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Saving on Dining

frugalfridays.jpg I think I have made it quite clear that I am a fan of coupons. One of my other loves: eating out. You should know I am a bit of an eating out snob. I hate chain restaurants which makes it difficult to stay frugal.

I think I have blogged about this before, but here’s the deal. I think I am a pretty good cook and feel like going out is a bit of a break for me. So I don’t want to go to some restaurant with lame decor, mediocre food, and a bunch of families with crazy kids. If I wanted all of that, I would stay home. So unless it is a family outing, I pretty much steer clear of the chains.

However I still find ways to save money when eating out. One is Restaurant.com which I blogged about here. But even when I don’t use that, I rarely pay full price when eating out. Here are a few tips:

  1. If you like chains, many of them have coupons in the Sunday paper. Tonight, we had a “buy one entree, get one free” coupon that we used at Smokey Bones (Lily’s favorite restaurant). 4 of us had a meal with plenty of leftovers for around $20.
  2. Tons of restaurants have email lists that you can subscribe to where they send you special deals and coupons. If you have a favorite, see if they have a website to sign up. This is especially true of chain restaurants, but often times even the higher end restaurants have something.
  3. Many of the nicest restaurants in our town have frequent dining programs. Sometimes there is a small fee associated with it, but if you eat there a lot it may be worth it. I spent $35 on one this year that has gotten me over $200 worth of free food thus far. Well worth it.
  4. We have a local magazine that every month offers a coupon for a local restaurant. They are almost always buy 1 entree, get one free. They are for some of the swankiest places in town. You end up paying high prices per entree, but the other one is free so it evens out. The best part is you have to fill out a card to redeem your coupon which has resulted in us getting on several mailing lists for more coupons. See if there is anything like this in your area.

I know that eating out is a luxury and may not seem frugal to everyone, but we do it once or twice a month as a date. Babysitting is always free (thanks Grandparents) so it doesn’t take up too much of our budget. Hope you found something useful in my tips.

For more, head over to Biblical Womanhood.

Comments

  1. Another place to look is the back of register receipts. There are a couple of resteraunts that have coupons for buy one entree, get the second half off. Also, check if they offer any deals on birthdays, aniversaries etc.

  2. BethanySue says:

    Thanks for the tip. I will have to try that. When it comes to chains I must admit I love Cheesecake Factory.

  3. lifeafterbaby says:

    Dan and I are trying the restaurant.com deal for the first time tonight–I searched the web for a coupon code to get an extra 50% off the price of the coupon code, so we got a %10 gift certificate for only $1.50. I printed it off at home, and we’re ready to go out tonight. I think I’ll use this for gifts in the future–what a deal!

    I’m with you on the loving to cook, so eating out is a TREAT! We also eat at Costco for around $6 for our family of 5 and almost always bring home 1/2 a hot dot and 1/2 a slice of pizza for lunch the next day as well. Can’t beat that. Especially since we don’t drink soda–our sharing one bottomlessly-refillable cup of soda is da bomb.

  4. Good tips. I’ll be checking out the restaurant email thing. Hubs and I will be getting a date or two in a couple of weeks.

    Love me some Smoky Bones too!

  5. SAHMmy Says says:

    Great tips! I hate to admit it, but I love the corporate chain restaurants! Having worked for many different restaurants over the years, the corporate chains are the cleanest by far! I like knowing that a clean environment is supported by corporate checks and balances, not up to the whim of the mom & pop hole in the wall.

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