restaurants http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/709/all en-US 5 Modern Ways to Split the Bill http://www.wisebread.com/5-modern-ways-to-split-the-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-modern-ways-to-split-the-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_splitting_bill_000079748405.jpg" alt="Couple finding modern ways to split the bill" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How many strained friendships can be traced back to someone not paying their share of a dinner bill (or several)? If you're getting worn down by &quot;separate checks&quot; anxiety, check out these five modern ways you can split the bill with friends.</p> <h2>1. Tab</h2> <p>One of the simpler apps on the list, <a href="http://tabapp.co/">Tab</a> snaps a photo of the check and lets you assign split totals from there. Pass the phone around and let each person tap their own expenses under their name. Then, Tab calculates a new total for each diner that includes their share of tax and tip. This is a really fast and easy solution for large groups, and especially helpful when that certain friend who always underpays is in attendance.</p> <h2>2. Plates by Splitwise</h2> <p>Want an app that will work for nearly anything? <a href="https://www.splitwise.com/">Splitwise</a> is free on both iOS and Android and allows friends, roommates, or family members to split all kinds of expenses &mdash; from utilities, to groceries, to repairs. Plates by Splitwise is made especially to help split restaurant checks. Splitwise even keeps track of who's picked up the check and who owes what over time, and will send friendly email reminders to settle up on past debts.</p> <h2>3. Divvy</h2> <p>Divvy is similar to Tab in how it works. <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/divvy/id560503890?mt=8">Divvy</a> is an iOS app that scans your check using OCR (optical character recognition) to &quot;read&quot; the line items. You then assign each line item to a member of your party. In addition, the app lets you group members into sub-parties who want to pay together. It also calculates the tax and tip, so everyone knows how much they owe. This is a great choice for extra large parties that need to be sectioned off into smaller paying groups.</p> <h2>4. Billr</h2> <p>Sharing similar functionality to other apps like Divvy or Tab, <a href="http://billr.me/">Billr</a> for iOS calculates how much each person in your party owes from the meal &mdash; entrees, drinks, everything &mdash; along with tax and tip. The best part of Billr is that at the end, it sends a carbon copy of the split bill to each person in the group via email or text message.</p> <h2>5. Venmo</h2> <p>Quite possibly the most popular of the crop for everyday use, <a href="https://venmo.com/">Venmo</a> (now owned by PayPal) is an easy-to-use money exchanging app to pay friends back for goods and services. The app is connected to your bank account. While you cannot add funds to Venmo, when someone pays you back for a good or service you have the choice to let it sit in your Venmo wallet, or transfer it to your bank, similar to PayPal. Also: It's almost as fun as chatting on WhatsApp. You can use emojis to tag what the transaction was for, like a pizza for a night in with pals and delivery.</p> <p><em>How do you equitably split the bill with friends?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-modern-ways-to-split-the-bill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-eating-out-cheaply">Tips For Eating Out Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-lucrative-restaurant-franchises">The 5 Most Lucrative Restaurant Franchises</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-pay-your-bills-on-time">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Can&#039;t Pay Your Bills On Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance apps bills dining restaurants social media Mon, 04 Jan 2016 16:00:04 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1630351 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Most Lucrative Restaurant Franchises http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-lucrative-restaurant-franchises <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-most-lucrative-restaurant-franchises" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chipotle_restaurant_000017676444.jpg" alt="Chipotle is one of the most lucrative restaurant chains" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>McDonald's tops the list as the nation's number one fast food chain in terms of volume, followed by Subway, Burger King, and Wendy's. But as consumers continue to reach for healthier alternatives, there's a new type of restaurant joining the spotlight. They are called fast-casual dining restaurants, and their rapid growth and seemingly overnight popularity have would-be investors wondering how they can get in on the action.</p> <p>Below, we've listed some of the nation's fastest-growing (and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-deliciously-profitable-food-and-beverage-stocks">most profitable</a>) fast-casual chains. Consider these five lucrative franchise and investment options.</p> <h2>1. Chipotle [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CMG">CMG</a>]</h2> <h3>$4.11 Billion Total Revenue</h3> <p>Unfortunately, the lucrative Mexican grill does not franchise. All of its 1200 stores are company owned. But, you can still invest by loading up on shares of the company's stock, currently trading on the NYSE at roughly $730 per share.</p> <h2>2. Panera [NASDAQ: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=PNRA">PNRA</a>]</h2> <h3>$2.53 Billion Total Revenue</h3> <p>Panera Bread Co., formerly Au Bon Pain Co., has a regional franchise model that requires investors to open at least 15 stores in a designated territory over a six-year period. Interested investors must also demonstrate a track record of success operating multi-unit restaurants. The company lists its <a href="https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/company/franchise-overview.html">franchise criteria</a> online:</p> <ul> <li>Average unit volume: $2.1 million</li> <li>Franchise costs and fees: $942,000&ndash;$1.6 million</li> <li>Initial investment: $35,000</li> </ul> <h2>3. Buffalo Wild Wings [NASDAQ: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=BWLD">BWLD</a>]</h2> <h3>$1.52 Billion Total Revenue</h3> <p>To open your very own Buffalo Wild Wings, all you need is to meet the capital requirements and an area development commitment of at least two stores. International franchise opportunities are also available for the Mexico, Middle East, and Philippines. The company offers more insight about its <a href="https://www.franchisehelp.com/franchises/buffalo-wild-wings/">franchise program</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Average unit volume: $3.28 million</li> <li>Franchise costs and fees: $800,000&ndash;$2.4 million</li> <li>Initial investment: $40,000</li> </ul> <h2>4. Noodles &amp; Company [NASDAQ: <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/ndls">NDLS</a>]</h2> <h3>$403.74 Million Total Revenue</h3> <p>Noodles &amp; Company is seeking franchise operators for regional opportunities available in most parts of the United States, with the exception of some northern regions. With a commitment to opening three to five restaurants in your region over a five-year period, you could be on your way to becoming a fundamental part of the Noodles &amp; Company brand.</p> <ul> <li>Average unit volume: $1 million+</li> <li>Franchise costs and fees: $483,733&ndash;$1.2 million</li> <li>Initial investment: $35,000</li> </ul> <h2>5. El Pollo Loco [NASDAQ: <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/loco">LOCO</a>]</h2> <h3>$344.86 Million Total Revenue</h3> <p>Single unit <a href="https://www.elpolloloco.com/franchising/">franchise opportunities</a> are available throughout the Southwest with particular emphasis on other major cities, including Denver, Colorado and Portland, Oregon.</p> <ul> <li>Average unit volume: $1.8 million</li> <li>Franchise cost and fees: $502,000&ndash;$1.1 million</li> <li>Initial investment: $40,000</li> </ul> <p><em>Have you ever considered signing up to run a restaurant franchise? Which?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-lucrative-restaurant-franchises">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-eat-at-chain-restaurants">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Eat at Chain Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paying-for-a-piece-of-the-pizza-techniques-for-splitting-the-bill">Paying for a Piece of the Pizza: Techniques for Splitting the Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-eating-out-cheaply">Tips For Eating Out Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Food and Drink fast casual Fast Food franchises investing restaurants Fri, 23 Oct 2015 15:20:12 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1593881 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Deliciously Profitable Food and Beverage Stocks http://www.wisebread.com/10-deliciously-profitable-food-and-beverage-stocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-deliciously-profitable-food-and-beverage-stocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/starbucks_coffee_cups_000018322629.jpg" alt="Finding deliciously profitable food stocks to buy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone has to eat. That's why food stocks can often be some of the most <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tesla-six-flags-and-9-other-adventure-stocks-worth-investing-in">consistent performers</a> in the market. From restaurants to coffee chains and brewers, companies in the business of feeding the masses can be hugely profitable enterprises.