Dining out is a fun treat that can easily break your wallet and your budget! Hubby and I have always had a hard time giving up our dining out habit, but now that we are trying to live a little bit more frugally and save up for our house, we’ve had to take a hard look at our dining habits. Some nights when you are beat and tired, it’s just so much easier to go out to eat, but after a while that gets to be really expensive. If you are a diner like we are, then you are going to love these cheap dining out tips that will help you to save money when you eat out! Tons of great ideas that we have used over the years to allow us to still eat at our favorite restaurants and save money too!
9 Cheap Dining Out Tips That Save You Money
Check out Rewards Programs: Sometimes you can find really good dining out coupons. A great place to start is Coupons.com to see if they have any printable coupons you can use. The next best place is places like Groupon, and then the restaurants websites! Here are some of our favorite dining places that offer coupons from time to time
- Red Robin
- T.G.I.Fridays Give Me More Stripes
- My Panera Rewards
- Red Lobster:Fresh Catch Club
- My Starbucks Rewards
- Dunkin Donuts Rewards
- Caribou Coffee Perks (my favoritest)
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Rainforest Cafe Select Club
Restaurants dot com: This is a great site where you can buy gift certificates for your favorite local restaurants for way below retail! The always have coupon codes out that make their already lower prices even cheaper. I have used them to score $30 in certificates for only $2. No, I am not kidding! I love this program! Want to see what local restaurants around you participate? Check it out here! Check back at CF from time to time, as I list their promotional codes all the time to save you even more!
Early Bird Baby: Lots of restaurants have early bird specials. Our favorite hibachi restaurants have early bird specials if you dine before 4pm. We often get the same meal for almost half off by eating during their early bird dinner hours. It saves us over $100 bucks on our meal just for eating a few hours earlier.
Happy Hour: Happy Hour is a great time to head to restaurants if you are looking for drinks and a quick bite. Split appetizers with your friends and family for even more savings. When I go out with my girlfriends, I usually order a happy hour drink and one appetizer. They do the same, so we each end up spending less than $10 and leave with more than enough food in our bellies.
Skip the Drinks: Drinks are where most restaurants make the most profit. The cost of drinks are going up as well. Skip them. Order water instead and for a family of five you could save up to $15 on your tab.
Split Dinners: Restaurant portions are huge. That’s why my 16 year old and I love splitting a meal. It saves us money, plus we don’t end up over stuffing ourselves. It’s even been kind of a bonding thing because we always split meals.
Printable Coupons: From time to time sites like Coupons.com have printable coupons that you can print out that are good for local restaurants.
Groupon: Groupon is another way we love saving money. A lot of the time you can find local deals on new restaurants and they can offer up to 50% off. We’ve done this for several restaurants that are here in our area. It let’s us try new cuisine, and it we usually save at least 30% off.
Take the Survey: If you are like me most of the time, you don’t even think about the survey that sometimes shows up on the end of your receipt. Most of the time if you take the survey you will get a coupon good for money off your next meal. Sometimes you can even win big bucks towards that restaurant. It’s definitely worth it.
There’s my cheap dining out tips, what are your favorite ways to save money when you are eating out on the town?
Edie C says
We always try to choose places that we have a discount or coupon for! Do you have Smart Cards in your area? Our local schools sell them for $15 a year and there are some GREAT deals on them! Our favorite pizza buffet is buy one get one half off with the smart card! Saves us quite a bit!
Thanks for cohosting the Alexa hop! I’m a little late in the week for it but trying to catch up!
Crunchy Frugalista says
I don’t think we do, but those sound great!
Amanda @ DenSchool.com says
I was unaware that you could receive coupon texts from Applebees. Good to know! Following through the “Thankful for Friends Thursday hop”
These are great tips, we very rarely eat out, but I will remember these places and discounts for future reference 🙂
Skye Moyer says
We at at Panera AL the time- I had no idea they had a card. Thanks!!!
Kelly from Kelly's Lucky You says
Great tips! It helps to have the details and specific links instead of just a general “join their club”. We don’t always save money with Restaurant.com, but we get a better meal! Because of the minimum amounts on most deals, our check ends up being the same as we usually spend but we’ve had steak instead of a sandwich.
Janel from NellieBellie says
Yes to Perks from Caribou!! I wasn’t aware of some of these others, thanks!
These are some great tips and we use all of them. Another thing we do is try to go out for brunch rather than dinner. We did that for our anniversary yesterday and saved a bundle.
I’m a big fan of going on Kids Eat Free nights — and not spending $$ on beverages!
Laura “Lolli” Franklin says
So many great tips! We don’t drink so we often chuckle about how much cheaper our dinners are than everyone else’s. lol. I love using Restaurants.com and rewards cards. I need to be better about doing the receipt surveys!
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
Thanks for these great tips. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to save some dough!
Oh I really needed these tips! With four kids I need any way to save going out to eat!
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
We do the red robin one! For every 9 burgers you buy, you get the 10th free. Score.
Amber Edwards says
The early bird specials are something we really need to take advantage of more. Our favorite places to eat, the early bird meal is almost HALF of the regular dinner price!
We eat out all of the time! Too much probably! I too find that by skipping the drinks and splitting meals, we save a lot of money!
Nicole B says
These are great ideas for eating out and saving money. I will have to look into the Groupon option for some of our nicer restaurants.
Cathy @ Our Mini Family says
My hubby and I frequently make dining out a part of our date night routines, so this is awesome! I am going to have to bookmark this and save it and read it with him! 😀 thanks!
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