less, using coupons or hitting seasonal sales. When out shopping, if I saw a good deal on a toy or baby clothes, I bought a few to have as inventory for upcoming events. In the last six months, we saved over $300 by doing this, and many of these gifts were more appreciated than the default bottle of wine.</p> <h2>3. Too Many Shows, Too Little Time</h2> <p>With the dizzying array of cable packages and providers, it is hard to know if you are really saving. I took a long, hard look and realized I had at least 10 movie channels I hadn't watched in the last 12 months. And, if you have young kids, chances are your days of surfing premium channels to watch &quot;Office Space&quot; undisturbed for the fortieth time are long gone. It was time to take inventory of what I really needed and cut down. My plan was also up for renewal, and when I viewed my account online, I saw a $20 per month increase for the same stuff I currently had. This was not good.</p> <p><strong>Making Cable Worth It Again</strong></p> <p>I already had a combined package for my phone, Internet, and cable, so I was pleasantly surprised more savings could be had. First, instead of settling for what you may see online and giving up any previous promotions, investing the 10 minutes to call your provider directly can pay off. I called expecting a fight, but before I could even plead my case, the representative said <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/thirteen-minutes-to-a-lower-cable-bill">there were special deals for those willing to renew</a> for two more years. I was immediately given a renewal plan that included faster Internet and all of my existing features for $10 less per month. Once that was done, I cut out two premium channel lineups we never use, which saved another $30 per month.</p> <p>The next time you are looking to tune up your budget, take a look at your non-essential spending and really think through where your money goes. My examples were very relevant for a family with a young child in the house, but everyone can attempt to cut down mystery spending. By identifying the common pitfalls and making some useful adjustments, you can save a bunch and still do the things you enjoy.</p> <p><em>Have you uncovered any hidden spending habits? What did you do to spot them and correct them?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/identify-and-solve-your-spending-mysteries" class="sharethis-link" title="Identify and Solve Your Spending Mysteries" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting cable bill dining out homemade gifts mystery spending spending habits Wed, 03 Jul 2013 09:48:32 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 980278 at http://www.wisebread.com Who Should Pay for the First Date? http://www.wisebread.com/who-should-pay-for-the-first-date <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/who-should-pay-for-the-first-date" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7400359838_4f1bb4dd4f_z.jpg" alt="couple" title="couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;m married now, but when I was dating, I had anxiety over who should pay for the first date.</p> <p>For women, it&rsquo;s easy. I don&rsquo;t mean to be sexist, but the guy generally picks up the tab in most cases; you ladies have it made if you&rsquo;re dating decent men. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-5-to-30-date-ideas-for-every-budget" target="_blank">From $5 to $30+, Date Ideas for Every Budget</a>)</p> <p>I&rsquo;m gay, however, so when it&rsquo;s two dudes meeting for drinks, dinner, and activities, that old-fashioned line of machismo-masked-as-chivalry tends to get blurred.</p> <h2>My Simple Rule: The Asker Pays</h2> <p>In my case, I adopted the rule early on that whoever asked the other on the date is the one who should pay. That&rsquo;s not how it always went down, though. I dated a few stinkers (literally in one instance; more on that later) before I found my husband. But even today, I still use that rule when going on a date with my husband. If I ask him on the date, I&rsquo;ll pick up the tab. If he&rsquo;s inviting me out, I expect him to foot the bill.</p> <p>Then there&rsquo;s the grey area.</p> <p>If we&rsquo;re going out on a whim, with no specific plans in place, we go Dutch. I don&rsquo;t mind. Every now and then, on these impromptu dates, one of us will pick up the entire bill just because we want to &mdash; and because that&rsquo;s what married people do if they want married-people perks later in the night.</p> <h2>First Date Follies</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re not in a relationship though, dating isn&rsquo;t so easy &mdash; especially the first one &mdash; and it definitely isn&rsquo;t cheap.</p> <p>While I stand by my statement that you should fork over the dough if you initiated the first date, there are some exceptions. Let&rsquo;s take that stinker, for instance.</p> <p>I went out on a date once with a dude in whom I was interested, but the date quickly went downhill after dinner. On our way to a local bookstore to sit on the terrace with dessert and a few magazines, this guy let out a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reclaiming-etiquette-dining-basics-for-young-professionals" target="_blank">huge belch without excusing himself</a>. I brushed it off the first time, but then he did it again &mdash; again without excusing himself. That time I asked him if he was going to excuse himself to which replied that he would not and that he farts, too.</p> <p>Um, not on my time.</p> <p>At that point the date was over for me. Even though he asked me out and paid for the first half of the date, I decided to send him a message when we got to the bookstore by paying for my own dessert and magazines. I wasn&rsquo;t about to accept more of his charity if he planned to be rude and disgusting for the rest of the night.