</p> <p>Here are 10 of the best performing food stocks trading today.</p> <h2>1. Starbucks [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SBUX">SBUX</a>]</h2> <p>Those cups of joe have equaled cauldrons of profits for the Seattle coffee behemoth. Shares are up 52% in the last 12 months, and kudos to anyone who bought in back at the start of 2009, when the company was trading at a mere $4 a share. Starbucks pulled in $2 billion in profits last year on $16.4 billion revenue, making the bean counters very happy.</p> <h2>2. Monster Beverage [NASDAQ: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=MNST">MNST</a>]</h2> <p>There are few stocks of any kind that have grown at the pace of this maker of energy drinks. Shares are up 45% this year, and nearly 500% in the last five years. Investors should love the annual profits of $483 million on revenues of nearly $2.5 billion.</p> <h2>3. Molson Coors Brewing [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=TAP">TAP</a>]</h2> <p>Other brewers get the headlines, but this company has seen steady and strong growth for years. Shares are up about 14% in the last three months, and 24% in the last three years. As people have moved away from low-priced beers to more &quot;premium&quot; brands, Molson Coors has seen increases in sales to its higher end Blue Moon, Leinenkugel's, and Redd's brands.</p> <h2>4. Chipotle Mexican Grill [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CMG">CMG</a>]</h2> <p>Perhaps no restaurant has benefitted more from the push away from fast food toward &quot;fast casual.&quot; Shares of the burrito chain are up 17% in the last three months, and 30% in the last three years. Chipotle pulled in $4 billion in revenue last year, with profits of $445 million.</p> <h2>5. Buffalo Wild Wings [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=BWLD">BWLD</a>]</h2> <p>It's football season, so it's a good time of year for &quot;B-Dubs,&quot; which is growing faster than almost any restaurant chain in America. The company recorded net income of $21 million during the last quarter, on a record $466 million in revenue. That type of profitability has been great for shareholders, who've seen a 24% return over the last three months.</p> <h2>6. Papa John's [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=PZZA">PZZA</a>]</h2> <p>The &quot;Better ingredients, better pizza&quot; motto has also meant better returns for investors, to the tune of a 74% return over the last year and 39% return over three years. Papa John's reported revenue of $1.6 billion with net income of $75 million last year.</p> <h2>7. Domino's Pizza Inc. [NYSE: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=DPZ">DPZ</a>]</h2> <p>Ever since announcing to the world that it was changing its pizza recipe, Domino's has been on a tear. Investors have enjoyed a 49% return over the last 52 weeks. Revenue hit nearly $2 billion last year, with net income of $163 million.</p> <h2>8. Gruma [OTC: <a href="http://www.otcmarkets.com/stock/GMKYY/quote">GMKYY</a>]</h2> <p>If you've ever bought or made a burrito, you've probably come across this company's core products, corn and flour tortillas. Gruma, based in Mexico, is the largest maker and distributor of these items that serve as a staple in many dinners around the world. Investors have seen a 30% return over the last year and a 70% return over the last three.</p> <h2>9. Pepsico [NYSE: <a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=27011">PEP</a>]</h2> <p>I hate to knock Coca-Cola, which has been one of the best performing stocks in the history of America, and a favorite of Warren Buffett. But the fact is that Pepsi investors have made out a lot better recently. Shares are about flat over the last 12 months, but compare that to an 8% decline seen by Coke investors. Growth may be slowed as customers move away from sugary drinks, but this is still a company with more than $66 billion in revenue and $6.5 billion in profits annually.</p> <h2>10. Hormel Foods [NYSE: <a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=17456">HRL</a>]</h2> <p>This producer of meat and other food products has been a consistently solid performer. Shares are up 20% year to date, and 30% over the last three years. The company recorded $2.2 billion in revenue in most recent quarter alone, with net income of $147 million. That's a lot of Spam.</p> <p><em>Is your portfolio well-stocked with food industry stock?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-deliciously-profitable-food-and-beverage-stocks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-to-invest-in-during-the-holidays">10 Stocks to Invest in During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-debate-between-buy-and-hold-vs-timing-the-market">The Debate Between Buy and Hold vs Timing The Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/survive-the-bear-market-10-steps-to-ride-the-downturn">Survive The Bear Market: 10 Steps To Ride The Downturn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youd-held-these-10-stocks-instead-of-sold-youd-be-rich-now">If You&#039;d Held These 10 Stocks Instead of Sold, You&#039;d Be Rich Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sobering-facts-about-the-stock-market">6 Sobering Facts About the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment food industry profitable companies restaurants stock market stocks Wed, 14 Oct 2015 13:00:48 +0000 Tim Lemke 1586136 at http://www.wisebread.com Never Order Fish on Mondays and 7 Other Bad Days to Buy Stuff http://www.wisebread.com/never-order-fish-on-mondays-and-7-other-bad-days-to-buy-stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/never-order-fish-on-mondays-and-7-other-bad-days-to-buy-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reading_outside_000011316429.jpg" alt="Woman learning common calendar shopping pitfalls" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Timing is everything. You can buy a great TV one day, only to see it half-price a few months later. You can sell your stocks one weekend, only to see them double in price over the next few weeks. But while some instances are impossible to foresee, some calendar shopping pitfalls are well known, and should be avoided at all costs. Here are eight instances when you should definitely put your credit card away, and wait for a better time to buy (or sell).</p> <h2>1. Don't Buy Airline Tickets on Weekends</h2> <p>Data collected by online travel agencies, fare trackers, and airline-pricing executives has revealed that the absolute worst time to buy airline tickets is the weekend. &quot;Like bread, fares get sort of stale towards the end of the week,&quot; says Bob Harrell, a fare consultant.</p> <p>In fact, most airlines will increase the prices of fares on Thursday evenings, and will watch to see how it affects competitor pricing. By Monday, big changes are made in the opposite direction, reacting to the price drops and other price matching. Fare analysts don't work on weekends either, which means they cannot react when all the cheap seats are taken. On Monday, they could drop the pricing on more expensive seats, and by Wednesday, you could see the lowest prices of the week. Then, the cycle continues. So, if you are planning a trip, don't think that leaving it to the weekend is a good strategy. You'll pay through the nose.</p> <h2>2. Don't Order Fish on Sunday or Monday</h2> <p>If there's one person to trust on this one, it's acclaimed chef and traveler Anthony Bourdain. He laid it out very clearly in his memoir, written in 2000.</p> <p>&quot;Here's how it works: The chef of this fine restaurant orders his fish on Thursday for delivery Friday morning. He's ordering a pretty good amount of it, too, as he's not getting another delivery until Monday morning. All right, some seafood purveyors make Saturday deliveries, but the market is closed Friday night. It's the same fish from Thursday!&quot;</p> <p>He also goes on to say in an article for <em>The Guardian</em> that he would not <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2000/aug/12/features.weekend1">order fish on Mondays</a> unless it was in a four-star restaurant.</p> <p>&quot;I never order fish on Monday,&quot; Bourdain says, &quot;unless I'm eating at a four-star restaurant where I know they are buying their fish directly from the source. I know how old most seafood is on Monday &mdash; about four to five days old!&quot;</p> <h2>3. Don't Buy a Car on Monday or Tuesday</h2> <p>A recent Time magazine article unveiled the ups and downs of the <a href="http://business.time.com/2012/03/05/why-this-tuesday-is-one-of-the-worst-days-of-the-year-to-buy-a-car/">car-shopping calendar</a>, and it all revolves around incentives, dealership quotas, and what TrueCar senior analyst Kristen Andersson calls &quot;savvy weekend shoppers.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Mondays and Tuesdays are to be avoided, and especially Mondays and Tuesdays early in the month,&quot; writes Time journalist Brad Tuttle. &quot;Why's this? Because dealerships view consumers who come in on Mondays and Tuesdays as 'need-based buyers,' and these particular buyers 'don't negotiate as much as the savvy weekend shoppers who do their homework.'&quot;</p> <p>Andersson also stated that if you are going to buy a car, wait until the end of the month. &quot;The last third of the month is typically when a dealer can tell how the month is going and can incentivize the vehicles.