How to Eat Out on a Budget in 10 Easy Ways

How to Eat Out on a Budget in 10 Easy Ways Pinterest pinAre you having a hard time figuring out how to eat out on a budget? Although I love going out to eat, it can be hard to afford to when you’re trying to save money. That is why I am sharing with you 10 easy ways to save money at restaurants and fast food places.


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#1 — Ordering Kids Meals

If possible, consider ordering a kid’s meal. Some restaurants have an age limit on their kids meals, but not all do this.

A kid’s meal is usually considerably less money than an adult combo or meal. You may get a smaller drink, but if you are eating in, you can get a refill.

Sometimes the portions are smaller, but sometimes they’re not.


#2 — Buy a Meal Deal

Some places have meal deals that make it very affordable to eat there.

Here in the Midwest, Fazoli’s offers a $6.00 meal deal which consists of two entrées (these are smaller portions than if you order a regular entrée), all the breadsticks you can eat, plus a drink.

If you really like lasagna, you can get two lasagna portions instead of one lasagna and another entrée option.

Other places have meal deals as well like KFC’s $5 fill-ups, Wendy’s $4 meals, and many more places like these.


#3 — Eat an Appetizer

Appetizers at restaurants can be a meal in themselves.

For example, Olive Garden has several options including: Create a Sampler, Calamari, Shrimp, and Lasagna Fritta to name a few. These are all plenty of food, so they make great meals.

Texas Roadhouse offers Killer Ribs with fries as an appetizer, and it makes a great meal.

Eating appetizers as meals will save you money because they are often quite a bit cheaper than regular entrées, but they still fill you up!


#4 — Split a Meal

Splitting larger meals saves money at a restaurant.

My daughters like to split a Build Your Sampler at Applebees. First they can choose which two or three appetizers to get, and then they split them. A lot of restaurants will bring extra plates for free, although some will charge for an extra plate. Be sure to ask!


#5 — Order Water to Drink

A lot of restaurants charge $2 to $3 for pop and even more for specialty drinks. Instead of spending that much money on something to drink, you can order water (and it’s FREE!).

If you really want to get a specialty drink, consider getting water for a refill instead of paying for another refill.


#6 — Go on a Kids Eat Free Night

I you have children under 12 and know of restaurants that offer for children to eat free on certain days, choose that day to eat out.

That can save a lot of money not paying for a kid who may not eat a lot anyway.


#7 — Save Money on Desserts

Desserts are almost always overpriced at restaurants, but if you really want to get one, at least try to save some money when you do.

If you plan on getting a dessert, have a smaller meal. An example would be getting a bowl of soup or a salad for your meal. Then you haven’t spent as much before you order the dessert.

We used to go to Big Boy and order chili or a hotdog. Then afterwards, we would get a piece of pie or a sundae because Big Boy has affordable desserts.

You can also just go out for dessert if you really like the desserts at a specific restaurant like The Cheesecake Factory.


#8 — Watch Out for Add-ons

Make sure if you add to your meal, that it is free or that you know what it costs.

Many places charge extra for guacamole or extra cheese.

Sometimes the charge for an item isn’t really worth what you are getting.

It a waiter asks you if you want to add something, make sure you ask if it is free or not.


#9 — Prepare for Different Prices in Different Cities

When vacationing in another area or state, don’t expect pricing to be the same (even at chain restaurants).

We took a trip to Seattle last year and stopped at a McDonalds. We got pop to drink. The pop was different prices for the same size glass. A medium Dr. Pepper cost more than a medium Coke. That was the first time I had seen that.

Bigger cities and specialty places like airports, amusement parks, zoos, etc. usually all charge more money for the same or smaller amount of food than a normal restaurant charges.

Make sure to prepare for this if you are visiting another city. Also, consider ordering less food if it is really pricey.


#10 — Consider Eating Out at a Different Time

Although eating out for dinner is what a lot of people do, dinner time is usually a more expensive time to dine out.

Consider going at lunch for cheaper menu options and specials. Also, some places have more specials during the week, so consider going on a weekday instead of the weekend.


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How do you dine out on a budget?

Comment down below your favorite tips or if you do any of these things already!


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How to Save Money at Restaurants & Fast Food Places

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