eating out http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7593/all en-US How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save" 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_pizza_000021985984.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to stop the takeout meal cycle and save" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're trying to lean your budget or your waistline this year, eating too many meals out is a common offender. In fact, CNN recently reported that the average dinner at a non-chain restaurant comes in at a staggering&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/20/health/non-chain-restaurants-calories-fast-food/">1,200 calories</a>. While prices can range wildly depending on the eatery, the solution for better physical and financial health may be as simple as cooking more meals at home.</p> <p>My family decided to embark on a challenge and stop dining out last month. We survived and have a stack of cash to show for it. Yes! We estimate we saved around $75 (conservatively) each week by skipping takeout and getting better with our meal planning. About $50 of this money, probably more, came from shunning restaurants and $25 is what we shaved off each week's grocery bill, all while making enough food for hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners &mdash; seven days each week.</p> <p>Your results with this type of challenge will vary depending on how much you eat out, the cost of living in your area, and your creativity with using leftovers. Regardless, here are some tips that can help anyone to stop the takeout cycle today and save big. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now?ref=seealso">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</a>)</p> <h2>Examine Your Habits</h2> <p>Get honest with yourself about your eating and restaurant habits. When we wrote it out, we realized we were grabbing takeout pizza on Friday night, scouting out brunch or lunch on Saturday or Sunday, and sneaking in at least another meal out every week. I say we were spending $50, but I'm sure the amount was closer to $75 at the rate we were going.</p> <p>Beyond that, we had a huge problem with food waste. I found myself tossing rotten fruits and veggies before our weekly grocery trip. We had expired cartons of yogurt nearly full and long-forgotten bags of whatever else going stale. The weirdest part? Our grocery bill was higher than ever. In better days, we tried to stick to around $80 to $100 for a family of three, but we were climbing at least $25 higher than that amount, all while feeling like we never had ideas for dinner. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fruits-and-veggies-that-stay-fresh-a-month-or-longer?ref=seealso">10 Fruits and Veggies That Stay Fresh a Month or Longer</a>)</p> <p>After facing the hard truth, it became crystal clear that we needed to put more effort into planning and preparing our meals to save money and create less waste.</p> <h2>Embrace the Plan</h2> <p>Meal planning has been the key to our success, and it hasn't taken much effort. Every week before shopping, I take stock of what we have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. It sounds like a big job, but it probably takes five or 10 minutes. I figure out what meals we can make with those items first. Some of the ideas come from memory. Other times, I use sites like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes">Supercook</a> to help with my creativity.</p> <p>Feeling intimidated? It helps to stick to basic breakfasts (oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc.), easy lunches (sandwiches, salads, and other things that can be made in bulk), and use tools like a slow cooker to make simmering satisfying dinners a breeze. We even do some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a> to help when we're in a pinch. Example: I made a huge batch of freezer veggie burgers that we can grab on busy nights.</p> <h2>Shop Smart</h2> <p>After I account for all the leftover foods, I look up recipes or write down old favorites for the other nights in the week. What results is an awesomely organized grocery list. At the store, we only buy what we need, nothing additional. That's how food waste is made! And I'll tell you what, there's nothing more satisfying than ending the week with a near-empty fridge.</p> <p>We also found when we changed what day of the week we shop, we felt less compelled to grab takeout. For us, this meant heading to the store on Friday nights so our cabinets were packed with lots of exciting foods for the weekend. We had been shopping on Mondays, and with little in our reserves &mdash; that's when we'd venture out to takeout town. Now, making our meals and enjoying food together has even become one of our favorite sources of frugal entertainment.</p> <h2>Start Small</h2> <p>Does cooking absolutely everything at home sound too overwhelming? I admit, I have a high tolerance for being in the kitchen. If you don't &mdash; start small. You can get great results by replacing just one of your meals out each week. Maybe you can start by packing a lunch instead of buying out. Replacing your morning coffee and muffin habit with a homemade variety. Look for any and all opportunities and add on from there.</p> <p>If I had to choose just one, I would have started with our pizza takeout night. Making pizza at home doesn't take much skill. A plain pie at the place down the street costs around $14. To make dough ($1 for flour, yeast, and water) and top with sauce ($0.99 a jar) and cheese ($2.99 for a two-cup bag)? Well, that's more like $5 if you stick to the basics. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Make Restaurant-Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <h2>Resist Temptation</h2> <p>There were some tricky moments we encountered along the way. For example, our friends came down to visit and asked us if we wanted to buzz out to get some dinner with them randomly one afternoon. I felt paralyzed and slightly embarrassed, but I told them the truth: We'd love to get together, I shared, but we have some big budget goals this year, and eating out doesn't fit into the puzzle right now. Plus, we had already started cooking dinner.