&quot;</p> <h2>4 Don't List eBay Items on Friday Evenings</h2> <p>If you like making a bit of extra money selling items on eBay, <a href="http://www.ebay.com/gds/The-Absolute-Worst-Time-to-List-Something-on-eBay-/10000000002633100/g.html">don't list on a Friday evening</a>. Typically, unless you alter the defaults, your auction will last seven days, and will end precisely seven days from the start of your listing. So, if you find yourself at a loose end one Friday evening, you may think that selling a few items on eBay is a good use of your time. Don't do it.</p> <p>Most people are out and about on Friday evenings, not sat in front of the computer ready to bid on an auction. Even taking into account smartphones and auction snipers, you will still lose a large chunk of your potential bidders. Instead, wait until Saturday morning. You will get much better results. Or, change the listing to three days, a Buy It Now, or perhaps even a 30-day listing.</p> <h2>5. Don't Buy a Home on the Last Day in May</h2> <p>So, with 365 days to choose from (or 366 in a leap year), it seems odd to point out one specific day as the worst day. But, there is <a href="http://homebuying.about.com/od/buyingahome/a/061008_WorstDay.htm">substantial evidence</a> to stay away from that particular day. About.com's Home Buying expert lists a multitude of reasons, including:</p> <ul> <li>Not closing in time. Pending sales peak in April, which means a larger workload for real estate agents, with often triple the amount of listings to deal with.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The Memorial Day weekend playing havoc with customer service.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Higher interest rates from any delay in closing.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>High competition from other buyers, resulting in bidding wars and overpriced offers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>More fees for movers due to the increased volume.</li> </ul> <p>If you want to buy a house, choose a day no one else will be thinking about, like Christmas Day.</p> <h2>6. Don't Buy Salad for Lunch on Mondays</h2> <p>This has nothing to do with price, but waiting times (and as we all know, time is money). It seems that we all have a tendency to overdo things on weekends, or we want to start our weeks on a healthy track, even if we know we'll slip a few days later. So, people rush out to get salads for lunch on Mondays, and that means long lines waiting for your healthy lunch.</p> <p>Bloomberg Businessweek looked at findings from salad chain Chop't, which reported selling around 10% more salads on Mondays than any other day of the week. Another chain, Salad Creations, explained that Monday sales tend to exceed Friday sales by 17% to 22%.</p> <h2>7. Don't Buy Groceries on Weekend Afternoons</h2> <p>As Wise Bread's own Linsey Knerl so rightly points out, weekend afternoons are the absolute worst time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">hit the grocery stores</a>. Aside from the fact that those product demonstrators are out offering free food, you will be hampered by massive lines and crowded aisles.</p> <h2>8. Don't Buy Flowers on Mondays</h2> <p>What has been said about fish is equally true for flowers. Many people think that Monday would be the best day to buy flowers, as it is the start of the week, and that means a big new delivery of fresh roses, tulips, and daffodils, right? Wrong.</p> <p>As Flower Arranging 101 states, &quot;Monday is actually the <a href="https://flowerarranging101.tv/monday-blues/">worst day to get your flowers</a>, even here at the&nbsp;San Francisco flower market.&nbsp;Anything that you would buy on Monday is either left over from the previous week or it arrived over the weekend and has sat without refrigeration waiting for markets to open.&nbsp;Even just a day without being kept in a cool environment will cause flowers to age faster and lose&nbsp;vase life.&quot;</p> <p><em>What days of the week do you avoid shopping?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-order-fish-on-mondays-and-7-other-bad-days-to-buy-stuff">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-retailers-where-you-can-negotiate-a-lower-price">11 Retailers Where You Can Negotiate a Lower Price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-genius-ways-to-save-on-cyber-monday">6 Genius Ways to Save on Cyber Monday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-should-always-buy-at-department-stores">6 Things You Should Always Buy at Department Stores</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Shopping Airfare calendar shopping discounts grocery stores restaurants sales when to buy Thu, 24 Sep 2015 11:00:18 +0000 Paul Michael 1567487 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Times You Should Demand a Discount http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-should-demand-a-discount <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-times-you-should-demand-a-discount" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_salad_000051647464.jpg" alt="Woman learning when to demand a discount" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Growing up, I often remember seeing my parents noticeably upset with the service they received, or the products they had bought. After one particularly poor experience at a restaurant they said, &quot;We just won't eat here again.&quot; But when asked, &quot;How was the meal?&quot; they both smiled and said &quot;Fine, thanks.&quot;</p> <p>Now, maybe this is the classic reserve of the English, or maybe they're too polite for their own good, but that was not the correct way to go about it.</p> <p>When you have a poor experience with anything, you need to speak up, and also ask for compensation of some kind. It's the natural way to keep these places in check, so that bad service or poor quality products are not constantly being presented to the public. Always be polite and treat the people you're dealing with respectfully, but if any of the following eight instances occur... ask for a discount.</p> <h2>1. When You Get Poor Service at a Restaurant</h2> <p>Let's just clarify that the service should be uncharacteristically poor. If you wait a long time to get seated on a Friday evening, or your server is so busy he or she forgets to bring the extra fries you ordered, give the place &mdash; and your server &mdash; a break. This is more about poor service that could easily be avoided.</p> <p>If the food arrives cold, the fish is raw, the meat is very overcooked, or the server is just plain rude, you definitely have a reason to talk to the manager. Explain what has happened, how it impacted your dining experience, and ask for a discount. In most cases, you will get at least a few of the items removed from your bill. In extreme cases, when everything went wrong, you may very well be told not to pay anything. However, if the server was great in spite of all the problems, don't forget to leave him or her a tip.</p> <h2>2. When Your Event Seats Aren't Good</h2> <p>Unless you are warned specifically before you buy them (some will say things like &quot;obscured view&quot; or &quot;partial view of stage&quot; and should already be discounted), there is no reason to pay the same price as other people if your seats are terrible. This happened to me when I went to see Cirque du Soleil. There was no warning that the seats I bought were right behind one of the poles holding up the big top. My wife and I were leaning left and right through the entire performance. After, I spoke to the staff and received a discount, and a free CD of the music from that evening. If you have poor seats, ask to speak to the event manager. Demand a discount, if you can handle the poor seating, or ask to be moved if it is possible.</p> <h2>3. When Anything Is Not Quite as Described</h2> <p>From the food or service, to the product attributes, if you were sold something based on information that was slightly incorrect, you should demand a discount. If the tool set indicates &quot;25 great tools for around the home&quot; and there are actually only 23 inside, that's misleading. This can sometimes happen when manufacturers change the product, but not the packaging. In any case where you have been a little misled, intentionally or not, you are entitled to a discount. You'll get it, too.</p> <h2>4. When the Product Is a Floor Model</h2> <p>Do not let the store clerk fool you with a bunch of tricky talk about this item not being able to be discounted any further. The floor models are used. They may not have been used in someone's home, but they're used nonetheless. In some cases, for much longer than if it was in a home; especially those TVs and computers that are on the shop floor day in, day out.</p> <p>So, find a manager and ask for the price to be reduced beyond what is shown on the sticker. They want to get rid of these items. They'd obviously prefer to sell it to someone who will pay sticker, but they will go lower. And as the item is used, and most likely blemished, you should demand a discount. I do this every time, and it has worked every time.</p> <h2>5. When You Pay Cash</h2> <p>Cash is king. That's as true today as it was fifty years ago, and if you are lucky enough to have the money on hand to pay in cash, be it something small or a new home, you should definitely take advantage of it. &quot;How much of a reduction can I get if I pay cash for this house, right now?&quot; This is something buyers are not expecting, and it is incredibly tempting. Cash is a sure thing. Financing can fall through, interest rates fluctuate, but cash is cash. In stores, merchants pay fees for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-to-use-credit-cards-instead-of-cash">credit card transactions</a>, so you could easily get a cash discount.