Savings on dining out

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine. Join Now. There are ways to indulge without breaking the bank.

Demand plays a role in the prices you pay at a restaurant. If you dine out at prime time expect longer waits and higher prices. Many restaurants offer lunch specials, some of which you may not be able to finish and could be eaten for dinner later that night. Many restaurants offer loyalty programs that often are free and enable you to earn discounts on future orders and snag freebies.

Not only do you rack up points for each purchase that can be used for a future order but you get a free pastry, sweet treat or bagel when you make a purchase within two months of signing up.

With an AARP membership you get a percentage off at a slew of restaurants across the country. To get more patrons through their doors, many restaurants offer coupons. There are a plethora of ways to find these deals , whether you are tech-savvy or old school.

Privacy Policy. Cash-back apps are another way to snag a deal. Apps including Hooch, OpenTable, Restaurant. com and Rakuten give you cash back or reward points when you make certain purchases or make a reservation at a participating restaurant.

There are plenty of delicious, filling alternatives on most menus. Coupons for Local Stores. Save on clothing, gifts, beauty and other everyday shopping needs. Many restaurants and quick-serve establishments will help you celebrate your birthday by giving you a discount on menu items, a free drink or even a birthday dessert.

Most restaurants require you to sign up for their loyalty program to get the celebratory kickback. These deals tend to be good for a few days after your birthday, which means you can spread out the savings. If you are asked to take a survey at the end of the meal, do it, says Dvorkin. Sometimes restaurants will reward you with a coupon or discount for sharing your thoughts on your experience.

She has spent over two decades writing and covering news for several national publications including The Wall Street Journal , Forbes , Investopedia and HerMoney. Discover AARP Members Only Access.

Already a Member? Take 5 Expenses Off the Chopping Block. These days, they're also more rare, either because of supply and staff shortages or health concerns. But you wouldn't want to go every day, anyway, even though they can be a less expensive option than true "destination" restaurants where you're charged for the presentation as well as the food.

If you can find a buffet to go to, most stock a handful of pricey items such as lobster or crab legs that make for quick payback once you've had a couple of servings.

Seafood buffets in general are an affordable indulgence. The variety of a buffet on its own is a good argument for going too, since there's no way you could go to a traditional restaurant and get so many dishes on a plate for that price. Related: The Most Indulgent Buffet in Every State.

It may require signing up for mailing lists and rewards programs, or downloading an app or two, but there are still restaurants that will slip you free food to mark a birthday. The servers might insist on singing, so brace yourself.

We found 75 places that'll be excited to see you walk through their doors on your birthday, but of course there's another way to get free food on a special day: Just spend it with friends and family who'll want to treat you.

Some restaurants offer early bird specials meals at reduced prices and sometimes reduced portions or fewer courses to attract budget-minded diners during the hours when traffic is thin — typically 4 go 6 p.

The trade-off is eating dinner, well, early. Some restaurants require diners to spend a minimum dollar amount or buy at least one entree each. Call ahead to avoid this requirement, especially if you plan to share an entree. Many social-media-savvy restaurants offer discounts to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram followers, which may even include free food.

Some eateries, especially those on the faster-food side of things, offer deals just for downloading apps. You don't need to look very hard to find offers, starting with lists on sites such as LushDollar or Wallet Hacks.

Related: 12 Cheap and Easy Brown-Bag Lunches. AAA and AARP members can get discounts at many restaurants just by showing a membership card. Another way to save is by buying an Entertainment membership for coupons on food, drinks, and more available as a hard-bound book or an app.

Many local restaurants and some chains advertise in coupon books sent by mail. Or check online at Money Mailer or ValPak. Note the fine print, as some places require a minimum purchase and include a default tip.

Restaurant gift cards can be bought at a discount from warehouse clubs such as Costco and Sam's Club. Many fast food and restaurant gift cards are available at discounted prices on Gift Card Granny , which aggregates cards available from sellers such as Raise, Gift Card Spread, and Cardpool.

Deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial may yet have discounts for area restaurants and bars, in addition to attractions, products, and more.

Some establishments offer deals directly, so subscribe to their newsletters and look for specials offered through restaurant apps. Related: 32 Secrets for Better, Cheaper Meals at Your Favorite Chains. OpenTable users earn points for making and honoring reservations through the site and are eligible for dining rewards after accumulating sufficient points.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers 2 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining. When dining with a group, charge the entire bill to your credit card and earn rewards. Friends can give you cash or, with a few taps on a smartphone, easily send payment for their portion through a service such as Venmo, PayPal, or Chase Quick Pay.

Restaurants including California Pizza Kitchen and TGI Fridays offer loyalty programs for frequent diners. Points and complimentary items such as dessert can be earned by using the restaurant's rewards card. The percentage depends on how much you spend annually.

Link a credit card with a frequent flyer program and pay with that credit card at participating restaurants to earn miles or points for each dollar spent.

Related: 13 Travel Rewards Loopholes and Hacks to Get You More Points. Pass on drinks if you're on a budget. Focus on food instead. A lime wedge, a cucumber slice, or a few mint leaves can liven up a plain glass of water and hopefully hold off the urge to order a cocktail.

Seek out restaurants with a BYOB policy. New restaurants are a great place to start, as they sometimes open before they've received a license to serve alcohol. Some restaurants charge a flat fee for opening a bottle of wine that diners bring in, known as a corkage fee.

It can be cheaper than ordering individual drinks, but be sure to inquire before dining; corkage fees can be quite steep at some eateries. Search for bars that offer BOGO drinks. While there might be conditions or a limited time window, two for the price of one is a deal worth seeking.

Enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail at home before heading out to dinner. It may curb the desire to order drinks later at the restaurant. Eateries in neighborhoods away from city centers and suburban commercial districts typically pay lower rent, which allows them to charge lower prices for similar food.

Before heading out to eat, drink a glass of water or have some fruit to alleviate hunger and avoid ordering more food than necessary at the restaurant. Although they might seem inexpensive compared with the entrees, an appetizer or two can pad a restaurant bill quickly.

Ask the server how many guests each dish serves before ordering, or consider skipping appetizers altogether. Order one fewer main course than the number of people and share all the dishes.

Everyone gets a taste without paying for an entire item. Sharing can also help with portion control, by removing the pressure to finish an entire entree yourself. Look out for restaurants that tack on a surcharge for splitting dishes, though. Many U.

17 Easy Ways to Cut the Cost of Eating Out · 1. Special menu. Many restaurants offer a reduced-price menu for seniors How to save money on dining out · 1. Hit up happy hour · 2. Share your plate · 3. BYOB · 4. Be careful on self-service The average commercially-prepared meal, by our estimates, costs around $ Even if you rarely spend this much money at

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How to SAVE Money When Eating Out (Money Article Monday) - Frugal Living Tips Simply dine during the early bird specials to save. Many fast food and Savings on dining out gift cards aSvings available Budget-friendly culinary resources discounted xining on Gift Card Grannywhich aggregates cards available from sellers such as Raise, Gift Card Spread, and Cardpool. Learn more in our disclosures. Great, you have saved this article to you My Learn Profile page. Restaurants including California Pizza Kitchen and TGI Fridays offer loyalty programs for frequent diners.

Savings on dining out - Make “less but often” your motto · Treat yourself, by yourself · Limit your alcohol intake rather than cutting booze out 17 Easy Ways to Cut the Cost of Eating Out · 1. Special menu. Many restaurants offer a reduced-price menu for seniors How to save money on dining out · 1. Hit up happy hour · 2. Share your plate · 3. BYOB · 4. Be careful on self-service The average commercially-prepared meal, by our estimates, costs around $ Even if you rarely spend this much money at

There are few things better than sharing a meal with the people you love! Cooking with your partner makes for a romantic cheap date night! Cooking for and with each other is a great way to show your significant other that you care for them.