</p> <p>Guess what? It was no biggie. They came over to our place, we hung out for several hours, and they even told us our Crock-Pot dinner smelled amazing. For us, temptation usually comes when we're lazy about planning or when we get social pressure. We know this now. Your own triggers might be different. Be aware of them. Be honest about your goals. And get cooking.</p> <p><em>Did you break your takeout cyclc? What worked for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">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/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</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-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</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/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today</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/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping eating out Fast Food food waste groceries meal planning restaurants Takeout Mon, 29 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1659930 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-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/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-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</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/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 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-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/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-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</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/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 bad values eating out markup overpriced restaurants Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1356104 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Overpriced Restaurant Items That Waste Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/13-overpriced-restaurant-items-that-waste-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-overpriced-restaurant-items-that-waste-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-80408075.jpg" alt="restaurant" title="restaurant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My family does a pretty decent job of saving money, but we have one big weakness: dining out. We like to visit restaurants and leave the cooking and dishes to someone else. Of course, we know that we could save money by eating at home, so we follow certain rules to make sure we're getting the best value from our restaurant visit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a>)</p> <p>The key is to know what's worth ordering and what's worth avoiding due to a high markup. Here are 13 items we try to avoid when we eat out.</p> <h2>1. Alcoholic Drinks</h2> <p>Unlike other drinks, you'll rarely get unlimited free refills of beer or wine. Alcoholic beverages have a big markup in part due to taxes, but also because <a href="http://deadspin.com/why-the-hell-does-your-drink-cost-so-much-1454231900">the restaurants make them a high-margin item</a>. If you feel the need to splurge on wine, get it by the bottle instead of the glass. It's also easy these days to use your smartphone at the restaurant to check a price of a bottle of wine to see if you'd be overpaying. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-tasty-wines-to-get-you-through-tax-season?ref=seealso">Tasty Wines to Get You Through Tax Season</a>)</p> <h2>2. Appetizers</h2> <p>It's tempting to order an app or two right when you arrive, especially if you're really hungry. But take a look at the appetizer menu. Nachos? Fried mozzarella sticks? Onion rings? These are usually things that are inexpensive for a restaurant to make, and you may even be able to make reasonable facsimiles at home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-restaurant-dishes-you-can-make-at-home?ref=seealso">Restaurant Dishes You Can Make at Home</a>)</p> <h2>3. Dessert</h2> <p>They are usually overpriced, you're probably already full, and you really shouldn't be eating that stuff anyway.</p> <h2>4. Anything With Eggplant</h2> <p>I recently discovered the joys of eggplant at home. A <a href="http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/multisport-zone/fuel-station/articles/eggplant-economical-meal-for-athletes-052311.aspx">single eggplant is inexpensive, is versatile</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes">can last a few meals</a>. No need to shell out $10 or more for a dish. Want to make a good eggplant parm? Slice an eggplant, coat the slices in bread crumbs, and sear each side. Put them in a pan and coat with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and tomato sauce, then cook for about 30 minutes. Another idea: chop up some eggplant and put the chunks in a crock pot with cherry tomatoes and some garlic and other seasonings. An awesome, hearty vegetable dish. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes?ref=seealso">Tasty and Frugal Eggplant Dishes</a>)</p> <h2>5. Basic Pasta Dishes</h2> <p>Fettuccini alfredo? Spaghetti with meatballs? These are some of the simplest dishes around, and you're rarely going to be blown away by what restaurants serve.</p> <h2>6. Meatloaf</h2> <p>C'mon&hellip; you can make a good meatloaf at home. Just take some ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, diced tomatoes, and an egg, and throw it in a bowl. Mold it, cook it at 375 degrees for an hour, and enjoy. Restaurants will try to tempt you by calling it &quot;homemade,&quot; but you know better.</p> <h2>7. Out-of-Season (and Out-of-Market) Seafood</h2> <p>If you do some homework, you should be able to learn <a href="http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com/afreshapproach/whats-in-season.aspx">what seafood is fresh and local</a>. I'm a Marylander, so I know not to eat blue crab until it's at least May, and I'm not ordering it during a trip to Des Moines. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/affordable-sustainable-seafood-choices-for-your-table?ref=seealso">Affordable, Sustainable Seafood</a>)</p> <h2>8. Potatoes</h2> <p>OK, they are often just a side dish and not the main course. But if you're ordering a meal because you think you'll be blown away by the spuds, think again. A big bag of Russet potatoes is $4 at the store. So why spend $8 for a single baked potato at a restaurant?</p> <h2>9. Soup (Unless It's in Place of a Bigger Meal)</h2> <p>When I was in elementary school, the school lunch ladies always served vegetable soup, and we all knew it was made from the leftovers from the day before. It's not hard or expensive to throw some ingredients in with some broth. You'll rarely get max value when you order a bowl of soup, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2lfZg-apSA">no matter what Seinfeld says. </a></p> <h2>10. Salad</h2> <p>There are some salads that could be worth the extra money if they are filled with hearty and unique ingredients. But just keep in mind how much you typically pay for lettuce at the grocery store. (It's probably a buck a head.) Stay away from the &quot;wedge&quot; salad, which is basically just a chunk of iceberg lettuce with some dressing on it.</p> <h2>11. Roasted Chicken</h2> <p>Roasting a whole chicken at home is super easy. Coat it in butter; pour some olive oil on it; and sprinkle on kosher salt, rosemary, thyme, and any other herbs you like. Cook for an hour at 400 degrees. I also like to put some corn in the roasting pan and it comes out delicious.</p> <p>A whole chicken can serve an entire family, and you may even have leftovers. It's rare that a restaurant that can do anything transformative to a chicken. You'll save money by roasting at home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-weeks-worth-of-dinners-out-of-one-chicken?ref=seealso">Get a Week of Dinners From One Chicken</a>)</p> <h2>12. Steak</h2> <p>It's pure agony for me to say this, because I love a good filet. But the bottom line is that beef is overpriced and often unsatisfactory at many restaurants. You should be able to grill yourself an awesome steak at home as long as you have a good cut of meat, like a tenderloin. Sprinkle some kosher salt and olive oil on your filet. Get your grill super-hot (500 degrees is good), shut the lid, and let the grill do its work. The best part about cooking steak at home is that you don't have to worry about whether the restaurant understands the difference between medium and well-done.</p> <h2>13. Kids' Meals</h2> <p>I've lost count of the number of times we've ordered macaroni and cheese off the children's menu for my sons, only to find that it's simply Kraft out of the box. (About $1.25 at most grocery stores.) The good news is that many restaurants will let kids eat free on certain nights of the week. And if you want to get good value from a child's meal, look for restaurants that offer basic dishes that come with a good selection of healthy sides. The Center for Science in the Public Interest <a href="http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/cspi-kids-meals-2013.pdf">has a list of restaurants that offer healthier meals</a> that may make them a better overall value.</p> <p><em>What do you skip at the restaurant? Let us know 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/13-overpriced-restaurant-items-that-waste-your-money">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/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/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</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-terrible-restaurant-values-you-should-avoid">8 Terrible Restaurant Values You Should Avoid</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/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 eating out restaurants Fri, 28 Feb 2014 11:24:20 +0000 Tim Lemke 1127920 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Enjoy Eating Out Without Spending a Lot on Food http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-enjoy-eating-out-without-spending-a-lot-on-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-enjoy-eating-out-without-spending-a-lot-on-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5741593876_7f6a008f3c_z(1).jpg" alt="Enjoy Eating Out Without Spending A Lot on Food" title="Enjoy Eating Out Without Spending A Lot on Food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on eating out without spending a lot on food, using new disposable income, and choosing a major.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://canadianfinanceblog.com/5-ways-to-enjoy-eating-out-without-spending-a-lot-on-food/">5 Ways to Enjoy Eating Out without Spending A Lot on Food</a> &mdash; To enjoy eating out without spending a ton of money on food, go to the restaurant but skip dinner. [Canadian Finance Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/6-tips-for-using-new-disposable-income/">6 Tips for Using New Disposable Income</a> &mdash; If you have new disposable income, re-evaluate your savings. [Consumerism Commentary]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/choosing-a-major/">Choosing a Major - 3 Vital Things to Consider</a> &mdash; When choosing a major, consider whether or not you will be able to live your desired lifestyle based on the job options available to you within that major. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://genxfinance.com/save-money-by-pickling-fruits-and-vegetables-at-home/">Save Money by Pickling Fruits and Vegetables at Home</a> &mdash; Pickling can eliminate waste and save you money. [Generation X Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mightybargainhunter.com/2012/09/11/bargain-beach-vacationing/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mightybargainhunter+%28MightyBargainHunter.com%29">Seven tips for bargain beach vacationing with friends</a> &mdash; Have a bargain beach vacation with friends by going at the tail end of the season. [Mighty Bargain Hunter]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thedigeratilife.com/blog/commercial-banks-cash-only-living/">Skip Commercial Banks! How Cash Only Living Can Work</a> &mdash; To make cash only living work for you, use an envelope budgeting system. [The Digerati Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/What-Ask-Pregnant-Co-Worker-25064971">10 Things You Shouldn't Ask A Pregnant Co-Worker</a> &mdash; Don't ask your pregnant co-worker how long she was trying to get pregnant. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/on-the-road-again-7-ways-to-stay-connected-to-your-kids">On the Road Again? 7 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Kids</a> &mdash; When you are on the road, stay connected to your kids by planning times to call. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2012/09/how-to-do-storage-auctions-wars/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+budgetsaresexy+%28Budgets+are+Sexy.%29">10 Things You Need to Know About Storage Auctions</a> &mdash; If you are planning on going to a storage auction, show up early to register. [Budgets Are Sexy]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2012/09/23/fear-frugality-and-parenting/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thesimpledollar+%28The+Simple+Dollar%29">Fear, Frugality, and Parenting</a> &mdash; Do you think it is more important to be overprotective of your kids or allow them to become more self-reliant? [The Simple Dollar]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-enjoy-eating-out-without-spending-a-lot-on-food">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/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/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/the-case-for-caloric-labeling">The case for caloric labeling</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-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</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/flashback-friday-104-sweet-ways-to-celebrate-valentines-day">Flashback Friday: 104 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips dining eating out Food Tue, 25 Sep 2012 09:48:42 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 954695 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Save on Eating Out http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-on-eating-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-on-eating-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2406952166_0b1e7fb726_z-1.jpg" alt="Ways to Save on Eating Out" title="Ways to Save on Eating Out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on ways to save on eating out, how not to be average, and the Obamacare ruling.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/06/29/15-ways-to-save-on-eating-out/">15 Ways to Save on Eating Out</a> &mdash; Save money on eating out by following restaurants on Twitter and becoming a regular. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2012/06/how-not-to-be-average.html">How Not to Be Average</a> &mdash; To not be financially average, live below your means and do everything you can to grow your income. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/What-Does-Obamacare-Passing-Mean-Me-23767471">Obamacare Ruling: A Simple Breakdown Of What It Means For You</a> &mdash; The Obamacare law's fate depends on the November elections. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-cheap-must-do-trips-every-child-should-take">5 Cheap &quot;Trips&quot; Every Child Should Take</a> &mdash; Be sure to take your child camping and to local landmarks. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/29/6-ways-to-find-a-job-in-an-unfamiliar-city/?section=money_pf&amp;utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fmoney_pf+%28Personal+Finance%29">6 ways to find a job in an unfamiliar city</a> &mdash; When looking for a job in an unfamiliar city, utilize social media outlets. [CNNMoney]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://money.msn.com/frugal-living/post.aspx?_p=cf966c31-3474-49df-b97b-cdd3456a5826&amp;ref=bfv&amp;post=1db4fdc1-9f2c-4a59-ba53-1c8d200805e4">How you can live rent-free</a> &mdash; It is possible to live rent free by house-sitting or caretaking but be prepared to do some serious couch surfing. [MSN Money]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/slideshow/25-more-ways-to-waste-money/1.html">25 MORE Ways to Waste Your Money</a> &mdash; Don't waste your money by shopping without having a plan. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/workathome-parttime-jobs-stayathome-parents.html">Work-at-Home Part-Time Jobs for Stay-at-Home Parents</a> &mdash; Are you a stay-at-home parent looking for a work-at-home part-time job? Consider being a virtual assistant. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://time.com/money/2791961/should-i-save-or-pay-off-debt/">Should I Save or Pay Off Debt?</a> &mdash; It's not an all or nothing thing -- you need to do both. [Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/your-rights-under-the-fair-credit-reporting-act/">Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act</a> &mdash; Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you may get your credit report for free once a year. [Credit Sesame]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-on-eating-out">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/8-nifty-tips-for-getting-the-most-from-an-all-you-can-eat-buffet">8 Nifty Tips for Getting the Most from an All-You-Can Eat Buffet</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bridging-the-gap-from-dining-out-to-eating-in">Bridging The Gap From Dining Out To Eating In</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/the-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling">The 14 Best Ways to Cut Food Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips dining eating out Mon, 02 Jul 2012 10:00:08 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 937281 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Save on Eating Out http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-on-eating-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-on-eating-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4625640282_1b1eaeaa5b_z-1.jpg" alt="Save on Eating Out" title="Save on Eating Out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on saving on eating out, smart couponing strategies, and secrets to making this year the best year ever.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Save-Money-Restaurants-21090530">Save on Eating Out in 2012 With These 12 Realistic Tips!