</p> <p>However, don't expect this discount when buying a car. Dealerships get big incentives for financing offers, and you take that away from them if you offer to pay cash. In fact, you may pay more if you pay cash, so don't do that. You can always pay off the loan a week or two later.</p> <h2>6. When the Item is Broken, Scratched, or Dented</h2> <p>Why would you pay for a broken item at all? Well, it all depends what you want to use it for. If it's a superficial break, say on the case of the product, but the product itself works just fine, ask for a discount. The store is more than happy to oblige. If you notice a huge dent on the fridge that was just delivered, but the dent won't be seen or you just don't care, ask for a discount. If the item is scratched or damaged but it doesn't impair the function, and you are okay with it, ask for your discount. And if the item is completely broken, but you want to repair it yourself, or need it for parts, ask for a big discount.</p> <p>In all cases, you are doing the store a favor, and they will be happy to negotiate a deal. This even goes for sellers on Craigslist or eBay. If the item is not as pristine as described, but you're happy to take it, ask for the discount.</p> <h2>7. When the Seller Is in a Hurry</h2> <p>If you ever encounter a &quot;motivated seller&quot; you know you're about to get a discount. Motivated sellers are those who need to sell, and sell fast, usually because they're about to leave the state. Sometimes, they need money quickly, for reasons you probably don't want to ask about. Whatever the reason, you should take advantage of this. Flea market sellers will offer discounts as they are packing up for the day, and so will people operating garage sales. Smile, ask for a discount, and you'll usually get it.</p> <h2>8. When the Store Is Closing or Going Out of Business</h2> <p>Blockbuster. Circuit City. Sharper Image. They all bit the dust and they all had &quot;closing down&quot; sales. When this happens, start haggling. A store that is going out of business presents problems for buyers, especially when it comes to buying things that may have warranty issues. For this reason, you should demand a discount. When one store is closing, perhaps because a particular location is not performing as well as it should, you don't have as much leverage. But you can still ask for a discount, because they are &quot;motivated&quot; to sell, and that, as just discussed, gives you bargaining power.</p> <p><em>When have you asked for a discount?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-should-demand-a-discount">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-to-scoring-the-best-price-when-buying-on-ebay">7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-pay-more-guide-to-price-matching-and-cheat-sheet">Don&#039;t Pay More! Guide to Price Matching and Cheat Sheet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping discounts faulty paying cash poor service restaurants scratch and dent Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:00:22 +0000 Paul Michael 1540895 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Smart Ways to Save on Restaurant Meals http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-smart-ways-to-save-on-restaurant-meals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-smart-ways-to-save-on-restaurant-meals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_eating_out_000062790202.jpg" alt="Couple learning smart ways to save on restaurant meals" title="" 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 smart ways to save on dining out, how to make the most of your spare change, and why it might be time to stop couponing.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T062-C011-S002-3-ways-to-save-on-restaurant-meals.html">3 Savvy Ways to Save on Your Next Restaurant Meal</a> &mdash; Know the margins for the foods you order. Alcohol and fountain drinks have high markups, as do pasta, salad, and egg dishes. You'll get the best deal on entrees by ordering seafood or steak. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/spare-change-jar/">Hoarding Pennies: 8 Ways to Make the Most of the Coins in Your Change Jar</a> &mdash; You can get around Coinstar's 10.9% service fee by redeeming your coins as a charitable donation or gift card. [The Penny Hoarder]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/lifestyle/shopping/10-reasons-might-time-give-coupons/60492">10 Reasons It Might be Time to Give up on Coupons</a> &mdash; Coupons often require you to buy multiples of a product, which can easily go to waste if you don't use them before the expiration date. [SheBudgets]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Working-From-Home-Tips-37778375">11 of the Best Work-From-Home Hacks Ever</a> &mdash; You don't need to dress up in a business suit, but changing out of your PJs will help you transition from lazy at-home mode to productive work mode. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2015/0729/Fast-food-visits-continue-to-decline-in-US">Fast food visits continue to decline in US</a> &mdash; Not as many people are eating at burger chains these days, though the traffic at independent burger restaurants has gone up. [The Monitor]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.financialsamurai.com/solving-financial-insecurity-to-live-more-freely/">Solving Financial Insecurity To Live More Freely</a> &mdash; You can feel insecure even if you're rich, but setting financial goals and tracking your progress can help lessen some of that insecurity.&nbsp;[Financial Samurai]</p> <p><a href="http://moneypantry.com/earning-money-in-retirement/">17 Ways to Make Money in Retirement Without a Full-time Job</a> &mdash; If you have a green thumb, you can sell the fruits (and veggies) of your labor or start a gardening service for people who want fresh produce. [Money Pantry]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-ways-to-take-the-stress-out-of-going-to-the-beach">7 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Going to the Beach</a> &mdash; Make a list of everything you need for a fun and safe day at the beach. Don't forget sunblock, toys for the kids, towels, changes of clothes, water, snacks, and sunglasses! [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thousandaire.com/creating-a-beautiful-garden-on-a-budget/">Creating a Beautiful Garden on a Budget</a> &mdash; Using organic waste from your kitchen will help you cut down on garden maintenance costs! [Thousandaire]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/rich-people-credit-scores/">Do Rich People Have Higher Credit Scores Than You?</a> &mdash; Not necessarily! How much money you have isn't a factor for determining your credit score. [Credit Sesame]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-smart-ways-to-save-on-restaurant-meals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-lucrative-restaurant-franchises">The 5 Most Lucrative Restaurant Franchises</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year">How Water Can Save You $977 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ill-take-a-slice-of-lemon-with-fecal-bacteria-please">I&#039;ll take a slice of lemon with fecal bacteria please.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips restaurants Tue, 04 Aug 2015 19:00:16 +0000 Amy Lu 1513991 at http://www.wisebread.com The 14 Best Ways to Cut Food Costs While Traveling http://www.wisebread.com/the-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_vacation_000025633555.jpg" alt="Young couple trying to cut food costs while traveling" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2001, as we deplaned on Maui, my husband was handed a survey from the Hawaii Tourism Authority. It sought our assistance in tracking daily vacation spending. As a CPA, he took to it like a duck to water, and as we went from restaurant, to activity, to luau, he tracked every last cent we spent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youre-paying-too-much-for-when-you-travel-and-how-to-pay-less?ref=seealso">10 Things You're Paying Too Much for When You Travel</a>)</p> <p>Scrutinizing the cost of the activities and meals so closely made us spend less money than we may have been inclined to on that trip, but it also altered our spending habits on all vacations thereafter. After finding the best deals on tickets and lodging, we tackled daily food costs. Below are our tips for saving money on those.</p> <p>A caveat, though: Dining in great restaurants and trying out new foods are often part of your travel adventure. If you find yourself eating a peanut-butter sandwich in your hotel room in Chicago instead of a street-vendor hot dog or a deep-dish pizza, I think you are missing out. Better to save a larger travel fund than to miss out on a fun part of the experience.</p> <p>Here are 14 ways to save on food costs while traveling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secrets-to-eating-great-food-for-cheap-while-traveling?ref=seealso">4 Secrets to Eating Great Food for Cheap While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>1. Choose an Apartment Instead of a Hotel</h2> <p>This tip is at the top of my list, because it is so much cheaper to eat in than rely on restaurants. However, if you don't like to cook, and part of &quot;vacation&quot; means a break from the kitchen, this suggestion is not for you. If you do like to cook, though, look for condo advertisement comments where people have mentioned &quot;well-stocked kitchens.