</p> <p>This example is where an exception to the rule of who pays applies. If you&rsquo;re not feeling the date, you have a responsibility to let that person know &mdash; and there&rsquo;s no better way to do that than by declining their offer to pay, or, on the other hand, requesting to split the bill if you&rsquo;re the one expected to pay.</p> <p>What I mean by the latter is if you&rsquo;re not hitting it off with the person with whom you&rsquo;re on a date for whatever reason, I don&rsquo;t think you should have to pay their portion. You likely won&rsquo;t see them after this, so there should be no embarrassment in asking them to go halfsies. At the very least, you won&rsquo;t have to worry about them calling you ever again.</p> <h2>A First Date Shouldn't Bust Anybody's Budget</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s worth noting that while first dates should be special, you should be wary of people who take advantage of the situation.</p> <p>Some people just want a free meal, and if you feel like you&rsquo;re getting the shaft it&rsquo;s totally OK to flip the script and make them pay up. The first indication of this little game is when he or she orders the most expensive item on the menu and premium cocktails. Conversely, if you&rsquo;ve been asked on the date, don&rsquo;t be that guy or girl. Order something sensible and reasonably priced so your date doesn&rsquo;t get the impression that you&rsquo;re attracted only to his or her wallet.</p> <p>Most importantly, be smart in planning the first date if you&rsquo;re the one paying. You shouldn&rsquo;t <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out" target="_blank">make reservations at the fanciest place in town</a> if that&rsquo;s not in your budget. While it&rsquo;s tacky for the date to order the most expensive items on the menu, it&rsquo;s something for which you should be prepared; if you can&rsquo;t afford it, you shouldn&rsquo;t be eating there. Same goes for activities &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-cheap-dates">choose fun, budget-friendly activities in which to participate</a> so you can somewhat gauge how much this date will cost.</p> <p>The underlying perk in this strategy is that by setting a standard of budget dating in the beginning, your date won&rsquo;t get the wrong impression. He or she will expect low-cost outings from the get-go, which will make those more extravagant dates unexpected and appreciated down the road.</p> <p><em>Now it&rsquo;s your turn to weigh in. What do you think about my take on first dates? Do you agree or disagree? Do you have a bad-date story to share? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-should-pay-for-the-first-date" class="sharethis-link" title="Who Should Pay for the First Date?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Lifestyle dating etiquette dining out first dates Wed, 10 Apr 2013 10:24:31 +0000 Mikey Rox 971561 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Alternatives to Dining Out http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-alternatives-to-dining-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-alternatives-to-dining-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2358279597_352ce8bf76_z-1.jpg" alt="Alternatives to Dining Out" title="Alternatives to Dining Out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on alternatives to dining out, tech tools to spring clean your life, and improving your credit score.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.mydollarplan.com/frugal-foodie-6-alternatives-to-dining-out/">Frugal Foodie: 6 Alternatives to Dining Out</a> &mdash; Instead of dining out, consider going to a free tasting. [My Dollar Plan]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Organizing-Websites-Apps-16416596">6 Tech Tools To Spring Clean Your Life And Save Money</a> &mdash; Spring clean your life by using the Evernote app to declutter your notes and to-do list. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://thirtysixmonths.com/how-to-improve-your-credit-score/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Thirtysixmonthscom+%28thirtysixmonths.com%2Fblog%29">How to Improve Your credit score.</a> &mdash; Improve your credit score by not opening multiple lines of credit. [Thirty Six Months]</p> <p><a href="http://www.paidtwice.com/2012/04/29/turning-your-medical-costs-into-a-tax-deduction/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IvePaidForThisTwiceAlready+%28I%27ve+Paid+For+This+Twice+Already...%29">Turning Your Medical Costs Into A Tax Deduction</a> &mdash; Did you know that if your medical expenses exceed 7.5% of your gross income, you can write them off as a tax deduction? [I've Paid For This Twice Already]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/04/30/12-universal-skills-you-need-to-succeed/">12 Universal Skills You Need to Succeed at Anything</a> &mdash; If you have basic accounting and money management skills, you can succeed at anything! [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/2012/05/how-to-earn-extra-money-participating-in-online-juries?