If you’re spending too much money on dining out, the most sensible way to save money is obviously to start eating in more and cooking your own meals. However, for those occasions when you deserve to treat yourself to a meal out, here are a few tips that will help you to spend less on meals out so that you don’t feel so guilty.
Create a monthly budget
It’s worth creating an eating out budget for each month – this gives you a limit as to what you can spend so that you can resist getting food out too often. This could include lunch snacks and even getting coffees out. It could also prevent you from splashing out too much on one meal.
Pay in cash
People generally spend less when relying on cash. By taking out cash first, you can give yourself a budget to stick to when ordering your food. You certainly don’t want to be relying on credit card – if you often find yourself flashing the plastic, you may want to consider leaving this at home next time you eat out to avoid the temptation.
Shop for vouchers online
Vouchers are a great way to save money on meals out. You can find voucher codes online – some of which can get you discounts of up to 50%. By joining restaurant mailing lists, you may also get awarded free vouchers.
Take advantage of loyalty schemes
Some restaurants have loyalty schemes that may allow you to collect points and eventually get a discount on food. These include Subway points and Starbucks rewards. By making use of these points you can save money on eating out.
Keep your eye out for temporary deals
It’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for deals. Local restaurants may offer meal deals on certain days, in which case you’re best timing your visit for this day. By following restaurants on social media you can also stay aware of various promotions. Some restaurants may also offer promotions that allow kids to eat free.
Go easy on the drinks
Restaurants make their biggest profit on drinks – you’ll usually pay twice the price than you would were you to buy these drinks from a supermarket. In other words, think twice before ordering that second bottle of wine as you may be better off going home an opening a bottle.
Many takeaway restaurants will try to encourage you to spend a minimum amount before being allowed to deliver. Unless you know you’re going to spend more than this amount, don’t order more food just to get the free delivery – you’re much better off collecting from the restaurant if it’s in easy driving distance.
Take your leftovers home in a doggy bag
Taking food home that you aren’t able to finish could save you money on your next meal at home. Most restaurants will have no problem with you taking food home with the exception of all-you-can-eat buffets which generally have rules against this.