&quot; This is usually code for decent knives, pots and pans, cooking oils, and seasonings. Also, look for condos that have outdoor grills. Grilling adds to that vacation-y feeling and shares the cooking workload.</p> <p>I usually make a shopping list on the plane or in the car, hit a grocery store when we arrive at our destination, and then go unpack. I wouldn't suggest that you eat every single meal at a condo, lest you miss out on local restaurants and foods, but this will give you a big savings over needing to frequent restaurants three times a day.</p> <h2>2. Look for Hotels With Refrigerators</h2> <p>If you can't do the above, let's hope your hotel has a small refrigerator. If so, you can at least store some milk for cereal, juice, yogurt, etc. for in-room breakfasts. Many hotels also have microwaves, which is another bonus.</p> <h2>3. Stock Your Own Alcohol</h2> <p>We live in a cruise ship port town. Guess where a lot of folks head during shore excursions? To Walmart, to buy booze. Cruise or resort bar prices are going to be considerably higher than what you'll pay if you pick it up yourself. While it's nice to have the occasional drink out for the vacation ambiance, it will also add up quickly if you spend a lot of time in bars.</p> <h2>4. Camp!</h2> <p>Not everyone loves to camp, I realize &mdash; but if you do, it's a really inexpensive way to go. And what's better than bacon and fresh trout with coffee in the morning? If you like just a little more luxury in the great outdoors, consider a KOA Deluxe Cabin which has a kitchen, or an RV rental. Camping food is, by its very nature, cheap! Think about hot dogs, pork and beans, pancakes and of course &mdash; s'mores.</p> <h2>5. Eat Lunch in Restaurants, Instead of Dinner</h2> <p>My husband and I rarely go out for dinner, but we frequently go out to lunch because it is considerably cheaper. Although the menu choices or portions aren't as large, we never feel limited. Often, we find that the same menus are featured for both lunch and dinner &mdash; the former is just much lower-priced.</p> <h2>6. Picnic</h2> <p>My mother was a champion picnic-er and made terrific salads, fried chicken, snacks, and soups in thermoses. We'd just pick a pretty spot and pull the station wagon over. It also gives everyone time to stretch their legs, take some pictures, and relax (while saving money). It's also fun to pack a lunch and head to an area park. Many even have barbecues available.</p> <h2>7. Take Advantage of the &quot;Continental Breakfast&quot;</h2> <p>Many hotels now offer free breakfast as part of the deal, so you might as well take advantage of it. While cereal and muffins may be the only fare at some, higher-end places have eggs to order and trays of bacon. I usually grab a few pieces of fruit to snack on later, too.</p> <h2>8. Eat Local Foods</h2> <p>As the saying goes, &quot;When in Rome...&quot; Food grown locally will be the most inexpensive, and usually at its best. This doesn't just mean produce, though &mdash; think of the inexpensive, ubiquitous musubi in Hawaii, street tacos in Southern California, or gyros from stands in New York. Keep the travel adventure going by trying new (and often inexpensive) foods.</p> <h2>9. Check Out the Appetizer Menu</h2> <p>Want to try a restaurant, but are frightened off by the dinner prices? Check out the appetizer menu. The prices are lower, the portions often generous, and you'll still enjoy the restaurant ambiance.</p> <h2>10. Look for Deals</h2> <p>Try <a href="http://www.groupon.com/">Groupon</a>, <a href="https://www.livingsocial.com">LivingSocial</a>, or check a coupon book for restaurant deals. Or, try giving the restaurant a call to see if they offer an &quot;early bird&quot; or &quot;kids eat free&quot; special.</p> <h2>11. Ask a Local</h2> <p>Don't be bashful! Somebody who lives where you are traveling is probably your best bet for finding cheap, great eats.</p> <h2>12. Read Up on Restaurants</h2> <p>Do some homework before you go. Check the area's local paper, blogs, TripAdvisor, and Yelp.</p> <h2>13. Any Food Trucks Around?</h2> <p>Want great food in a casual atmosphere? Find a food truck. Take it to go, or find a spot to picnic. <a href="http://roaminghunger.com/">Roaming Hunger</a> will help you find the trucks!</p> <h2>14. Buy in Bulk</h2> <p>Even when traveling, if we're staying in a place with a kitchen, we seek out a nearby Costco or a Sam's Club. There are items we know we'll want (such as eggs, beer, bagels, or muffins) every day.</p> <p><em>How do you save on food costs while traveling?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-savvy-strategies-to-ward-away-college-hunger-and-avoid-overspending">6 Savvy Strategies to Ward Away College Hunger and Avoid Overspending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-more-tips-for-eating-in-restaurants-and-sticking-to-a-budget">Five More Tips For Eating In Restaurants And Sticking To A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-eating-out-cheaply">Tips For Eating Out Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pop-that-corkage-a-cross-country-byo-roundup">Pop That Corkage: A Cross-country BYO Roundup</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Travel byob dining eating restaurants saving money vacation Tue, 14 Apr 2015 11:00:06 +0000 Marla Walters 1379755 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Foods That Are Actually Better Buys at a Restaurant http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-that-are-actually-better-buys-at-a-restaurant <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-foods-that-are-actually-better-buys-at-a-restaurant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_restaurant_000048970226.jpg" alt="Young couple enjoying affordable meal at restaurant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Going out to eat is a large expense for many people, especially city dwellers. But sometimes, dining out is justifiable &mdash; and in some cases, it's even a better value than eating at home. Here are seven foods that you're actually better off having in a restaurant.</p> <h2>1. Fish</h2> <p>I recently stopped by the fish counter at my local supermarket. I was knocked out by the price of fish, particularly the wild variety which is healthier and tastier. When I went out to eat that night, I found that buying that same fish and then cooking it (including condiments, sides, and other ingredients) at home would have been more expensive than ordering it in the restaurant. Plus, I didn't need to worry about getting that fishy smell out of my kitchen.</p> <h2>2. Ethnic Foods</h2> <p>I'm a huge fan of authentic ethnic food. It's one of my favorite parts of living in a big city. Indian, Thai, and Ethiopian cuisines are three of my go-to choices when I dine out. The dishes I like best are complex with many layers of flavors and ingredients. If I were to make these dishes at home, I would need to invest in spices and ingredients that I would use only sparingly &mdash; and very occasionally. In this case, it's more cost effective for me to go to a restaurant that specializes in these cuisines, rather than paying a lot of money for a stock of ingredients I would barely use.</p> <h2>3. Expensive Cuts of Meat</h2> <p>I only eat red meat once or twice a month, and when I do, I want it to be the best of the best: sustainably and responsibly raised, flavorful, and cooked just right. These cuts of meat are expensive (as they should be, given how much it takes to raise them!) and the chances of me ruining them in my home kitchen by overcooking or using the wrong technique are high. In this case, I much prefer to leave the grilling to the experts in a restaurant.</p> <h2>4. Breakfast Specials</h2> <p>Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. When I'm in the mood for a decadent breakfast complete with pancakes, waffles, omelettes, and/or bagels and lox, I head to any one of a number of local breakfast places and diners. They have great prices, fast service, and all of the right kitchen equipment to create the perfect breakfast for me.</p> <h2>5. Complicated Dishes</h2> <p>I love French food, but it would take me a long time (and an expensive grocery bill!) to learn to make it myself at home. And even then, the technique of a trained French chef is always going to be better than what I can do myself. I leave complex cuisines to the experts and gladly pay them for their expertise. It's money well-spent.</p> <h2>6. Shellfish</h2> <p>Cooking shellfish requires special skill to ensure it both tastes good and is safe to eat. It's also one of the most expensive items in the grocery store. When I'm in the mood for foods such a mussels or clams, or dishes like paella, I head to one of my neighborhood restaurants that serve up this delicious food in style. It's a better use of my time and money, saves me from making a huge mess in my kitchen, and tastes so much better than I could do on my own.</p> <h2>7. Desserts</h2> <p>I have a huge sweet tooth, and sometimes I get a serious hankering for a slice of chocolate cake or a rich pastry like baklava. These dishes are time consuming and as a household of one, it's often not worth it for me to incur the expense to make a whole cake or a whole batch of pastry. (My waistline and wallet would both suffer!) I'm much better off spending a fraction of that money (and zero time) by ordering a dessert like this in a restaurant. It's fresh and cooked by an expert pastry chef, something I certainly am not!