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ThePennyHoarder+%28The+Penny+Hoarder%29">How to Earn Extra Money Participating in Online Juries</a> &mdash; To earn extra money participating in online juries, check out eJury or Trial Juries. [The Penny Hoarder]</p> <p><a href="http://learnfinancialeducation.com/what-to-do-when-you-are-laid-off-in-your-job/">What to Do when You are Laid Off in Your Job</a> &mdash; If you get laid off from your job, make sure you identify your profitable skills and start looking for a new job. [Financial Management Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.soundmoneymatters.com/deals-on-baby-stuff/">How to Find Deals on Baby Stuff</a> &mdash; Find deals on baby stuff by registering at Amazon. [Sound Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2012/04/30/less-stress-2/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ThePositivityblog-PutSomePersonalDevelopmentAndPositivityIntoYourLife+%28The+PositivityBlog+-+Put+some+personal+development+and+positivity+into+your+life%29">10 Small Habits of Less Stressed People</a> &mdash; To be less stressed, keep everything in its place. [The Positivigy Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/2012-summer-family-movie-preview">2012 Summer Family Movie Preview</a> &mdash; Consider taking your kids to the movies this summer to see Madagascar 3 or Ice Age 4. [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news/2012/04/wise-bread-tweetchat-wbchat-3">Wise Bread Tweetchat (#WBChat)</a> &mdash; Don't miss our weekly #WBChat at 12pm PST! We will be giving away prizes!</p> <p>Be sure to check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-alternatives-to-dining-out" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Alternatives to Dining Out" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink best money tips dining out Food Thu, 03 May 2012 10:00:14 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 927461 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-lunch_16017893_0_0.jpg" alt="credit card lunch" title="credit card lunch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At first glance, dining out would seem be the opposite of frugality, as it is easy to spend enough in one meal at a restaurant as you could buying a week&rsquo;s worth of groceries. Yet frugal people like me have been able to turn this equation on its head by using every trick in the book. On a recent night out, I made my reservation with Open Table just before departing in order to receive points worth future dining credits. When I arrived, I presented a coupon from <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-5674459">Restaurant.com</a> that took $25 off my $35 bill. Finally, I paid for our meal with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which earns double points at restaurants. On other occasions I have use coupons from the <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-11600473">Entertainment Book</a> and participated in many of the dining miles programs offered by the airlines. By dining out frugally, I cannot claim to be saving money over the price of home-cooked meals, but I can come pretty close to the price I would have paid for just the <em>ingredients</em> I would have used to prepare a similar meal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso">Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <p>Another time I always have to dine out is when traveling. Those who travel for pleasure will visit restaurants for convenience, or if only to enjoy the local cuisine.</p> <h2>Restaurant Rewards Credit Cards</h2> <p>No matter what your situation, anyone can save money by using the ideal credit card to maximize the rewards they receive from their dining expenses. Just as with any reward credit card, cardholders must always pay their balances in full and on time in order to assure that interest payments do not overwhelm any rewards received.</p> <h2>Best Credit Cards for Dining Out at Restaurants</h2> <p>These are my picks for the top credit cards to use when dining out.</p> <h3>1. Barclaycard Arrival&trade; World MasterCard&reg;</h3> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/redir/9188059" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'cardimage', 'barclayarrivalmc']);"><img width="154" height="98" alt="credit card" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/217190/587056.jpg" /></a>This Barclaycard starts with a great bonus of 20,000 miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days &mdash; that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit &mdash; and then piles on the rewards with 2x miles on travel and dining and 1x on all other purchases. Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits. Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing. On top of that, it comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months. After that, it's a variable APR of 14.99% or 18.99%, based on your creditworthiness. You also get complimentary FICO&reg; Scores as a benefit to active card members. <strong>There is no annual fee.</strong></p> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/redir/9188059" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'applytext', 'barclayarrivalmc']);"><strong>Click here to apply for the Barclaycard Arrival&trade; World MasterCard&reg;</strong></a></p> <h3>2. Discover it&reg; chrome</h3> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22994130&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=601862"><img width="154" height="98" alt="credit card" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/220220/601862.png" /></a></p> <p>The newest addition to Discover's family, the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22994130&amp;fot=1033&amp;foc=1">Discover it&reg; chrome</a> card offers a straightforward 2% cash back on all gas and restaurant purchases (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, no sign-ups needed), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You also get the benefit of getting 5-20% cash back if you shop through their online portal which feature over 200 online retailers. Another outstanding feature of this card is the 0% promotional financing on both new purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. Plus, you get a free FICO&reg; Credit Score online and on your monthly statement, and this card looks out for you: each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by email, phone, or text &mdash; and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases. There are no foreign transaction fees, so take this card with you for dining aboard. <strong>There is no annual fee.