Monday, July 22

7 Expert Hacks to Dine on a Budget

Want to dine on a budget? Enjoy a great meal with these tricks at a fraction of the price!

Going out and eating a good meal is one of life’s little pleasures, but unfortunately, food prices are skyrocketing, which makes dining at a restaurant an almost impossible thing to do for many people.

Hopefully, you can still dine on a budget, so you don’t have to ditch date nights or your passion for exploring new culinary horizons. There are a few useful hacks that will help you achieve that, and we are here to tell you all about them.

Keep your taste buds happy and your wall full using these resourceful tips. Get ready to discover how to dine on a budget!

dine on a budget
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1. The power of sharing

Remember those days when the portions were normal-sized? Now, these days are gone, and most portions are too big for a single person. The National Restaurant Association found that 72% of restaurant meals are large enough for two people. This is some great news for those who want to dine on a budget because you can go with a friend and share.

You can buy an appetizer or an entree and split it with your partner or friend; let’s call them your dining companion. This is a great strategy because you can save money and also try new things.

Even more, you can take this strategy to the next level and go to a restaurant with a larger group of people and try to create a “family-style dining.” experience. Order several appetizers, share them around the table, and get ready to have an amazing dinner.

Try new flavors, bond with your friends, and save your money! Embrace the power of sharing and see how it can change the dining experience.

2. Ditch the alcohol

We know that a glass of wine might be the best thing for a delicious meal, but alcoholic beverages are much more expensive than water, and many times one glass of wine can transform into more glasses, which means more dollars on your bill.

So, skipping alcohol can help you save a lot of money, especially considering that restaurant markups on alcohol can range from 60% to 100%! Maybe you think that the perfect cocktail will be the star of the evening, but when you want to dine on a budget, this is not a good idea since one cocktail might cost you more than your entire entree.

Financial experts say this bluntly: ditch the alcohol and opt for water instead if you plan to reduce your bill. Maybe you think water is not a fun drink, but many restaurants offer some amazing options of flavored water and sparkling water, and we think this can add a spark of excitement.

If you still want to drink alcohol and also dine on a budget, there is another thing that might work for you: doing pre-dinner drinks. Enjoy your drink of choice at home, and then go to the restaurant. In this way, you will indulge yourself without inflating the restaurant bill.

3. Try to go out on restaurant weeks

Maybe you want to dine on a budget, but the actual prices are not really helping you with this. But there is one thing that can help you eat great food and not spend a fortune: go out and dine on restaurant weeks.

These special weeks are held a few times per year, and generally, the participating restaurants have special prix-fixe menus that include a set number of courses. The prices are discounted, and what we mean by this is that restaurant-week meals can range from a budget-friendly $25 to a still-affordable $60+.

This might be the perfect chance to dine on a budget while trying out new fancy restaurants you never dared to enter before. You will be able to enjoy their incredible menu for a fraction of the usual cost. This is definitely a win!

4. Any discounts are more than welcome

We all love a good deal, and when it comes to food, even better. When you want to dine on a budget, you need to know that there are numerous hidden discounts at your favorite restaurants that are waiting for you to take advantage of them. We are talking about age-related and job-related discounts.

From famous chain restaurants to more luxurious ones, teachers, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, military personnel, students, and even older individuals may be qualified for special discounts.

The trick here is that most of these discounts are not advertised prominently, and because of this, you might not be aware of them and miss them. Next time, try to ask the hostess of the restaurant or the server about this and see if they have a special menu or discounted items.

5. Gift cards

Each time you do some research about how to save money, you stumble upon gift cards. You can also use this strategy to dine on a budget. We know that chain restaurants are not that expensive, and they are a convenient and tasty option, but those bills add up quickly, and you might not be prepared for that.

Costco is the perfect place to get the gift cards we are talking about because they offer packages for national chains at a discount of 20% to 30%.

But there are other ways to get gift cards. For example, the Fetch app will reward you with points that can be later converted into gift cards, and all you have to do is upload receipts from everyday activities such as shopping or gas. Running errands and getting free food after? We’re definitely in!

6. Dinner vs. lunch

Yes, going out for dinner can be an amazing experience, but it can also make you spend a fortune. This is why a better idea would be to go out for lunch instead of dinner, because this is by far more affordable.

For example, many restaurants, especially during slower midday hours, have some special deals for customers with lunch deals and reduced prices. That means you can enjoy delicious meals for less money. Who doesn’t want that?

Also, we know that dinner has this aura that makes it special, but lunch is as good as dinner, and most of the time, the portions are as generous as those reserved for dinner. Many restaurants also offer early-bird, happy-hour, and late-night deals to help you save money when dining out. Think about it, and maybe you can give it a chance!

dine on a budget
Image By Ground Picture From Shutterstock

7. Rewards and cash back

When you want to dine on a budget, restaurant gurus have a secret for you, and that is loyalty programs and cash-back apps. There are a lot of restaurants, from national chains to local favorites, that offer loyalty programs.

Sadly, you will have to give them your email address, and they will get regular updates about perks and rewards. You will get something for every occasion, from your birthday to local holidays and so on.

For the cashback part, you will need apps such as Dosh, and they will provide you with additional savings and rewards. By attaching your debit or credit card to the smartphone app and using it at partner restaurants, you may receive cash back on your purchases. It’s like receiving some money back every time you eat out, which is an excellent way to extend your budget even more.

If you decide you want to have dinner at home, this set of plates is incredible and fits in any home: Corelle Vitrelle 8-Piece Dinner Plates Set, Triple Layer Glass and Chip Resistant

You should also read: 5 Freebies EVERY Senior Over 60 Deserves (Claim Now!)

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