</p> <p>I have some hard and fast rules about things I never order in a restaurant because they aren't a good value. Simple pasta dishes, salads, easy veggie-based dishes, sandwiches, and beverages are generally things that are overpriced and easy to make at home. When I go out, I treat myself to the complicated dishes I can't make at home for less than what a restaurant charges. Bon appetit!</p> <p><em>What are your favorite &quot;only in a restaurant&quot; dishes? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-that-are-actually-better-buys-at-a-restaurant">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year">How Water Can Save You $977 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-overpriced-restaurant-items-that-waste-your-money">13 Overpriced Restaurant Items That Waste Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-terrible-restaurant-values-you-should-avoid">8 Terrible Restaurant Values You Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cuisines eating out good values restaurants Wed, 01 Apr 2015 13:00:10 +0000 Christa Avampato 1360902 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Terrible Restaurant Values You Should Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/8-terrible-restaurant-values-you-should-avoid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-terrible-restaurant-values-you-should-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_restaurant_000033602722.jpg" alt="Family eating value meal at a restaurant " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like millions of Americans, you probably dine out at least once a week. For many, it's a favorite pastime &mdash; a time to relax with friends or family and experiment with different cuisines. So, it probably comes as no surprise that restaurant meals can cost significantly more than preparing meals at home (there's no shortage of articles underscoring this on Wise Bread).</p> <p>But if you're trying to save money when eating out, there are a few restaurant items you should consider skipping. These items feature unnecessarily high mark-ups that make them a poor choice for folks on a budget. Here's a breakdown of some of these worst restaurant values. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items?ref=seealso">Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Menu Items?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Salads</h2> <p>Whether you're trying to eat clean or simply reduce your calorie intake, you might choose a salad over a less-healthy menu item. This may be good for your physical health, but usually not your financial health. I've very stupidly paid up to $22 for a nothing-special salad, and according to Restaurant.com, it only costs a restaurant an average of $1.60 to make one. You're better off going to the grocery store and buying your own lettuce and vegetables.</p> <p>&quot;Salads can be prepared with minimal time at home and with ease,&quot; says Natasha M. Campbell, founder and CEO of Lifestyle Success Unlimited. &quot;Take the time to prep the night before and pay yourself for your time and effort versus the restaurant.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Tea, Soda, and Alcohol</h2> <p>Many patrons prefer flavored drinks, such as alcohol, soda, or tea over a glass of free, filtered tap water. The cost of beverages might seem like a small price to pay, especially since you can order soda or tea for under $3 and receive free refills. But when you take into account that restaurants only pay about $0.35 per teabag and how fountain drinks are mostly tap water, chances are you're not getting your money's worth. Alcoholic beverages aren't any better.</p> <p>&quot;Bottles of wine are usually marked up 100%, and a glass of wine can be as much as five times over what the restaurant paid,&quot; says Kate Krader, restaurant editor at Food &amp; Wine magazine. Ouch.</p> <h2>3. Appetizers</h2> <p>Appetizers are one of the biggest mind tricks in the restaurant game. These items are purposely priced slightly cheaper than entrees to make it look like you're getting a bargain. But if you examine appetizers and entrees with similar ingredients and compare prices for each, you might find that appetizers &mdash; although a smaller portion &mdash; are the victim of price inflation.</p> <p>According to Jody Pennette, the founder of CB5 Restaurant Group, &quot;Restaurants have been raising the prices of appetizers disproportionately to the increase in food costs over the past 15 years.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Kid's Meals</h2> <p>Even though many restaurants have a kid's menu, children can be picky eaters. If you go to a restaurant and order two or three kid's meals, you could end up spending money on food your kid doesn't finish. The portions are smaller and the prices cheaper, so you assume you're getting a deal, even if your kid doesn't clean their plate. But why waste money if you don't have to? There are plenty of restaurants that offer a free kid's meal for each paying adult &mdash; and that's where you should be eating.</p> <h2>5. Desserts</h2> <p>Many people can't wait to finish off their meal with a decadent dessert (myself included), but it'll cost you &mdash; and I'm talking more than calories. Restaurant desserts are notoriously overpriced. On average, we might pay $6 or $7 for a single slice of cake or pie, yet we can buy a whole cake at a grocery store or bakery for about the same price. Or, we can prepare the dessert ourselves for much less at home. A good trick to avoid this trap is to put a piece of candy or two in your pocket or purse before dinner. A couple Hershey's kisses at the end of the meal will quell those chocolate cravings and save you some dough.</p> <h2>6. Restaurant Specials</h2> <p>Don't fall for the daily or nightly specials. It may sound like a mouth-watering treat, but it can also be the chef's way of getting rid of leftovers in the kitchen, and charging customers a premium for no reason.</p> <p>&quot;Specials are just an expensive way for the chef to clean out his or her kitchen of leftovers,&quot; says Sarah Zorn, editorial director of the blog Restaurant Girl.</p> <h2>7. Pasta</h2> <p>A box of dried pasta at the grocery store costs pennies per serving, and tomato and other pasta sauces are also cheap to prepare. On average, it doesn't take too much time or a lot of ingredients for a restaurant to prepare a basic pasta dish, yet many dishes have a markup between six and 10 times the cost. It's easier for us to justify higher pricing for dishes that take longer to prepare, but if you can whip up a simple pasta dish in your kitchen in no time and at a seriously low cost, it's financially beneficial to prepare it yourself.</p> <h2>8. Breakfast and Brunch</h2> <p>A fancy brunch or breakfast outside the house can get the morning off to an enjoyable start. But since breakfast food is incredibly inexpensive and quick to prepare, you're probably getting duped financially. A restaurant can purchase eggs, bacon, potatoes, pancakes, milk, and other breakfast items in bulk for cheap. Eggs retail for about $0.10 each, and it costs a restaurant practically nothing to prepare pancakes, hash browns, and toast. However, I've seen restaurants charge as much as $10 or $12 for a simple breakfast plate with these items. Don't get me wrong &mdash; I worship at the cathedral of brunch &mdash; but I participate much more sparingly than I used to.</p> <p><em>What dishes do you avoid because of the cost when dining out?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-terrible-restaurant-values-you-should-avoid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year">How Water Can Save You $977 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-overpriced-restaurant-items-that-waste-your-money">13 Overpriced Restaurant Items That Waste Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-foods-that-are-actually-better-buys-at-a-restaurant">7 Foods That Are Actually Better Buys at a Restaurant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink bad values eating out markup overpriced restaurants Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1356104 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Tricks for Enjoying Fine Dining on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/7-tricks-for-enjoying-fine-dining-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-tricks-for-enjoying-fine-dining-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000043399268_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="man woman restaurant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's nothing quite like a luxurious meal that's carefully made, served to you under romantic lighting, and placed onto a fresh white tablecloth. Sadly, the price can be prohibitive for many of us, and instead we end up spending our night with takeout and a bottle of $5 wine (not that there's anything wrong what that!). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-swanky-sauces-to-glamorize-dinner?ref=seealso" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.38;">8 Swanky Sauces to Glamorize Dinner</a>)</p> <p>The good news is that armed with a few tips, you can enjoy fine dining without emptying out your savings. As always, a good place to start is the Internet: Pick a few restaurants you are interested in and look up their websites, reviews, and local publications. There you can find some valuable information, like a sample of prices, what meals they serve, what kind of dishes they offer, and if they have any special deals. Keep an eye out for coupons on deal sites and seasonal events like Restaurant Week. And be sure take a look at the following seven hacks for an enjoyable dining experience without the bummer ending.