Can you be frugal and eat out? It’s a tough thing to do; it’s pretty much impossible to eat out for less than you can eat in, so there’s a savings right there, but let’s look at how you might be able to eat out for less than you think. I went out with a new lady friend this past Saturday night at a nice restaurant that was higher in price than my usual fare, but of course I really wanted to impress her, so I had to consider how to be my frugal self while still doing the best I could to impress her.

Look for specials: Sometimes restaurants will run specials at certain times of day or certain days of the week; other times they may have a box where you drop your business card for a “weekly drawing for a $5 gift certificate” where everyone wins. A local restaurant in town is running a special to welcome a new chef. There’s some possibilities to spend less with all of these options.

Consider coupons: Yes, even pricey restaurants sometimes have coupon specials or are part of an “entertainment book” where they have special pricing. Even though entertainment books are charged for, they sometimes are worthwhile (particularly if they are shared among several people).

Share meals and bring some of your own: Some restaurants give large portions and are perfectly happy with a couple (or the kids!) sharing; some restaurants are BYOB and you can bring your own favorite drinks, which can really help on the bottom line. This Saturday night my lady friend and I shared a dessert, which is another way to spend a few dollars less (and have more fun at dinner!).

Look to your memberships and credit cards: if you belong to professional or similar groups (mine are Hawai’i Macintosh and Apple User Group, National Association of Social Workers, and National Military Family Association) to see if they have a membership discount available. Your credit cards may have a number of possibilities for discounts as well; American Express is one I’ve used several times before.

While you certainly spend less by hanging out at home or brown bagging it (and a picnic lunch can certainly be a great date!), consider some of these options for saving a few bucks on your next restaurant outing.

One Response to “Hunting for Discounts: Eating Out”

  1. [...] Uncommon cents looks for bargains when eating out. [...]

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