Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
Not much is better than going out to eat: no dishes to wash, no complaints from your kids, and best of all, a break from cooking. Unfortunately, eating out is also great way to drain your bank account. In fact, in 2013, 68% of Americans visited at least one casual dining restaurant per week, yielding $683.36 billion in sales. So how does one eat out without spending a fortune ? These simple tips will leave you with both a full stomach and wallet.
If you have a favorite restaurant, subscribe to their email list or follow them on social media, and pay attention to their weekly deals. Just like retailers, the restaurant industry likes to reward loyal customers. Buy subscribing to a restaurants email list you are likely to receive free appetizers, desserts, and much more. For example if you are a coffee lover, sign up for Starbucks’ rewards program. This reward program allows you to earn free drinks and food. Bottom line, always take advantage of a loyalty program; every small discount adds up.
Do you tend to eat out on the weekends? Try switching your date night to a Tuesday or Wednesday. Experts say the best night to eat out is Tuesday night, as many local restaurants are often slow and will offer Tuesday night deals, such as half-off bottles of wine or discounted dishes.
Pay attention to your local restaurants’ weekly deals. Several restaurants will offer a kids eat free night, or a 25-cent wing night. Make a point of keeping a list of these deals in your area, and check your list prior to choosing your restaurant.
Early bird, anyone? Several restaurants still offer deals for the early eater. Another great option is hitting up your local happy hour to take advantage of half-price appetizers and cheap drinks. Can’t make it out by 6 p.m.? Several bar/restaurants are offering late-night deals, typically after 9 p.m., to lure in late-night diners.
Discount deal sites are a great way to make eating out affordable, saving you a considerable amount.
Restaurant.com allows you to search by restaurant name, cuisine type, city, or zip code, 0ffering over 50,000 restaurants daily. Each offering has verified diner reviews and menu tips. Once you find your restaurant choice, choose your gift card amount, usually at 50% off. For example, a $50 gift card for $25. Simply present your gift card when dining to receive your savings.
Groupon is another great deal site, highlighting local and national food and drink deals, offering deep discounts on a variety of cuisines.
LivingSocial offers a number of free restaurant coupons, typically 20% off a number of dining options. Additionally a number of local restaurant flash sales.
Gilt City provides members with discounted high-end dining experiences. allowing for access to access to award wining restaurants for half the price.
With just a little legwork you can save a pretty penny when eating out, your budget and family will thank you.