Frugal Eating Out
In the light of the recent economic events in the United States, many journalists have started to point out the fact that we Americans are still throwing money out the window despite their sensitive financial status. From bottled water and energy drinks to coffee and eating out on lunch breaks all the time, it appears that some people don’t want to give up on the little pleasures.
The good news is that they don’t have to. If you enjoy having lunch, brunch or dinner at the restaurant rather than settle for that notorious frozen meal in front of the TV at home, here are 10 tricks you can employ to shave a great percentage off your bill and even eat for free, in no particular order.
- Purchase gift certificates from your favorite restaurants
Even though it is true that you have to meet a minimum purchase requirement and most of the gift certificates are dine-in only, these setback are minor compared to the advantages. To put it simply, by acquiring a few gift certificates to your favorite restaurants and carrying them in your pocket with you all the time, you will be paying approximately 1/5 of your normal bill on average.
- Use check-ins
By checking into an eating place via various online applications you could benefit from huge discounts and even free meals. All you have to do is check in, mention it to the staff and enjoy your delicious or possibly free meal.
- If you like it, then why don’t you become a regular?
The rule that regulars will surely enjoy perks and freebies is applicable in every industry, not just the restaurants. Without denying the fact that it’s exciting to try out new places, building a relationship with the manager of your favorite restaurant will bring you a lot of benefits in the long run.
- Become friends on Facebook or follow the restaurants on Twitter
With most of the business going online, chances are that the majority of the eating places you enjoy can also be found on popular social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. Once you like their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, you will discover a whole new and amazing world of discounts, freebies and deals you cannot find somewhere else.
- Take advantage of the online coupons
If you truly enjoy eating out and trying a different type of dish each night, then the online coupons sites are an excellent cash saver. In addition to allowing you to pursue your hobby, online coupon sites will bring you the hottest deals and the largest discounts and freebies without having to lift a finger. Furthermore, they also save you time since you only have to register to their newsletter instead of the hundreds of email club restaurants from your town. In general, if you sign up with a professional online coupon site you can be certain about the accuracy of the information you find there.
- Ask for special event deals
What happens if your favorite restaurants in town do not have a mailing list? In this situation you have two alternatives, namely to ask the online coupon site to help you out or to ask the manager or staff if they have special occasion deals. Rest assured, most of them have great deals and freebies ready for special events.
- Don’t fall for the most famous restaurant in town trick
If you are traveling to a new city, then dining at the most renowned restaurant in town is not a good idea. In case you want authenticity, a nice dining experience and a better price, then try the smaller eating places in the city.
- Consider splitting your meal in half
Here is a nice trick that does not only save you cash, but it is also great on your silhouette: consider splitting your meal in half. Considering that the meals in most restaurants across the US are over-sized, you could have half of your meal at the restaurant and take the other half in a doggie bag.
- If possible, visit the restaurants in the off-time
In case you enjoy eating out or you are accustomed to having a cup of coffee during your lunch break regularly, then you are probably familiar with the notion “happy hour”. Simply put, during the off-time the restaurant, bistro or café has lower prices, sometimes even at 50% less. While it is rather difficult to visit these places during your brief lunch break, you can still take advantage of the great deals by having dinner early for instance.
- You could always have the after-dinner drink somewhere else
Granted, after a nice and delicious dinner you might feel kind of sleepy and will most likely be in the mood for a drink. Since most of the restaurants overcharge for alcohol, you could end up paying just as much for a couple of drinks as for the entire dinner. Or perhaps, you should have those drinks somewhere else where the prices are more reasonable.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Art enjoys blogging about frugal yet stylish ways to celebrate birthdays and he has taken this a step further through his FavoriteCandle website where readers can get free birthday meals.