Plus, like I said before- cooking goes so much faster if you have an extra set of hands in the kitchen. Pro tip: Want to kick it up a notch? Head out to your favorite bookstore and pick out a cookbook. Then, open up to a random page.

If cooking all three meals every single day is a little bit much for your schedule, you can always try intermittent fasting. Then, you eat more substantial meals during that smaller time frame.

This can be helpful if you prefer to eat bigger meals less often, but be sure to do your own research, and always do what is best for your own body. Think sandwiches, salads and wraps. Meal prepping is when you batch cook a large amount of food in one go and eat it throughout the week.

For example, on Sunday evening, you could prepare lunches and dinners for the entire work week, saving you loads of time and usually quite a bit of money too! If your daily routine is eating out, try to challenge yourself to just reduce the amount of times you go out in every given week.

For example, if you usually eat out 5x per week, can you get it down to only 3x? You get to design your own no eating out challenge — so make the goal realistic.

If your restaurant of choice offers free bread or chips and salsa, you may not need an appetizer to leave satisfied. Portions are crazy big in America. At least some of the time! Instead of dining in, get your food to go and rent a movie for a cheap date.

The portions are often large enough to fuel you for a light meal, and you can sometimes trade in the toy for a bigger entrée. Or an ice cream cone. No shame here. The first few days of the week are notoriously slow for restaurants. Move your Saturday night hang to the start of the week, and you can eat a meal you already love at a better price.

Fixed-price menus are becoming super popular for major holidays. Then, put that money toward a quality meal out with your special someone. Watch your sports at home, where the snacks are pre-purchased for the occasion from your favorite wings place or from a bulk warehouse store.

Plenty of restaurants offer free or nearly free meals for kids under 12 on certain nights of the week. Goodbye, stress. Goodbye, waste. Hello, savings. Okay, earlier we said to skip the appetizers. And we stick by that money-saving tip—unless you use this little trick.

Grab dinner on the early side and eat half-priced appetizers as your entrée. Yep, really. Just be sure to check ahead and see what time happy hour prices start. Every place is different. Do you have dinner plans with friends on Friday?

Or pack yourself a meal for Saturday lunch to make room for a Sunday date with your spouse. A little planning goes a long way.

Set yourself up for success by keeping quick and healthy snacks in your car and stocking your kitchen with some frozen pizzas. Find other ways to cut back on your food cost like BOGO offers and coupons —but still be a good tipper.

If hanging out with friends usually involves going to a restaurant or a bar, those tabs can add up quickly, especially in big cities. I'm used to Los Angeles prices, so I get it.

It's a struggle between wanting to check out all those cool restaurants and not wanting to spend hundreds every weekend. To be clear, there's nothing wrong with going out to eat. If you're a foodie and restaurants are where you like to spend money, that's great.

The key is, those expenses shouldn't be getting in the way of other financial goals, like saving for retirement or paying off debt. And for foodies, I'd also suggest looking at dining credit cards that can at least earn you more back on those restaurant bills. If you want to trim your dining expenses, there are a lot of ways you can do it and have more money in your bank accounts at the end of the month.

Singletary has a financial challenge she recommends called the 21 Day Financial Fast. For those three weeks, you spend money on only the essentials. That means no going out to eat, and you only buy what you need at the grocery store.

She also challenges families to use all those extra food items they have lying around, like canned food in the pantries and chicken in the back of the freezer.

That's one way to go, but if it's a little much for you, there are also tamer options out there. I've been trying to watch my dining spending lately, and what has worked the most for me is swapping out some not all of those expensive meals for more affordable alternatives. For example, instead of doing dinner every time, sometimes I'll get lunch, or go to a cafe for coffee and cake.

Other days it's just cocktails instead of a full dinner and drinks. I've also looked for other activities to do when going out, like hiking, visiting museums, and seeing movies. Switching things up is a nice change of pace, and it often costs less.

Trying to cut your spending? You can make huge impacts by dining out less often.

By Jugul

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