</p> <h2>1. Go for Lunch</h2> <p>Many fine dining establishments are also open for lunch, and while some just serve a smaller menu of the dishes they serve for dinner at the same price, others offer some real deals.</p> <p>Bouley, a well-known and well-loved restaurant in New York City, is known for their tasting menus. Their dinner version is six courses and costs a cool $185, while their five-course lunch version is $55. It may not have all of the same flourishes, but you are still eating a fancy pants tasting menu at Bouley without having to take out a second mortgage.</p> <p>Blackbird, a celebrated spot in Chicago, offers a lunch prix fixe that is $25 for three courses, which is cheaper than most of their single dinner entrees. They also offer a complete lunch menu that runs half the price of their dinner menu. Check out your restaurant of choice's menus and compare lunch and dinner to see if they offer midday bargains.</p> <h2>2. Go on a Weeknight</h2> <p>Not surprisingly, Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest times at all restaurants, let alone the really nice ones. Some establishments offer discounts or special (cheaper) menus on weekdays, especially Monday through Wednesday &mdash; Tuesday is statistically the least busy day for restaurants. Call or check a restaurant's website to find out if they offer weekday deals. City publications also like to do articles about such deals, like this round-up of <a href="http://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/restaurants/cheap-eats-in-la-the-best-restaurant-weekly-specials">Weekday Dinner Deals in LA</a>.</p> <p>Little Dom's, a popular Italian spot in Los Angeles that frequently serves celebrities, offers a $15 three-course family-style dinner on Monday nights along with drink specials. Just an entree can run up to $30 on a normal night, making a Monday night reservation a no-brainer.</p> <h2>3. Eat at the Bar</h2> <p>Restaurants don't just put a bar in their upscale dining rooms so that the liquor and bartender have someplace to hang out &mdash; it also adds seating without taking up as much room as tables. To reward you for sitting elbow to elbow with your stranger neighbors, many places offer bar specials, happy hours, or even an entire menu only available at the bar.</p> <p>Spago is Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Beverly Hills and is highly regarded by eaters and critics alike. The bill can easily surpass $100-200 per person even at lunch, but luckily they have a bar with it's own &quot;bar bites&quot; menu. Go during happy hour from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and order a drink and some &quot;bites&quot; and relish in the fact that you're sitting in Spago without maxing out your credit card. Call your local fine dining spots and see if they have similar deals. Be sure to mention that you want to eat at the bar when making your reservation.</p> <h2>4. BYOB</h2> <p>While some fine dining spots are pushing their 15-page wine lists, others are becoming more open-minded. A surprising number of restaurants are offering BYOB now, even if they offer wine.</p> <p>Goosefoot, largely hailed as one of the best restaurants in Chicago, permits BYOB with just a $10 corkage fee. The food will still cost you a pretty penny, but you'll save big bucks on your drinks while eating top-notch food. Look for articles about BYOB spots in your city, or call and ask about a restaurant's policy. Then do a little math and compare their drink prices with bringing your own plus the corkage fee. The numbers are often in your favor!</p> <h2>5. Don't Buy $50 Leftovers</h2> <p>Finally time to order? Take a look around. What are people ordering? How big are the portions for appetizers and entrees? How much food are they ordering? Pay attention to the details and it will help prevent over-ordering and a $50 leftover situation. Make a plan with your fellow diners and share dishes so that everyone can try more things without over-ordering.</p> <h2>6. Hold That Drink Order</h2> <p>All wait staff is trained to ask for your drink order immediately, or even offer you a drink while you wait for a table. While there is nothing wrong with this policy, since you might be thirsty or might actually want a drink, they also do it in hopes that you'll order more drinks as the night goes on. Start early and you can easily be a drink in before you even order your food. Alcohol charges can add up quickly, so hold that drink order until you order food and enjoy your wine with the meal. Or, if you're a digestif fan, wait for dessert. If you don't want to give up that pre-dinner drink, pregame at home or at a lower-priced bar. It can also help to make a drink limit for yourself at the beginning of the night and stick to it.</p> <h2>7. Skip the Extras</h2> <p>Or, to really save money, don't order drinks at all. Drink orders can easily double your bill since alcohol typically has the&nbsp;<a href="http://deadspin.com/why-the-hell-does-your-drink-cost-so-much-1454231900">highest mark-up</a> at restaurants. You came for the food anyway, right? Plus, more alcohol equals more spending in more ways than one: a tipsy diner is more likely to order whatever they please and be surprised at their credit card bill later. If the restaurant isn't known for their desserts, then skip that, too, and grab some of your favorite ice cream on the way home instead. It will extend your fun night and save you an extra $10-$20.</p> <p><em>How do you enjoy fine dining for less?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tricks-for-enjoying-fine-dining-on-a-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-cities-for-frugal-foodies">The 7 Best Cities for Frugal Foodies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more">12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items">Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink dining out Fine Dining restaurants Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:00:08 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1304189 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Best Cities for Frugal Foodies http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-cities-for-frugal-foodies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-best-cities-for-frugal-foodies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-woman-restaurant-beach-Dollarphotoclub_67762409.jpg" alt="young woman restaurant" title="young woman restaurant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco continue to dazzle and delight foodies, many cities are in the midst of a culinary renaissance that is not to be missed, and often at far lower prices than these more expensive traditional foodie towns. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-americas-awesomest-cheap-cities?ref=seealso">10 of America's Awesomest Cheap Cities</a>)</p> <p>Artisanal food, locavore, and farm-to-table movements are spreading like wildfire to every corner of the U.S. So here are seven U.S. cities that will make your taste buds and tummy happy without breaking the bank.</p> <h2>1. Orlando, Florida</h2> <p>Wait, what? Isn't Central Florida home to strip malls and fast food establishments galore? Well, yes, it is. But it's also got a burgeoning food scene that's getting national attention. <a href="https://www.eastendmkt.com/">East End Market</a> is an artisan market occupied by local food entrepreneurs in the newly revitalized Mills 50 District. <a href="http://www.caskandlarder.com/">Cask &amp; Larder</a> and <a href="http://txokoskitchen.com/">Txokos Basque Kitchen</a> have garnered James Beard Award nominations, and Iron Chef Morimoto will open a flagship operation of his widely-acclaimed sushi restaurant in the new Disney Springs. If you're a frugal foodie, Orlando is a place that should be on your &quot;to visit&quot; list.</p> <h2>2. Grand Rapids, Michigan</h2> <p>Grand Rapids is a scenic and charming city situated on the Grand River. The <a href="http://www.experiencegr.com/about-grand-rapids/colleges-universities/secchia-institute-for-culinary-education/">Secchia Institute for Culinary Education</a> at Grand Rapids Community College is one of the country's top culinary schools, so it's no wonder that the food scene here is hopping. For the latest in food trends, head to <a href="http://www.experiencegr.com/things-to-do/shopping/downtown-market/">Downtown Market Grand Rapids</a>. Only two years old, it offers a full year indoor market full of artisan food businesses as well as a huge outdoor summer market and culinary events of all shapes and sizes.</p> <p>Craft breweries are a big deal in this city and include gems such as Founder's Brewing, <a href="http://www.experiencegr.com/listings/HopCat/5636/0/0/">HopCat</a>, <a href="http://www.experiencegr.com/listings/Grand-Rapids-Brewing-Company/5720/0/0/">Grand Rapids Brewing Company</a>, and <a href="http://www.experiencegr.com/listings/The-B-O-B-/2004/0/0/">The B.O.B</a>.</p> <p>The fertile soil of Western Michigan creates one of the finest growing regions in the country. For this reason it's home to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.experiencegr.com/restaurants/farm-to-fork/">numerous farm-to-table restaurants</a> that make dinner a difficult, and delicious, choice.</p> <h2>3. Madison, Wisconsin</h2> <p>Love farmer's markets? Then you need to check out Madison. With a young and highly educated population, the <a href="https://madisonfarmersmarket.com/">Saturday Farmers' Market in Madison</a> is one of the largest in the country with 200+ farmers selling their freshest crops and food products. Additionally, there is also the Dane County Farmers' Market, Eastside Farmers' Market, Northside Farmers' Market, and South Madison Farmers' Market. And you thought all they made in Wisconsin was cheese!