</a> &mdash; To save money when eating out, try ordering plates to share. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://notmadeofmoney.com/blog/2011/12/smart-couponing-strategies-to-maximize-your-grocery-savings.html">Smart Couponing Strategies to Maximize Your Grocery Savings</a> &mdash; Maximize your grocery savings by using the coupon strategy of combining store sales with coupons. [Not Made Of Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2011/12/7-secrets-to-making-this-year-best-year.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DumbLittleMan+%28Dumb+Little+Man+-+tips+for+life%29">7 Secrets to Making This Year the Best Year Ever</a> &mdash; To make this year the best year ever, focus on what is most important to you. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2011/12/29/5-credit-card-predictions-for-2012/">5 Credit Card Predictions for 2012</a> &mdash; Expect more non-mileage perks from credit cards in 2012. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-get-better-debit-card-rewards-from-banks">How to Get Better Debit Card Rewards from Banks</a> &mdash; Want to get better debit card rewards? Try using a debit card from a smaller bank. [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/3-ways-to-stick-to-your-new-years-resolutions-and-become-financially-fit-in-2012/">3 Ways to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions and Become Financially Fit in 2012</a> &mdash; Stick to your New Year's resolutions by making the most of what you already have. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2011/12/good-advice-from-fmf-readers.html">Good Advice from FMF Readers</a> &mdash; One of the top reasons why a resume gets rejected: not telling the recruiter why you are right for the job from the getgo. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/speed-up-and-get-out-of-debt-faster/">10 Strategies to Boost Your Income and Get Out of Debt Fast</a> &mdash; Pay down your debt by renting out an extra room in your home. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.quizzle.com/blog/2011/12/save-money-winterizing-your-car/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+QuizzleWire+%28Quizzle+Wire+&raquo;+Personal+Finance+Blog%29">Save Money Winterizing Your Car</a> &mdash; To save money winterizing your car, remember to properly pressurize your tires. [Quizzle Wire]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/career/how-to-maintain-a-bright-career-path-as-a-stay-at-home-parent/">How to Maintain a Bright Career Path as a Stay at Home Parent</a> &mdash; Continue to have a bright career path even if you are a stay at home parent by taking classes. [MoneyNing]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-on-eating-out">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/8-nifty-tips-for-getting-the-most-from-an-all-you-can-eat-buffet">8 Nifty Tips for Getting the Most from an All-You-Can Eat Buffet</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bridging-the-gap-from-dining-out-to-eating-in">Bridging The Gap From Dining Out To Eating In</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/the-14-best-ways-to-cut-food-costs-while-traveling">The 14 Best Ways to Cut Food Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips dining eating out Mon, 02 Jan 2012 11:00:14 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 848500 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Often Do You Eat Out? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1135876473_dbbb64dccf_z-1.jpg" alt="How Often Do You Eat Out?" title="How Often Do You Eat Out?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-out#comment-510287"><em>Angie W</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-out#comment-509780"><em>Hollie</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-out#comment-509754"><em>Lezlee</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>There's no way around it, everyone has to eat. If you are frugal, chances are you opt to make your own food as opposed to eating out. But every once in awhile, be it for social or convenience reasons, a dining experience at a local restaurant tends to be the norm for most people.</p> <p><strong>How often do you eat out? &nbsp;</strong>Once a week? Every other week? Only on special occasions? When you eat out, do you do anything to save money?&nbsp;</p> <p>Tell us how often you eat out and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, October 3rd at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after October 3rd on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p>Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.</p> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how often you eat out and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-out">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/9-restaurant-secret-menu-items-thatll-actually-save-you-money">9 Restaurant Secret Menu Items That&#039;ll Actually Save you Money</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/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-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/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/ask-the-readers-have-you-ever-re-gifted">Ask the Readers: Have You Ever Re-Gifted?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers eating out Food restaurants Tue, 27 Sep 2011 10:36:15 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 715409 at http://www.wisebread.com How Water Can Save You $977 a Year http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4162309645_313013153e.jpg" alt="glass of water" title="glass of water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us eat out at least once a week. In fact, renowned culinary experts Zagat recently announced that although we are dining out less as a nation (due to the poor economy) we are <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/zagats-2011-americas-top-restaurants-guide-reveals-that-the-weak-economy-continues-to-cut-into-dining-habits-105837223.html">still eating out an average of 3.1 times per week</a>. That's the average of course, some of us are eating out daily. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out">A Cheapskate's Guide to Eating Out</a>)</p> <p>And when we eat out, be it at a fast food restaurant or something more refined, we drink soda. Oh, how we drink soda. As a nation, we can't get enough of it. <a href="http://www.drozfans.com/dr-ozs-advice/dr-oz-28-day-national-challenge-soda-soft-drinks/">According to Dr. Oz</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>53 million Americans drink at least one soda a day, and we spent $70 billion last year on soda.</p> </blockquote> <p>That got me thinking. How much would we save, on average, if we substituted tap water (not bottled, please) for soda every time we ate out. Every restaurant, fast food or otherwise, has given me free water with my meal when I ask for it. And remember, I'm not talking about substituting every single soda we drink &mdash; just the ones that accompany the meals we eat away from home.</p> <p>First, let's review the numbers we're dealing with.</p> <p>We already know that we eat out 3.1 times per week. Now take the average family size, which according to <a href="http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts">2009 US Census data is 3.19 people</a>. And, as we're playing with averages, what's the median cost of a soda?</p> <p>Well, the cost of soda is obviously going to change depending on where you live and where you eat. A glass of soda at a high end restaurant in New York is not going to be the meager $1 McDonald's charges (although that's still a huge mark-up). I've paid almost $5 for a glass of Coke in a trendy gastro-pub. But I did some digging and found out that there is generally a recommended price for a 20oz soda with free refills. That <a href="http://www.foodservice.com/articles/food-cost/Costing-Out-Soda-Free-Refills-in-Foodservice-How-to-Price-Soda/">price is $1.75 plus tax</a>. So, let's round that up to $1.90.</p> <p>Here's the math:</p> <ul> <li>We eat out 3.1 times per week.</li> <li>3.19 people make up the average family.</li> <li>With 52 weeks in a year, that makes roughly 514 glasses of soda every year for an average family.</li> <li><strong>514 x $1.90 = $977!</strong></li> </ul> <p><strong>What could you do with an extra $977 a year?</strong></p> <p>Right now, you could buy a really nice laptop, a whole new wardrobe, or it could go towards a vacation for your family. And all for substituting water for soda <em>only</em> when you eat out. It's not like you're giving it up entirely. Think it over.</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/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year">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/7-soda-alternatives-that-wont-bust-your-wallet-or-your-waistline">7 Soda Alternatives That Won&#039;t Bust Your Wallet — Or Your Waistline</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</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-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</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/bridging-the-gap-from-dining-out-to-eating-in">Bridging The Gap From Dining Out To Eating In</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink General Tips cost of eating out cost of soda eating out restaurants soda substitute tap water water Tue, 29 Mar 2011 11:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 513977 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Secrets Restaurants Don't Want You to Know http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/227409095_101c73ccf3_z.jpg" alt="restaurant table" title="restaurant table" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans love eating out, and they do it often too. It's not unheard of for someone to eat out more than 10 times every week. Yet this is one area where practice doesn't always make perfect. Below are six secrets that even the typical &quot;eat-out junkie&quot; probably doesn't know. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/restaurant-recipes-at-home-cooked-prices">Restaurant Recipes at Home-Cooked Prices</a>)</p> <h3>Specials are what we want you to order.</h3> <p>It's well known that whatever is on the &quot;recommended&quot; list boosts popularity by another 30%. If the waiters/waitresses push for them, the number goes even higher. Sometimes we want you to order them because that's the tastiest dish, so you will leave a bigger tip. Other times, we push certain dishes because the ingredients are about to expire or the profit margins are the highest. We might try different combinations to up-sell you more food so you will end up paying more, too.</p> <h3>We prepare your food ahead of time.</h3> <p>We want you to come in and get out so the next customer can sit down. In order to do that, we have to prepare as much as possible in advance. Sometimes it includes preparing salads and putting everything in the fridge. Other times it means cooking your food for half the time in the morning so we can finish the rest when you order it at night. If you can't tell, we won't tell.</p> <h3>Some days are just better than others.</h3> <p>Not many fishermen would go out on Sundays, so forget fresh seafood on Mondays. Then there's the head chef, dictating everything around the kitchen...until he's off one day, of course. Eat at the restaurant on that particular day of the week, and you have the best chance of trying out how great our microwave is.</p> <h3>We could be serving a special if you order steak medium well or well done.</h3> <p>A secret to getting rid of steak gone bad is to serve it to customers who order their meat fully cooked. Since the flavor is just about all gone by the time the steak is well done, no one will know the steak was bad in the first place.</p> <h3>You must be nuts to eat those free nuts.</h3> <p>We offer free refills on these, and when you leave, we just fill the bowl up and serve it to the next customer without washing the bowl. Since we can't control who washes their hands after a bathroom visit, you are on your own if you love the free food we give you.</p> <h3>Different customers will pay different prices.