Lower Your Expenses

Easy Ways To Save Money Eating Out

Updated on March 22, 2020 Updated on March 22, 2020
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"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food." —Paul Prudhomme

Here are a few easy ways to save money eating out so you can go out more often and feel less guilty. You could save up to 60% before you arrive!

Look, you’re going to want to have a nice night out once in awhile.  It’s always a fun time and you work really hard so you deserve the occasional treat.  Problem is, eating out is really expensive so if you’re trying to retire early like I am then these extravagant nights set you back.

The thing is, they don’t really have to.  You should always save when you eat out, you’re date will think you’re savvy!  Here are a few tricks I’ve found help you slash the cost of dinner so you can go out more often and feel less guilty about it.

Save Before You Walk In The Door

Save when you eat out!

While it does happen occasionally that you’ll be walking down the street and spontaneously decide, “I am eating here!“, more often than not you plan ahead.

Usually you research the food, find a place near work, or are traveling to a different city and just need to find food, and that means that you have the intent to eat out.  You pick the place out, plan in advance and then travel there for your reservation.  Since you have this intent, why don’t you use it to save up to 60% (yes, 60%), before you order a single thing?

The uncreativly named Restaurant.com can help you do just that.  All you need to do is find the place you’re going to go to on Restaurant.com, buy one of their heavily discounted gift cards and use it at the end of your meal.  It’s really that easy.

Now you can get the fanciest steak in your area which might be $25 and only pay $10 for it (yes, 60% is pretty dramatic).  You might say, “But Andrew, the place I want to eat at isn’t on Restaurant.com”, to which I’ll reply, “Don’t go there”.  I mean, occasionally you can splurge and try that place where you can’t insta-save.  However, why would you want to spend $100 on dinner when you could spend $40?  With your insta-discount could eat out 2.5 times for the price of one fully priced meal.  Easy.

BYO Booze

BYOCAB and save when you eat out

I don’t know about you but when I eat I like to drink, and it’s not just one drink ;)

Yes, it’s nice to go to a restaurant and get some cool cocktails (and I definitely recommend that you do), however not every place is going to have that and you’re probably not going to want it all the time.

For me, wine is the happy default.  Wine tastes good, has a high alcohol content, doesn’t require you to decide on your new drink every few minutes and comes in nice big bottles so you can fill your glasses up yourself.  Plus, if you don’t finish it you can take it home with you.

For those nights that we are going to have wine (or beer), why pay some crazy multiple more just because they carried the bottle to the restaurant for you?  Get a little bit of exercise and carry the booze yourself, you’ll get a bit of exercise and your savings account will thank you later.

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Your Stomach Is Smaller Than Your Eyes

Guys, calm down.  Seriously.  When I’m eating out I would honestly believe that everyone around me hasn’t eaten for months… except for the size of their bellies.  Did you really need three appetizers, two dinners AND two deserts?  You’re going to need a motorized scooter just to get your fat ass home after you eat all that!

At that rate you might as well get the plunger out of the garage now cause it’s a near certainty that the toilet is gonna get clogged.  Order less, especially if you’re not going to eat it all!  You’ll be healthier for it and your wallet will be fatter instead of your belly.  No you don’t need to have left overs for tomorrow, it probably won’t taste nearly as good and the food you cook at home is cheaper and probably healthier.  Do the smart thing and just buy less.

Just take 10 minutes before you leave your home so you can save when you eat out.  It’s easy, your significant other will be happy and so will your wallet ;)

How is your restaurant saving going?  Let me know in the comments!

Andrew Fiebert - Chief Nerd
Andrew Fiebert is a thirty-something soon-to-be father of twins, a self-professed data nerd, and has worked as a Data Engineer for Barclays Capital and iHeartRadio. He's spent the past six years growing LMM into a multi-six-figure business with over 500 hours of free personal finance education that reaches over 1 million people every month. Andrew has a B.S. in Computer Science and has been featured in Quartz, Forbes, Business Insider, and The Telegraph.

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