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How to Save Money on Eating out

Ever since I was a kid I was brought up to be frugal and to save and budget money. * Disclaimer: I am not a financial planner.

Go out for breakfast or lunch

You may be surprised to learn that it is cheaper to eat out for breakfast or lunch than dinner. Lunch is usually cheaper and more filling, so it’s a good choice if you want to save money and still eat well.

If you do decide to go out for dinner after work, try going earlier in the evening. This way, you’ll avoid peak hours when many restaurants are charging higher prices as demand increases.

Share food with a friend

Sharing food is a great way to save money, as well as a chance to try new things. Sharing your meal with someone else is a good way to get to know that person better and have fun in the process.

If you're eating out with friends, ask them if they want to share something from the menu with you. If they are not interested, then order what you want and enjoy! If they say yes and share with you, then go ahead and order something smaller than usual so that there will be plenty left over for both of you!

Go to happy hour

  • If you eat out a lot, happy hour can be a great way to save money.
  • To find out if there is a happy hour in your area, you can Google “happy hour near me” or check Yelp for local recommendations. If you don't have time to look up the details on your own, ask the restaurant hostess if they have any discounts before ordering your food or drinks.
  • Once you know the price and menu specials for happy hour, think about whether or not it's worth going to that location (or at least what time of day it would be most convenient).

Get the kids' meal

  • Kids' meals are cheaper than adult versions.
  • Kids' meals are usually smaller than adult versions.
  • Kids' meals are often healthier than adult versions.
  • Kids' meals are often more filling than adult versions, thanks to their smaller size and lack of high-calorie toppings like cheese or mayo.
  • Finally—and possibly most importantly—kids' meals tend to be more fun! The food is designed with kids (and parents) in mind, so you can order something that looks cool without worrying about whether or not it will taste good too!

Go to restaurants with deals

  • Check the restaurant's website. Many restaurants have deals on their sites, and you may be able to get a free appetizer or dessert just by asking.
  • Look at the restaurant's social media. Many restaurants offer coupons and discounts through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.
  • Ask your server about any specials they might have going on that day or week (especially if it's something like "all-you-can-eat" night).
  • Look in the restaurant's magazine (if there is one) for coupons or ads for freebies/specials. If you don't see anything there, check out their website too; sometimes these are listed there as well!

Order from the dollar menu

Order from the dollar menu.

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The dollar menu is one of the best ways to save money on eating out. It’s also not always available, so you have to do your research. Some restaurants have a dollar menu, but not all. And some restaurants have a dollar menu but it is only available during certain hours and/or days of the week. If you find yourself in this situation, try ordering off-menu items instead of paying full price for something that costs more than $1!

Go on your birthday

If you don't want to be the one who brings up their birthday, it's not a big deal. You can still get free food by asking for a birthday discount. Many restaurants have special offers on or around the actual date, and will give you some sort of perk if you let them know it's your day. Some places require that you register online in advance, while others have a sign-up sheet at their entrances with "birthday club" written next to each person's name.

Sometimes these clubs are just an excuse for restaurants to send out coupons once or twice per year—but other times they're legitimate deals that save hundreds of dollars in dining costs over time! The best part is that there are often ways around this requirement: if one person from your group has already signed up before (or even just asked about joining), then everyone else with them gets rewarded as well! So go ahead and tell those friends about how great free food is; nobody needs another reason not to go out on weekends anyway!

Eating out doesn't have to break the bank

Eating out doesn't have to break the bank. You can save money by going out for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner, sharing food with a friend, and taking advantage of happy hour deals. If you're dining at a restaurant that features children's meals, it's always worth asking if they offer any adult-sized portions at a lower price point than the standard fare.

Most restaurants also give their customers deals on certain days of the week—like half-price appetizers on Monday or 50% off wine bottles every Wednesday—so make sure you check online before going out to eat so that you can get in on these bargains!


We hope we’ve given you some great tips for saving money when eating out. If we left any out, let us know!


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Shanon Sandquist

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