</h3> <p>You know that guy over there? He paid less than half you did because he used a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-50-or-more-on-local-stuff-with-groupon-and-others">Restaurant.com coupon</a>. You will never know, though, and we'll be happy to charge you full price every time you come in, even if you are one of our loyal customers.</p> <p>If you read all of the above and still become a regular at our restaurant, I know you probably have no other choice but to come, in which case I will probably raise the prices on the menu, too.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-restaurants-dont-want-you-to-know">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/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-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/the-worlds-most-affordable-michelin-starred-restaurants">The World&#039;s Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink dining out eating out entertainment restaurants Tue, 05 Oct 2010 14:01:12 +0000 David Ning 254557 at http://www.wisebread.com A Cheapskate’s Guide to Eating Out http://www.wisebread.com/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2212814692_682e6a878a.jpg" alt="Happy Food" title="Happy Food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was a young lad, eating out was something of a luxury for my family. Most of our meals, at least 95%, were prepared and eaten at home. This was the model for most people my age or older. But these days, society has migrated to eating out of the home way more often. The result is that we&rsquo;re spending a lot more on food than we used to. So, are there ways to chop the bill and eat out for less? You bet.</p> <h3>1. Share your soft drink</h3> <p>Most of the time, my wife and I find that one drink is adequate for both of us. But in this day and age of countless free refills, we will never run short of our soft drink anyway. It&rsquo;s not much, but a couple of bucks saved every time you order a drink at a restaurant or fast food place really adds up. And that goes for the kids&rsquo; drinks, too. My kids are quite happy to share a juice box or fountain drink. Oh, and before anyone cries for the poor fast food joints or restaurant chains, it&rsquo;s worth noting that the average fountain drink costs the restaurant around 20 cents and they charge you around 10 times that for the beverage. So, I&rsquo;m not losing any sleep over it; they&rsquo;re still making an insane profit from any drinks we order.</p> <h3>2. Don&rsquo;t be shy &mdash; use coupons</h3> <p>I see people hand over coupons at the grocery store all the time, but in fast food places it happens less; and in restaurants, it&rsquo;s even more rare. There seems to be a taboo about coupons in restaurants, maybe because people feel like they&rsquo;re picking the pockets of the waiter who is looking them right in the face. As several commenters have pointed out, your waiter will gladly accept coupons as long as you remember to tip the waiter based on the price of the bill BEFORE the coupon was deducted. That way, you get the saving, the waiter gets the same tips, and only the restaurant chain itself is out of pocket. But as the coupon enticed you in, the loss of revenue is worth it for the extra custom. Therefore, bring on the coupons, hand them over proudly and enjoy your free grub.</p> <h3>3. Be wary of the advice from your waiter</h3> <p>When we go into a restaurant we&rsquo;re unfamiliar with, we will often ask our waiter &ldquo;so what do you like?&rdquo; or &ldquo;what do you recommend?&rdquo; Unsurprisingly, our helpful waiter usually picks from the more expensive end of the menu. Rarely do we hear &ldquo;go for the burger&rdquo; if there&rsquo;s a filet mignon for four times the price. The more expensive items mean a larger bill, which equates to a larger tip. It may well be a great meal, but it may also stretch your budget; so, load the question with something more useful, like &ldquo;what do you recommend in the $8-$10 range?&rdquo;</p> <h3>4. Order apps as main courses</h3> <p>Appetizers are supposed to whet your appetite for the main meal. Have you seen appetizers these day though? They&rsquo;re just as big as the main meal! I ordered potato skins a few months ago and could hardly finish half of my main course. So, although they&rsquo;re cheaper and labeled as appetizers, there&rsquo;s no reason not to order them as a main course.</p> <h3>5. Split a meal</h3> <p>Many restaurants these days go way overboard on portions. A restaurant I go to occasionally called Claim Jumper serves half and full portions. They recommend the half portions unless you&rsquo;re insanely hungry. So, as the full portion is only a few bucks more, it&rsquo;s well worth asking for that and an extra plate. You can also split the rest of the food, including salads and dessert, and will no doubt be surprised at how satisfied you are with the amount of food you got to eat. Half portions these days are like whole portions from the fifties.</p> <h3>6. Take advantage of your birthday</h3> <p>Hey, it only comes around once a year (unless you&rsquo;re the Queen of England) so make full use of the special offers handed out by restaurants and fast food joints. A few near me give you a free entrée on your birthday. Others do a BOGO, and some offer free drinks or desserts. And remember, that infamous fake birthday song that most places sing to the guest of honor, well, that comes with a free cake or free ice-cream. Sure, you have to endure 30 seconds of embarrassment, but for free dessert? Go for it.</p> <h3>7. Get the salad bar three-course meal</h3> <p>These days, salad bars are becoming the norm in many restaurants. They&rsquo;re easy to stock, they&rsquo;re self-serve and most people don&rsquo;t take full advantage of them. But you really can just order the salad bar and do very well for yourself. Start with salad and bread, move on to the pasta dishes and finish with fruit, cheeses, pudding or anything else that&rsquo;s on offer. At about $8-$9, it&rsquo;s not a lot to pay for a healthy three-course meal.