</strong></p> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22994130&amp;fot=1033&amp;foc=1"><strong>Click here to apply for the Discover it&reg; chrome Card</strong></a></p> <h3>3. Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg;</h3> <p><img width="147" height="98" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/wisebread/banners/chasecard.jpg" alt="" />Chase offers several different cards that earn points in its Ultimate Rewards program, but their Sapphire cards earn double points for charges at restaurants. Those with the standard card can redeem points for gift cards or cash back at a rate of one cent in value per point. While there is no annual fee for the standard Sapphire card, I carry the Sapphire Preferred for several reasons. Despite its $95 annual fee (waived the first year), Preferred card holders receive a 7% bonus on their points each year, making each meal worth 2.14 points. Additionally, Preferred cardholders receive double points all travel expenses, and triple points when travel is booked through Chase&rsquo;s web site. Finally, the Preferred card has no foreign transaction fees and cardmembers have the option to redeem points for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">miles with some airlines</a> or points with hotel chains.</p> <h3>4. Citi ThankYou&reg; Preferred Card</h3> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22902982&amp;fot=1033&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=599091"><img width="154" height="98" alt="credit card" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/219976/599091.gif" /></a></p> <p>The <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22902982&amp;fot=1033&amp;foc=1">Citi ThankYou&reg; Preferred Card</a> offers <em>unlimited </em>double points on purchases spent on dining and entertainment, and one point spent on other purchases. As a bonus offer right now, you can get 20,000 points after spending $1,500 within the first 3 months -- this is redeemable for $200 in gift cards. They're also offering 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. Citi also offers special benefits like Price Rewind. Citi will search hundreds of retailers' sites for 30 days from the date of purchase to help find a lower price. If one is found that's lower by at least $25, you automatically get the price difference back. <strong>There is no annual fee.</strong></p> <p><strong><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22902982&amp;fot=1033&amp;foc=1">Click here to apply for the Citi ThankYou&reg; Preferred Card</a></strong></p> <h3>5. Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card</h3> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards?ref=918805"><img width="154" height="98" alt="credit card" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/161204/591667.gif" /></a></p> <p>The <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards?ref=918805">Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card</a> offers 2x miles on every purchase, unlimited! They're also offering a great bonus offer right now: get 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months (equal to $400 in travel). Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime -- no blackout dates or seat restrictions. Also, if you're traveling aboard, it's the perfect card to bring with you, since it has no foreign transaction fees. <strong>Annual fee:&nbsp;$59, waived for the first year.</strong></p> <p><strong><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards?ref=918805">Click here to apply for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card</a></strong></p> <p>Without a doubt, most consumers will save money when they <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-yourself-to-cook" title="Teach Yourself to Cook">prepare their meals at home</a>. Nevertheless, I find a frugal night out to be a needed respite from our family&rsquo;s normal routine of cooking and cleaning. By using all available coupons and discounts, and by choosing the best credit card to pay for your dining expenses, you can have affordable meals that ultimately lead to valuable rewards.</p> <!--?php _wisebread_print_box(7); ?--><!--?php _wisebread_print_box(7); ?--><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Credit Cards Food and Drink affordable restaurant dining credit card rewards dining out Fri, 13 Apr 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Jason Steele 918805 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Do You Save Money When Dining Out? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-when-dining-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-when-dining-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4663784616_266facf09f_z-1.jpg" alt="How Do You Save Money When Dining Out?" title="How Do You Save Money When Dining Out?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-when-dining-out#comment-531415"><em>Holly</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-when-dining-out#comment-531431"><em>David</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-when-dining-out#comment-531463"><em>Merlene Ence</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>If you are like most people, chances are you find yourself dining out with family or friends at least a couple times each month. While it's fun to head to a restaurant to catch up with loved ones, somtimes dining out can be a bit costly. Luckily, there are ways to save when you grab a bite to eat with family or friends!</p> <p><b>How do you save money when dining out?