How to Save Money When Eating Out

I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again.  I love going out to eat.  There's something about instant gratification and delicious tastes that I can never seem to replicate that keep me coming back for more.  And best of all?  No mess in the kitchen.  Sold!

For us, Friday (always), Saturday (always), Sunday (sometimes), and a random weekday (sometimes) are more often than not spent eating in a restaurant.  With that being said, it can add up quickly if you're not careful with where you go and what you order. But for us, we have our ordering down to a science and can easily walk out with a bill under $20 for two every time.  There's also a few popular places we've figured out how to eat at for a little over $10.  For us, that's cheap entertainment.  Some choose to spend their money on going to the movies, we choose to spend ours on food, especially if it's the same price as cooking for two depending on the dish.  

Here's a few ways we save money when eating out:
how to save money when eating outFind a place with happy hour specials.  
Not only are drinks cheaper, food will be too, and sometimes even free!  I personally love Mexican food, so I found a place nearby that not only has cheap margaritas every evening, but gives free queso also!  That's an instant saver right there, because hello, who doesn't order queso!?

Split food.
Going with a friend, boyfriend, etc?  Lucky you because most restaurants give enough food in one entree to feed two!  Try splitting an entree and order an extra side or two if needed.  You'll most likely have plenty of food and still leave feeling full.

Join the mailing list.
A lot of restaurants will offer a free appetizer, dessert, or buy one get one free entree just for joining their mailing list!  After the initial sign up deal, weekly deals usually keep coming in, which always helps.

Use Groupon.
This is a great way to get your food for half off and a very cheap way to try new places without draining your bank account.  You can easily find deals for $20 worth of food for $10.  You really can't beat that.  

Dine Early.
Some restaurants have lunch menus that are available late enough to eat an early dinner.  Take advantage of those specials.

Find your favorites on social media.
A lot of restaurants will offer specials discounts to their followers.  Like the Facebook page or follow on Twitter and you may find a deal or two.

Don't order drinks.
Yeah yeah, easier said than done.  But drinks can add up quickly, especially alcohol, and can often cost more than your food.  Try finding a BYOB place and bring your own wine.  Or if you must have your happy hour margarita, don't order a soda with it.  Have a water, you may need the hydration anyway.

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