When it’s time to trim the budget, the first thing people do is get rid of “fun” stuff like dining out or going to the movies. Unfortunately, all work and no play makes life pretty unenjoyable. So instead of cutting out everything you love, why not find ways to make your favorite activities more affordable? Read on for five easy ways you can make dining out more affordable and a lot more fun.
Dining at off-peak hours can yield some big savings. Head out for a late lunch, take in happy-hour or pop in for an early-bird special. Many restaurants offer discounts for dining at the right time of day or even during the week, so take advantage of these discounts to score some great food at great prices.
Look For Deals
There are numerous ways you can save when dining out and getting a deal is one of them. Shop online discount sites like Groupon or Restaurant.com for vouchers to get discounted meals. The catch is that these discounts expire, so you have to make sure to use them before time runs out.
You can also check the restaurants corporate site or Facebook page if it’s a chain to see if there are any coupons available. If the restaurant you’re going to has an email list, sign up and get coupons sent right to your inbox.
You read that correctly. Wine and alcohol are some of the most marked-up items in restaurants, so you can save a ton of money by brining your own. It’s becoming more common for restaurants to allow patrons to bring in their own wine or other spirits and just pay a corking fee. With a single glass of wine costing as much as $11, bringing your own beverages is a way to save a pretty penny without sacrificing your favorite flavors.
Share Your Meal
Restaurants are notorious for throwing portioning rules out the window. An average plate at any given restaurant can easily feed two people, so why not take advantage of this and split a dish? Sharing your meal with your sweetie can save money and add to the romance. This will also free up some cash to splurge on an appetizer or a desert.
If you have a smart phone, take advantage of apps like check in to turn your dining experience into a social experience. There are apps available that reward points for making and keeping reservations at your favorite restaurants. The points can then be transferred into gift cards or vouchers for future meals.
Dining out doesn’t have to be expensive. You can cut back on the amount you spend and still have a great time enjoying good food and good company. Look for ways to save on your everyday activities and enjoy a life that’s still full of fun, but friendlier on your budget.