It’s fun to go out to eat: You don’t have to cook, clean or deal with any of the other annoying factors that come with cooking at home. But it also costs more money, and is definitely not something most people can afford to do every single day. With these easy tips, it’s easy to save a couple bucks the next time you eat out.
1. Don’t Go Hungry
This sounds counterintuitive, but if you don’t go to a restaurant ravenous, you’re less likely to splurge on an appetizer or dessert. Plus, then you can try to eat just half of your portion (or less, depending on how big it is). That means you get two meals for the price of one. Can you say leftovers for lunch?
2. Ask For A Discount
You never know! Some restaurants offer markdowns for seniors, teachers, active military members and more. It’s free to ask, and often the discounts aren’t widely publicized. If it saves you 25 percent on drinks or appetizers, that’s totally worth it.
3. Buy Gift Cards
You can get gift cards for less than face value at places like Costco and online. Restaurant.com is a great option to buy below-market-value gift cards. If you can get a $25 gift card for just $10, that will definitely make eating out less of a squeeze. There might be terms and conditions or minimum purchase requirements tied to some gift cards, but that’s still a great deal!
4. Find BYOB Restaurants
Even if they charge a corkage fee (and most do not), you’ll still be paying far less if you bring your own bottle of wine or six-pack to the restaurant. Instead of paying absurd upcharges for liquor, you can buy half-off wine in your own time (or score package deals at places like Whole Foods and elsewhere, where you can often get 10 percent off if you buy six mix-and-match bottles). Definitely better than paying $12 for a single drink!
5. Join The Mailing List
Some restaurants do weekly or monthly email blasts that contain promotions or discounts. If you stay in the know, you can plan the days you eat out for days when these price cuts happen. On the other hand, if you find the emails too tempting, you might want to unsubscribe.
6. Take Surveys
You can score plenty of free stuff by taking surveys. If a restaurant asks you to complete a quick survey after your meal, do it! You can often win freebies or coupons just for doing so. Plus, check out the free app SurveyMini. It unlocks discounts when you complete surveys about different restaurants.