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How to save money when dining out

Eating at home is the cheapest way to go, but with a busy life that's easier said than done. We often find ourselves dining out even though we'd like to save money by eating at home. The good news is there's a lot you can do to save money when dining out! Here is some information that will help:

10 Ways to Save Money Eating Out at Restaurants (Money Crashers)

How to Eat for Free and Other Tips for Saving Money at Restaurants (The Penny Hoarder)

A quick rundown of the information in the links above, here are some tips to save money when dining out:
  • Eat at a restaurant where you serve yourself: This means cheaper prices since the restaurant doesn't have to pay for a wait staff (as a plus, you usually don't need to pay gratuity either since there is no one serving you) - Note: Of course if you're eating at a restaurant where you have wait staff and you have received good service, definitely tip appropriately!
  • Get it to go so you don't have to pay gratuity since you aren't being served
  • Join the Birthday and Anniversary Clubs at restaurants: This means you can usually get a discount or free items on those special occasions
  • Split a meal with someone else: One can order a salad, soup or appetizer, and the other can order the entree
  • Take home leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day
  • Skip the drinks and just opt for a free glass of water
  • Look for discount coupons and special offers online and in the mail
  • Buy discounted gift cards for restaurants
  • Use a cash-back credit card
  • Take advantage of free kids meals, lots of restaurants offer them


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