Ways to Save Money at Restaurants

Americans spend 43 percent of their food dollars eating out at restaurants.  The average American family usually saves between $200 and $800 by limiting the number of meals they eat out. If you must eat out, do so at lunch rather than dinner since lunch entrees are up to 50 percent cheaper than dinner entrees.  

In addition, restaurants are much less crowded on Mondays and Tuesdays, so they offer discounts on these days, sometimes as much as 50 percent. 

Always check online for coupons and gift certificates before you go out to eat.  At Restaurant.com you can buy discounted gift cards, such as a $25 gift card for just $10.  Another way to save money eating out is to sign up at iDine.com where you can earn up to 15 percent eating at any one of 10,000 restaurants.

At Entertainment.com, you can buy coupons good for discounts at many restaurants.  At OpenTable.com you can earn gift checks when you make your reservations through their website.  BiteHunter is a mobile device app that lists restaurant specials.
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Other ways to save when eating out at restaurants:

(1) the first wines on a wine list are marked up the most;

(2) the cheapest entrees are listed in an obscure part of the menu, like the middle or on the back, are the cheapest, while the most expensive items are in the most prominent part of the menu and usually have photos showing off the dish;

(3) the children’s menu is not a bargain – you would save more if you ordered two children one adult entrée and let them split it. 


Restaurant websites where you can find special discounts:

(1) Restaurant.com – offers discounted meals of at least 50% at more than 15,000 restaurants

(2) Coupon websites such as CouponSherba.com, CouponCabin.com and BeFrugal.com offer restaurant coupons

(3)  Sign-up for restaurant email programs and they might send you coupons for free and discounted meals.  More about Restaurant Freebies and Giveaways.


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