</p> <h2>4. Boise, Idaho</h2> <p>People in Boise are known for their friendliness and easygoing ways. The food scene reflects that with its many casual and welcoming dining options. <a href="http://cafevicino.com/">Cafe Vicinio</a> serves up delectable Italian eats. Winemaking is making a big splash in Boise thanks to local businesses like <a href="http://boise.coop/wineshop/">Boise Co-op Wine Shop</a>. With the third largest Basque population (outside of Spain and Argentina), Basque cuisine is thriving. <a href="http://www.bargernika.com/">Bar Gernika</a> is a wonderful stop situated right in an area known as Basque Block.</p> <h2>5. Cincinnati, Ohio</h2> <p>Cincinnati chili is one of my favorite varieties of chili, but this city is now known for much more than that when it comes to culinary innovation. The pulled pork at <a href="http://elisbarbeque.com/">Eli's</a>, the finest French croissants and quiches at <a href="http://jrtable.com/french-crust-cafe/">French Crust Cafe</a>, and the authentic Indian food available in every neighborhood across the city prove that Cincinnati has diversity and imagination in its many bustling kitchens.</p> <h2>6. Reno, Nevada</h2> <p>Nevada has another city besides Las Vegas? It sure does! Convenient to Lake Tahoe, Reno showcases its unique culinary scene through its many and varied farmers' markets, local eateries, and cafes. There are so many to mention and visit that it's best to just <a href="http://www.ediblerenotahoe.com/2012-01-27-04-24-16/eat-local-guide">check out this link</a> to see what's on offer that speaks to your taste buds.</p> <h2>7. New Orleans, Louisiana</h2> <p>You'd really have to work hard to eat badly in New Orleans. This city is just as famous for its food as it is for its music, mystery, and revelry. A beignet and a chicory coffee at <a href="http://www.cafedumonde.com/">Cafe Du Monde</a> is the best way to start any morning. Then it's a seafood, gumbo, and Cajun paradise around every corner. You can eat well for very little money in New Orleans though it offers a huge variety of price options to fit every budget: the fried chicken stand at <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/brothers-food-mart-new-orleans-4">Brothers Food Mart</a>, mid-range <a href="http://boucherie-nola.com/">Boucherie</a>, and fancy <a href="http://www.restaurantaugust.com/">Restaurant August</a> are some of the most popular food meccas in a city that reveres and celebrates cuisine with wild abandon.</p> <p><em>Have you found culinary gems for a small price tag in your city? Please share your recommendations in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-cities-for-frugal-foodies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-practice-math-when-you-leave-a-tip">Do You Practice Math When You Leave a Tip?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items">Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more">12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Food and Drink Cheap Food dining out foodie restaurants Tue, 10 Feb 2015 10:00:04 +0000 Christa Avampato 1286591 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Unexpected Ways Cheaper Gas Is Boosting Your Pocketbook http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-ways-cheaper-gas-is-boosting-your-pocketbook <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-unexpected-ways-cheaper-gas-is-boosting-your-pocketbook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000033993308_Large.jpg" alt="woman gas station" title="woman gas station" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the greatest gifts of this holiday season has been the low price of gasoline. With prices well below $3 across much of the country, drivers haven't filled their tanks for so little in years.</p> <p>The basic benefit of lower gas prices is obvious: It's money that you can invest or spend elsewhere.</p> <p>But there are some surprising other financial benefits as well. Here are eight unexpected ways that cheap gas is helping your wallet or pocketbook.</p> <h2>1. Food Could Get Cheaper</h2> <p>Most grocery stores ship their items via truck. So if delivery companies are paying less for gas, those savings could be passed on to consumers. The Department of Labor reports that <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm">food prices have risen</a> a monthly average of .25% over the last 12 months. But food went up just 0.1% in October, perhaps as a result of cheaper transport costs.</p> <h2>2. Restaurant Stocks Are Rising in Value</h2> <p>People are spending less on gas, so they are likely to have more discretionary income. Thus, families are more likely to go out to eat. In fact, spending on restaurants and bars rose nearly 1% in October, according to the Department of Commerce. DineEquity, which owns IHOP and Applebee's, has been trading near its 52-week high. The same goes for Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden, Longhorn, and other popular eateries. The Dow Jones U.S. Restaurant &amp; Bars Index rose more than 5% in November.</p> <h2>3. You're Spending More on Fun Instead of Just Necessities</h2> <p>With a little extra money in their pockets, Americans are spending more on things they enjoy doing. The U.S. Commerce Department said that in October, sales of sporting goods and items for hobbies rose 1.2% &mdash; higher than any other brick-and-mortar retail category.</p> <h2>4. You Can Get More Car for Your Money</h2> <p>If you've got a big family or a lot of stuff to haul, you may be in need of a bigger vehicle. With gas prices low, the operating cost of that bigger car may have fallen to reasonable levels. In fact, the Federal Reserve said that it has recently seen an <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/beigebook/beigebook201412.htm">increase in sales of SUVs</a> and light trucks in some parts of the country. (Be smart, however. Gas prices may not be this low forever, and it always makes sense to drive the most fuel-efficient vehicle you can.)</p> <h2>5. Getting Clean Is Less Expensive</h2> <p>If you like to take a hot shower every day &mdash; and let's hope you do &mdash; you may find it will cost less to heat your water. And if the price of oil stays low, don't be surprised to see lower prices for shampoo, which has petroleum-based ingredients. Same goes for the shaving cream, toothpaste, and deodorant, and lots of other products.</p> <h2>6. Home Improvements Could Cost Less</h2> <p>Think about all the things used to construct your home that are made with petroleum. Paint is a big one, along with nylon carpeting, upholstery, caulking, plastic piping, and parts of your dishwasher and refrigerator. Even the toolbox might cost less if it is made out of plastic.</p> <h2>7. Your Sport or Concert Tickets May Be More Valuable</h2> <p>Low gas prices could allow some sport or music fans to travel farther for their next event. Organizers of upcoming college bowl games, for instance, have indicated that fans will be more likely to go on road trips to attend. Higher attendance creates ticket scarcity, which is great for those who may have tickets they are looking to sell.</p> <h2>8. Job Opportunities Broaden</h2> <p>When gas prices are high, you may not be so eager to take that sales job with customers spanning a four-state area. Similarly, you might turn down that offer for the great job in a town 50 miles away. Lower gas prices expand the number of jobs you might be willing to consider, because the cost-benefit equation shifts in your favor.</p> <p><em>Have you noticed lower gas prices helping your budget? Tell us how in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-ways-cheaper-gas-is-boosting-your-pocketbook">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-eating-out-cheaply">Tips For Eating Out Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-your-boomer-parents-could-afford-that-you-cant">8 Things Your Boomer Parents Could Afford That You Can&#039;t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-lessons-from-adele">8 Financial Lessons From Adele</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-things-everyone-should-be-saving-for">The 10 Things Everyone Should Be Saving For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance as prices Food home improvements restaurants saving Fri, 02 Jan 2015 14:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1275170 at http://www.wisebread.com 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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-painless-ways-to-split-the-check">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more">12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-cities-for-frugal-foodies">The 7 Best Cities for Frugal Foodies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more">12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tricks-for-enjoying-fine-dining-on-a-budget">7 Tricks for Enjoying Fine Dining on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-cities-for-frugal-foodies">The 7 Best Cities for Frugal Foodies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-painless-ways-to-split-the-check">6 Painless Ways to Split the Check</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">6 Secrets Restaurants Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-eating-the-10-most-over-priced-restaurant-menu-items">Are You Eating the 10 Most Over-Priced Restaurant Menu Items?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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