</b><span style="font-weight:normal">&nbsp;Do you share a meal with someone? Only go to Happy Hours? Drink water?</span></p> <p>Tell us how you save money when dining out and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, April 16th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 16th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-when-dining-out" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: How Do You Save Money When Dining Out?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how you save money when dining out and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Ask the Readers dining out restaurants Tue, 10 Apr 2012 10:36:07 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 916318 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Things to Never Pay Full Price For http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-never-pay-full-price-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-things-to-never-pay-full-price-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/212397615_fb3f1d8c0c_z_0.jpg" alt="woman shopping" title="woman shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What&rsquo;s so great about this frugal renaissance that we&rsquo;re experiencing is that there are more ways to save on everyday purchases than ever before.</p> <p>In fact, there&rsquo;s money waiting to be saved on almost every purchase we make. Some are no brainers, but I bet there are ways to keep more of your cash that you never knew about.</p> <p>To help you preserve what&rsquo;s in your pocket, here are 25 broad categories of items (I&rsquo;m covering much more ground this way than being super specific) for which you should never pay full price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <h3>1. Magazines</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re buying the latest gossip rag in the checkout line &mdash; either sporadically or on a regular basis &mdash; you need to reevaluate your priorities. These magazines sell at the cover price, which can be anywhere from $2.99 to $9.99 per issue. You don&rsquo;t have to give magazines up all together, but if you like reading a particular title, consider a subscription. You can save up to 93% off the cover price &mdash; I know the savings can be that high because I just renewed a subscription for 93% off &mdash; if you shop around. When my Entertainment Weekly subscription expired earlier this year, I declined to renew it for the deal they offered, which would have cost me over $120 for two years. However, while reading an EW app on my iPad recently, I saw an ad for a two-year subscription (that comes with a digital issue) for $34.</p> <h3>2. Books</h3> <p>If the bankruptcy of Borders has taught us one thing, it&rsquo;s that people don&rsquo;t like to pay full price for books. And who can blame them? Generally I only read a book once, so why pay the premium price? I almost exclusively buy my books on <a href="http://www.amazon.com/">Amazon</a> &mdash; the lowest-priced used copies, too (who cares what it looks like) &mdash; and then resell them when I&rsquo;m done. It&rsquo;s almost like getting books for absolutely nothing.</p> <h3>3. Video Games</h3> <p>I don&rsquo;t need to have the latest and greatest title, so when I&rsquo;m looking for a new video game to play, I head straight to the discount or clearance section of the electronics department. However, if you do like to have newer games, Amazon is a great way to cut the costs at least a little bit.</p> <h3>4. Clothing</h3> <p>My favorite store, J. Crew, tends to be a bit pricey, so it&rsquo;s very rare for me to buy anything at retail. Instead, I shop in the clearance section and dig for the best deals. Other ways to cut costs on clothing include shopping at wholesale clubs, using coupons, signing up for your favorite brand&rsquo;s e-mail deals, shopping discount sites (<a href="https://www.jackthreads.com/">JackThreads</a> and <a href="http://www.shopittome.com/">Shop It To Me</a> are my favorites), and giving thrift stores your undivided attention.</p> <h3>5. Groceries</h3> <p>Like I said, this list will include a few no brainers &mdash; and this is one of them. From coupons (but be careful that you&rsquo;re not buying more than you need &mdash; buy two, get one free isn&rsquo;t a deal if you only need one!) to the store&rsquo;s &ldquo;club card,&rdquo; instant savings abound. But there are hidden deals that are waiting for you, too. Items that are about to expire may be heavily discounted along with damaged items. I buy canned goods and opened cereal boxes (don&rsquo;t worry; the bag inside is still sealed) for well below original prices. Most grocery stores almost always have a clearance section, too, so be sure to find out where that is.</p> <h3>6. Dining Out</h3> <p>My husband and I enjoy eating out, but we never<em> ever</em> pay full price for a meal. We research happy hours to find drink and appetizer deals (often half off &mdash; and enough to fill us up), purchase <a href="http://www.restaurant.com/">Restaurant.com</a> certificates at 80% off, check-in on Foursquare or Scoutmob, or redeem coupons we&rsquo;ve received in the mail or online. There are a million-and-one deals at restaurants near you. Why wouldn&rsquo;t you patronize the ones that will save you money?</p> <h3>7. Condoms</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m always baffled that there&rsquo;s still a marketplace for condoms. I see them all kinds of places for free. They&rsquo;re available at bars, doctors&rsquo; offices, clinics, street fairs and festivals, and more. I have a huge fish bowl full of condoms in my living room, and I pick up extras whenever I see them. Also, if you have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-free-medical-supplies-with-flex-spending">flex spending plan</a>, you might qualify to get free condoms from your local drug store.