/Eat Out for Less. Tips to Keep in Mind

Eat Out for Less. Tips to Keep in Mind

You can save as much as 50% off the price of a meal by checking some websites

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Save money while you have fun with your friends with the following tips:

• Flex your student ID, military ID, or traveler’s card (such as AAA). Even if they don’t advertise these discounts, ask.

• Sign up for the restaurant’s texts for daily or weekly deals.

• Download the restaurant’s app or visit their website for deals and coupons.

• Visit sites such as www.retailmenot.com and www.restaurant.com to help you nab food bargains, or try group buying sites like www.groupon.com or www.livingsocial.com.

• Join the birthday club for a deal like a free appetizer or dessert.

• Buy restaurant gift cards for below face value on eBay.

• Look for the daily special.

• Loyalty cards and paper coupons are still the norm at some restaurants. For the latter, check local periodicals or tourist booklets.

• Order an appetizer. Many cost quite a bit less than a meal. Tell your server you plan to eat it as your meal so it arrives with the rest of your table’s meals.

• Skip ice to leave more room for the beverage.

• Hydrate with water. For many restaurants, the fountain soda represents their highest profit margin. Ask for a cup of water to distinguish from bottled water.

• Share an entree. Ask for two plates and you and your buddy will both save.

• Keep your leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

• Not that hungry? Ask for a kid’s meal to reduce portion and cost.

• Go for breakfast foods or pizza for the most food for the buck. All-you-can-eat buffets provide a good value only if you’re hungry enough to eat your money’s worth.

• Skip sides. Appetizers before the meal, alcohol, and dessert ramp up your bill a lot.

• If you want to go out but can’t spend much, have a snack beforehand so you won’t need to buy as much.

• Fill up on the free chips or bread. Then take home more of your entree to eat later.

• Eat more slowly and drink while you eat. You will feel full sooner and won’t feel as tempted to top off the meal with dessert.

• Make it breakfast or lunch. Eating before 4 p.m. usually costs less than dinner.

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