</p> <h3>8. And then there&rsquo;s the buffet&hellip;</h3> <p>Whether you love Indian food, Mexican, Chinese or traditional meat &lsquo;n&rsquo; potatoes grub, buffets are a great way to feed your whole family for around $20-$30. Now, buffets get a lot of criticism because the food is not always the best quality and the atmosphere is hardly conducive to a wonderful evening out. But this is budget dining, and if you choose good foods (vegetables, fresh fruit, salads, pastas, the grill and so on) you can have a great meal for peanuts. Usually, kids get in for free or a few bucks per head. Our local Country Buffet has been packed out every time we visited recently. In tough times, the buffets get the customers.</p> <h3>9. Doggie bags rule</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re not into the idea of splitting a meal with someone else (or you&rsquo;re eating alone) then split the meal with yourself. As I&rsquo;ve mentioned earlier, portion sizes are huge these days, so eat half of your meal and ask for a box for the rest. This splits the cost of your meal in two, and dinner has already been made for you for the following day.</p> <h3>10. Look for half-off gift certificates</h3> <p>My favorite site by far for this is <a href="http://www.halfoffdeals.com/">halfoffdeals.com</a>. You can buy gift certificates to over 41,000 restaurants for around 50% of their face value. You can search by zip code or city, and there&rsquo;s even an email alert system to tell you when new deals go live. Most certificates do come with restrictions, which is why you get such a great deal. A common one is that you don&rsquo;t get any cash back from your certificate, if there&rsquo;s any left. But if you pay $15 for a $25, do you care about the extra $5 anyway? And remember, you can always order something to take home.</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/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out">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/bridging-the-gap-from-dining-out-to-eating-in">Bridging The Gap From Dining Out To Eating In</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/crappy-service-great-food-what-to-do">Crappy service, great food...what to do?</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</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 dining out eating out restaurant Wed, 26 Aug 2009 16:00:01 +0000 Paul Michael 3543 at http://www.wisebread.com Bridging The Gap From Dining Out To Eating In http://www.wisebread.com/bridging-the-gap-from-dining-out-to-eating-in <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bridging-the-gap-from-dining-out-to-eating-in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Bridge across New Zealand River.jpg" alt="Bridge across New Zealand River" title="Bridge across New Zealand River" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Reading Anthony’s post about frugal roadblocks (<a href="/budget-busters" title="http://www.wisebread.com/budget-busters">Budget Busters</a>) reminded me of my cooking/dining struggles when I was first starting out. Though I never had any problem skimping on housing and transportation, my line was drawn on nourishment. Reading his post made me realize that there is a huge leap from eating out many meals as a busy professional to cooking nearly every meal in an established household. <br /> <br />Here are my strategies for bridging that gap: </p> <ul> <li>Eat lunch out with these caveats: get a vegetable plate or something reasonably healthful (entrée with 2 veggies); don’t get something that you can fix easily at home such as pizza or spaghetti.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Have a light dinner (salad, soup, and/or sandwich) on the days you eat your lunches out. Those are inexpensive to prepare at home and very easy to make. You’ll save on your energy bill by cooking and washing dishes less. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Eat at home even if you don’t cook at home. You’ll develop the habit of taking the time to sit down sometime before 8 p.m. (hopefully) to enjoy a meal. And it’s easier to split a large restaurant meal or Chinese take-out at home. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Snack before dinner – the snack won’t ruin your dinner and it will help you have the energy to cook. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Buy high quality prepared foods from retail caterers; you’ll get a home-cooked meal at less than restaurant prices and reinforce the fun of eating at home. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Take a cooking class. I took classes at my community college and learned how to wash spinach and cook a roast. My instructor was the expert who could diagnose reasons for cooking failures and offer reasonably priced substitutions for unusual, budget-busting ingredients. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Try new recipes on the weekends or days you get home early. If a recipe takes a while (the prep time in cookbooks underestimate active time by at least 50%), then you won’t be starved come dinnertime; start around 4 p.m. and you should be fine. At some point, you’ll learn that spaghetti with meat sauce and a roast (buy an eye-of-round roast, put it in the crock pot with cream of mushroom soup and/or dried onion soup mix, cook on low for 4-6 hours) takes far less than time than stuffed mushrooms.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Rename your creations: at my house, a burned entree might become blackened chicken. </li> </ul> <p>It seems that Anthony has made major progress in his quest to reduce food costs but if you are looking for ideas to bridge the chasm from restaurant meals to daily home-cooking, I hope these tips help. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bridging-the-gap-from-dining-out-to-eating-in">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/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/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out">A Cheapskate’s Guide to Eating Out</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</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/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year">How to Save an Extra $1,094.86 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink Cooking dining out eating at home eating in eating out Wed, 06 Feb 2008 15:59:04 +0000 Julie Rains 1751 at http://www.wisebread.com