Eating out can be a huge hit to any budget, but you can’t cook from scratch every night, right? It is fun to eat out. But, there are certain strategies you can use to save a lot, sometimes spending less than you would on groceries for a similar meal!
Lately we have been eating out a lot. With our move to a new home and all that has entailed (no water for a few day, no refrigerator for a few more and then no power, heat or electricity when we were hit with a storm). We’ve try to do the best we can with shaving as much off of the eating out cost as we can.
Here are some of our family’s strategies.
Ask for applesauce. I haven’t met a restaurant yet that charge me for applesauce when I requested it as an addition to a meal. It will serve as a nice desert or additional side for a child.
Bring your own milk. Drinks can cost a lot in a restaurant, and many time milk is not available anyway. For a younger child, bring a sippy cup with milk. An older child can bring a sports bottle with his or her milk. No one has ever raised an eyebrow at this practice. I have even brought milk to a place such as chuck-e-cheese, where there is soda to be had by the gallon, and my kids have never felt deprived.
Adults can drink water for free instead of ordering expensive sodas and other drinks. Ask for lemon with your water for a little extra taste. This practice is healthier, too.
On the same idea as bringing your own milk, I know someone who actually brings part of her dinner! I’ve never tried this one myself, but she swears it works well for her. She bags up some cooked grilled chicken or even breaded chicken tenders. Then she orders a large house salad. When it comes, she adds her own chicken and saves.
Next up in the series Save Money When Eating Out: Ordering Strategies where I share even more ideas for low-cost eating out, such as unique ways of ordering off of the menu to save; and Save Money When Eating Out: Free Meals And Discounts, which gives lots of tips on getting your meals for nothing!
How do you save money when you eat out?