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12 Ways To Save Money When Eating Out

12 ways to save money when eating out. Here are my top tips on how to cut down on your bill and save more pennies in your pocket!

For many of us, myself included dining out is how we like to socialise with friends or family. I must admit I do eat out a lot, however I have recently cut back and now try not to eat out too often these days. Dining out often can be expensive, however it doesn't need to be with a few strategic choices you can keep the cost under control.

Here are 12 ways to save money when eating out.

1. Eat lunch instead of dinner

We all know that lunch meals are typically less expensive than dinner at restaurants especially as many offer a light lunch menu or discounted prices so eating lunch instead of dinner is a great way to save money while eating out at restaurants. I rarely eat out in the evenings, mainly because I don't have a babysitter but also because it tends to be cheaper at lunch time and I don't feel like I need to order a starter or dessert.

2. Don't get sucked into ordering side orders

More often than not your waitress will ask you whether you'd like to order any side orders with your meals or upgrades on your chips for example. These are up-selling techniques which many restaurants use to increase profit. Working the hospitality industry myself I am a custom to this skill and will offer side orders when taking orders out of habit. 9 times out of 10 the customer will take up the offer and have a side of chips or garlic bread with their meal. Think back to the last few times you've eaten out, how often did you get sucked into ordering a side dish but you either didn't really want it or you could have been satisfied without it? Next time you eat out, remind yourself that you won't order any additional side orders to save on money! 

3. Drink water

Instead of spending money on drinks as for a jug of tap water instead. Water is free and will keep the cost of your meal out down. If you're offered still or sparkling water insist that you want tap water, you are allowed to order it even if restaurants don't offer it. You could save up to £15 on drinks as the average person will order 2-3 drinks during an evening meal which could include wine and cocktails. 

4. Look for coupons/offers

Keep an eye out in newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes, Facebook and also coupon websites online for money off vouchers, discount codes and special offers such as "2 meals for £10" or "Buy one meal and get a dessert free at Nandos". There are coupons and offers practically everywhere so if you can get money off your meal before even taking other money saving tips into consideration it's a win win situation. Don't forget to cut them out or print them off before dining out. 

5. Kids eat free options

Many restaurants especially child friendly eateries offer "kids eat free" options during specific times, for example kids eat free before 6pm Mon-Fri when ordering an adults meal. If you have two or more children this can work out extremely well if you have two adults ordering a main course. 

6. Order sharing options

Instead of everyone ordering a starter at £6-10 each why not order a platter to share, garlic bread or a bread tin. There are also many sharing options for main meals too which can work out a lot cheaper than buying individual meals. It's a great option if you really want to eat out but don't want to spend a lot. 

7. Think about what you order

Before you order think over your order so you don't end up ordering too much. I always used to order far too much and would end up wasting it which meant I was wasting money. Now when I go out, I will make sure I take my time when looking over the menu instead of rushing and will also think to myself do I really need to order a starter, main course as well as a side of garlic bread as I'll most likely not eat it all and just order a main course instead. 

8. Have a snack before you go out to eat

By eating a light snack half an hour or so before you eat out you won't be as hungry and tempted to order more than you can stomach. I tend to eat a snack bar or a packet of crisps before going out to curb my hunger and find that I'm not as hungry so won't order too much.

9. Use apps to find deals

Many restaurants such as Pizza express, Nandos all offer discount codes online through apps so it's always worth checking what offers they have on that day before going out to eat. Most places will accept a code via your smartphone if you have one which means you don't need to print them off. It's worth downloading apps such as Myvouchercode and Vouchercloud.

10. Opt for a takeaway

Unless you've been invited out for a meal with friends or are booking a table for a special occasion such as an anniversary or birthday meal decide if you really want to eat out or could you stay in for the evening and order a takeaway? This way you feel as if you're still treating yourself but instead of spending £80 you could save £60 by ordering a takeout for as little as £20!

11. Skip dessert

An easy way to save money off your bill when eating out is to skip dessert, although this may be harder for some if you always order a dessert. Perhaps you could skip a starter instead if you really do want a dessert. 

12. Take home leftovers

If you can't manage to finish your meal or are feeling rather full stop eating and ask to take home the left overs. That way you can have it for lunch the next day. Many places will give you a pizza box or a container to take anything with you. If you don't want to ask, you could always bring your own with you instead.

Oh and don't forget to sign up to restaurant newsletters as they'll often send your vouchers and their latest deals especially for your birthday! 

How do you save money when eating out at restaurants? I'd love to hear your tips! 

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25 comments

  1. Great tips here. I always look at the prices and then I decide from my price budget what I order.
    Another one is.... Try not to split the bill, just pay for what you have actually eaten.

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  2. Nice tips! I often find that the more expensive dishes are less filling and are most of the time not worth the cost. Skipping on dessert and drinking water is a great way to also save money as well as reduce your appetite.

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  3. Ordering water and no dessert is always what we do. Coupons or eating early you get deals.

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  4. Seems like most kids nights in my area are on Tuesdays, so we've made it our family night to eat out recently.

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  5. Great tips. I LOVE eating out. I even look for reasons why its better to go out to eat. But it can burn a hole thru the wallet quickly. I'll definitely keep these tips in mind.

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  6. Great tips! We only ever drink water and sometimes use mobile apps to save too!

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  7. Great tips! We don't qualify for the kids eat free anymore. One thing we do is share appetizers and go during happy hour. That is a huge money saver.

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  8. I def need to order takeout more often. The money you save from the tip alone and other temptations! Great read!

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  9. Great tips, I always end up ordering side orders and then not finishing them and getting a dessert but regretting it haha! I must have more willpower next time :)

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  10. We always use coupons when eating out except at our favorite little old time diner. Great tips!

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  11. Whenever my husband i are going out out - I'm always doing the coupon/discount check online first. It worthwhile doing.

    www.annanuttall.com

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  12. These are fantastic tips! My hubby and love to eat out, and although I am a food blogger, I get too lazy to cook as it's just the two of us. One thing I like to do to save money is buy restaurant gift cards at Costco. Sometimes, we can get $100 in value gift cards for restaurants for like $75.

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  13. Really great tips! I like dining out way more than I should, and thus spend way too much money on it. Boo!

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  14. We love eating out and it really eats into our budget! What we've found really useful is to check out the menu online before we go so we more or less know what we want and have a rough idea of how much we need to spend. Also, never go out when you're very hungry! (Same advice when grocery shopping lol)

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  15. These are all such good reminders. I choose lunch too because it is so much cheaper.


    Xoxo,
    Angelle
    www.dashingdarlin.com

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  16. Drinking water and skipping dessert allows full enjoyment of the food itself as well! Love these tips!

    xo, alice / T Y P E N U

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  17. From one personal finance blogger to another, this is so so helpful. Loads of great advice that goes beyond the usual "get a voucher" Thank you!
    Hannah (Feaststylethrive.com)

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  18. Great list... I also search out happy hours so that we can take advantage of those ;)

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  19. These are all such great tips - even if you aren't trying to save money. Being mindful of what you're ordering is so important!

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