</p> <h3>8. Tickets</h3> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re going to the theater, a concert, or a sporting event, there are tickets available for less than they&rsquo;re sold at the box office. The first place I look is Craigslist because the sellers are local and I can often pick them up same day; I&rsquo;ve scored low-priced tickets just minutes before a baseball game because at that point the seller just wanted to unload them. If you have more time to spare, <a href="http://www.stubhub.com/">StubHub</a> should be your go-to source for discounted tickets on any event in your area.</p> <h3>9. Gift Cards</h3> <p>Retail stores never offer discounts on gift cards because cash is king &mdash; and they don&rsquo;t want to lose real dollars. But where there&rsquo;s a will, there&rsquo;s a way. There are many sites on the web &mdash; like <a href="https://www.plasticjungle.com/">Plastic Jungle</a> and <a href="http://www.giftcardgranny.com/">Gift Card Granny</a> &mdash; that offer gift cards to popular retailers at up to 50% below face value. Another site, <a href="https://www.youneverlose.com/">You Never Lose</a>, is sort of the same concept except buyers get to bid on the gift cards, which can result in savings up to 95% off.</p> <h3>10. Lodging</h3> <p>Staying at a hotel for full price is a fool&rsquo;s game. With sites likes Priceline, Orbitz, and Hotels.com, there are many opportunities to pay less for your lodging. If you want to save even more money on accommodations, however, consider staying with a local when you travel via <a href="http://www.airbnb.com/">Airbnb</a> or <a href="http://www.homeaway.com/">HomeAway</a>. I can tell you from personal experience that using these alternative options will not only save you hundreds of dollars, but you often get better amenities and service than you do at hotels. Plus, you might make a new friend in the host &mdash; nothing wrong with that.</p> <h3>11. Outdoor Activities</h3> <p>My husband and I love to go on new adventures, but we never identify opportunities and seek them out. Rather, we wait for them to come to us via <a href="http://www.groupon.com/">Groupon</a> or <a href="http://www.livingsocial.com/">LivingSocial</a>. Thanks to these daily deal sites we&rsquo;ve enjoyed horseback riding, camping, paintball, river tubing, white water rafting, and much more way below what it would have cost us if we had booked our trips privately.</p> <h3>12. Vacation Packages</h3> <p>There&rsquo;s one piece of advice that I hope you&rsquo;ll heed when planning a vacation &mdash; do not book through a travel agent (sorry, travel agents); you can do much better on your own. By using a combination of sites &mdash; Priceline for airfare, Airbnb for lodging, Groupon for activities &mdash; you&rsquo;ll save more money than if let someone else do the work for you. Remember to still compare prices, though. Just because these are discount sites doesn&rsquo;t mean they have the <em>best</em> discounts. The only way you&rsquo;ll know for sure is if you compare across the board.</p> <h3>13. Car Rentals</h3> <p>When I took my husband to Chicago for his birthday last year, I got gouged on a car rental. Not only did I not book in advance, but when I arrived there were no cars left. When I finally secured a reservation, I paid three times as much as I should have (and gave the Enterprise guy the stink eye). My advice is to book online and use a discount code that you find through an Internet search. If you can&rsquo;t find a code online, the Entertainment Book is always full of car rental coupons. You can even get the <a href="http://new-york.entertainment.com/discount/home.shtml">Entertainment Book</a> at a discount if you buy after the first of the year. Aside from car rental coupons, there are hundreds of dollars worth in other deals inside. It will more than pay for itself if you use it regularly.</p> <h3>14. Appliances</h3> <p>How many ways can you save on appliances? At least eight, according to Darwin's Money's post <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-big-on-appliances">8 Ways to Save Big on Appliances</a>. Methods include scratch-and-dent discounts, holiday weekend sales, and good ol&rsquo; fashioned haggling. Of course, it&rsquo;s always nice to have a friend who works at Sears, too. Nothing beats an employee discount.&nbsp;</p> <h3>15. Flowers</h3> <p>If you have the means to grow flowers but you still buy them, there&rsquo;s probably no hope for you. Seriously, all it takes is planting a couple seeds; most likely, nature will do the rest. If you don&rsquo;t have the means to grow your own, consider picking them in a nearby park or field. If you must go to the store to find an arrangement, shop local, at the source, and stick to one type of inexpensive flower. Also, dead people don&rsquo;t care what kind of flowers you buy, just so you know.</p> <h3>16. Around-the-House Services</h3> <p>Hold off on calling that expensive gardener or handyman, because you may be able to find someone inexpensive on Craigslist or a site like <a href="http://www.taskrabbit.com/">TaskRabbit</a>. These sites are full of listings from people who are ready, willing, and capable of handling your odd job for much less than it would cost a &ldquo;professional.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s not to say that the people listing help ads aren&rsquo;t professional, though; it may just be that they&rsquo;re out of work and looking for any way to make a few bucks. Still, be safe and ask for references. You don&rsquo;t want to hire a dud and end up paying double.</p> <h3>17. In-Theater Movies</h3> <p>Movies are expensive these days, so much so that a trip to the cinema is almost prohibitive. To reduce the costs of a ticket, sign up for the theater club card (which will help you accrue discounts), use your student, senior, or military IDs if you have them, and plan to attend matinees instead of evening shows. I try my best to stick to AMC Theaters before noon so I can score $6 tickets. That&rsquo;s half the price of what an afternoon or evening movie costs.&nbsp;</p> <h3>18. DVD Rentals</h3> <p>How Blockbuster is still in business at all baffles me. The company filed for bankruptcy two years ago, and last year the geniuses at Dish Network decided to throw money at the sinking ship. Still, business continues to suffer because truly innovative entrepreneurs figured out a way to allow people to rent DVDs for less. I love DVD rental kiosks (especially Redbox and excluding Blockbuster Express) because not only are the DVDs affordable ($1.29 at Redbox opposed to $2.99 at Blockbuster!), but there are often discount codes available that will lessen the fee or make a one-night rental absolutely free. You can find available codes online. Then all you have to do is enter it at checkout.&nbsp;</p> <h3>19. Music</h3> <p>Want to know where to get lots of the music you love for free all the time? Turn on the radio!</p> <h3>20. Airfare</h3> <p>Of course you can use discount travel sites, but don&rsquo;t forget to compare those prices with the airline&rsquo;s official website. Sometimes there are special deals that are available exclusively from the source instead of a third party. Also remember that some airlines, like Southwest (my favorite), don&rsquo;t participate in discount travel sites, so if you&rsquo;re sticking strictly to Orbitz or the like, you&rsquo;ll never even know what some other airlines have to offer. In addition, here&rsquo;s verified info on <a href="http://www.farecompare.com/travel-advice/tips-from-air-travel-insiders/">the cheapest day to buy tickets and the cheapest days to fly.</a></p> <h3>21. Cars</h3> <p>What are the three best times to buy a car? End of the calendar year, end of the model year, and end of the month. The first two are self-explanatory &mdash; dealers want to unload inventory to make room for the new stuff. The third, however, has to do with individual salespeople. At the end of the month, car salespeople are eager to meet their quotas so they can earn incentives and commissions. Get a salesperson who&rsquo;s hungry, and you could drive away with a big bargain.</p> <h3>22. Water</h3> <p>Clean, cold water comes out of every faucet in America. Why are we still buying it in bottles?!</p> <h3>23. A Tan</h3> <p>Another abundant, natural, and no-cost resource is our sun. Instead of paying for a membership to the tanning salon, lay out on the lawn for 20 minutes. Not that I recommend long-term exposure to UV rays &mdash; they&rsquo;re dangerous! But if you must, at least get them for free.&nbsp;</p> <h3>24. Cell Phones</h3> <p>You can list your phone on Craigslist or eBay to sell them &mdash; which works &mdash; but you may not be able to unload them for as much or as quickly as you want. Instead, try <a href="http://exchangemyphone.com/">ExchangeMyPhone</a>, a site that lets you sell your smartphones and iPads instantly. ExchangeMyPhone pays people for their old, new, or broken cell phones, and repairs or recycles them ethically. The money you make from the sale will offset the cost of a new device, too. Great for the environment and your wallet!</p> <h3>25. Baby Food</h3> <p>Once babies are on solid food, they eat much of the same stuff we do &mdash; fruits, veggies, proteins, etc. Why are you buying individual jars of baby food when all you have to do is puree foods in a blender or processor? This method cost significantly less, produces less waste (no jars!), and it&rsquo;s much healthier for your baby than that mush that sits unrefrigerated under nutrient-stealing florescent lighting on the supermarket shelves. We can all agree that that&rsquo;s not the best thing to feed your pride and joy, can&rsquo;t we?&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-never-pay-full-price-for" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Things to Never Pay Full Price For" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment Shopping Travel bargain books coupon codes dining out discounts Wed, 28 Mar 2012 10:36:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 913194 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Frugal Dining Out Tips http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-frugal-dining-out-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-frugal-dining-out-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5052818990_3e82fd3aca_z-1.jpg" alt="Frugal Dining Out Tips" title="Frugal Dining Out Tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on frugal dining out tips, free things to do this summer, and financial advisor red flags.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.passivefamilyincome.com/frugal-dining-out-tips-crystal">Frugal Dining Out Tips</a> &mdash; When dining out, save money by drinking more water. [Passive Family Income]</p> <p><a href="http://ptmoney.com/free-things-to-do-in-the-summer/">30 Free Things to Do in the Summer</a> &mdash; This summer, write a book or have a garage sale. [PT Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thewisdomjournal.com/Blog/15-financial-advisor-red-flags/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheWisdomJournal+%28The+Wisdom+Journal%29">15 Financial Advisor Red Flags</a> &mdash; When looking for a financial advisor, if you come across one that doesn't have any credentials, that is a huge red flag. [The Wisdom Journal]</p> <p><a href="http://sweatingthebigstuff.com/top-10-reasons-to-shop-online-vs-shopping-in-store/">Top 10 Reasons to Shop Online vs. Shopping In-Store</a> &mdash; By shopping online instead of in-store, you can always find the best deals. [Sweating The Big Stuff]</p> <p><a href="http://www.littlepeoplewealth.com/2011/06/8-things-you-can-live-without/">8 Things You CAN Live Without</a> &mdash; Save some money and cancel your landline and cable TV service. You can live without them! [Little People Wealth]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/beyond-the-fireworks-fourth-of-july-history-for-kids">Beyond The Fireworks: Fourth Of July History For The Kids</a> &mdash; This Fourth of July, read to your kids about the history of America's fight for independence. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://20somethingfinance.com/part-time-jobs-with-health-insurance-benefits/">5 Part-Time Jobs with Health Insurance Benefits</a> &mdash; If you are looking for a part time job with health insurance benefits, consider applying at Starbucks. [20 Something Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneymanagement.org/Community/Blogs/Blogging-for-Change/2011/June/Seven-ways-to-save-on-sleepaway-camp-supplies.aspx">Seven ways to save on sleepaway camp supplies</a> &mdash; Are you sending your kids to summer camp? Be sure to save on camp supplies by shopping at second-hand stores. [Blogging For Change]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyfunk.net/family-relationships/adult-children-living-home-parents/">Adult Children Living at Home - 5 Reasons to Live with your Parents Longer</a> &mdash; Consider living with your parents longer so you can focus on your career or education. [Money Funk]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savingadvice.com/articles/2011/06/23/107375_write-ebooks-strange-ways-to-make-money.html">Write eBooks: Strange Ways to Make Money</a> &mdash; Want to make money writing eBooks? Then make sure you write about something people want to read. [SavingsAdvice.com]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-frugal-dining-out-tips" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Frugal Dining Out Tips" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink best money tips dining out frugal Fri, 24 Jun 2011 10:00:56 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 593756 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Secrets Restaurants Don't Want You to Know http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/227409095_101c73ccf3_z.jpg" alt="restaurant table" title="restaurant table" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans love eating out, and they do it often too. It's not unheard of for someone to eat out more than 10 times every week. Yet this is one area where practice doesn't always make perfect. Below are six secrets that even the typical &quot;eat-out junkie&quot; probably doesn't know. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/restaurant-recipes-at-home-cooked-prices">Restaurant Recipes at Home-Cooked Prices</a>)</p> <h3>Specials are what we want you to order.</h3> <p>It's well known that whatever is on the &quot;recommended&quot; list boosts popularity by another 30%. If the waiters/waitresses push for them, the number goes even higher. Sometimes we want you to order them because that's the tastiest dish, so you will leave a bigger tip. Other times, we push certain dishes because the ingredients are about to expire or the profit margins are the highest. We might try different combinations to up-sell you more food so you will end up paying more, too.</p> <h3>We prepare your food ahead of time.</h3> <p>We want you to come in and get out so the next customer can sit down. In order to do that, we have to prepare as much as possible in advance. Sometimes it includes preparing salads and putting everything in the fridge. Other times it means cooking your food for half the time in the morning so we can finish the rest when you order it at night. If you can't tell, we won't tell.</p> <h3>Some days are just better than others.</h3> <p>Not many fishermen would go out on Sundays, so forget fresh seafood on Mondays. Then there's the head chef, dictating everything around the kitchen...until he's off one day, of course. Eat at the restaurant on that particular day of the week, and you have the best chance of trying out how great our microwave is.</p> <h3>We could be serving a special if you order steak medium well or well done.</h3> <p>A secret to getting rid of steak gone bad is to serve it to customers who order their meat fully cooked. Since the flavor is just about all gone by the time the steak is well done, no one will know the steak was bad in the first place.</p> <h3>You must be nuts to eat those free nuts.</h3> <p>We offer free refills on these, and when you leave, we just fill the bowl up and serve it to the next customer without washing the bowl. Since we can't control who washes their hands after a bathroom visit, you are on your own if you love the free food we give you.</p> <h3>Different customers will pay different prices.</h3> <p>You know that guy over there? He paid less than half you did because he used a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-50-or-more-on-local-stuff-with-groupon-and-others">Restaurant.com coupon</a>. You will never know, though, and we'll be happy to charge you full price every time you come in, even if you are one of our loyal customers.</p> <p>If you read all of the above and still become a regular at our restaurant, I know you probably have no other choice but to come, in which case I will probably raise the prices on the menu, too.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-living/food-and-drink">Food and Drink articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink dining out eating out entertainment restaurants Tue, 05 Oct 2010 14:01:12 +0000 David Ning 254557 at http://www.wisebread.com