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Saving At Restaurants

How often do you go out to eat? There are many ways to stretch your fun money. Here are some ways to save on eating out:

1. Use coupons. These can be easily obtained from different sources:

TGIFridays Sign up for "Give Me More Stripes" and recieve printable coupon offers through email.

Denny's Sign up for Denny's Email Club to recieve printable coupon offers

Enter Your Zip and instantly print coupons for your local restaurants.

Do a Search for "Kid's Eat Free in ____(your city & state)" to find out where your kids can eat Free.

Check your Red Plum Mailers for coupons, too, along with the Sunday paper inserts and the Smart Source insert, too. Often you can find printable coupons on their websites for restaurants in your area. My Red Plum Mailer usually includes Friendly's, Shoney's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Long John's and KFC. The inserts have had Subway, Uno's, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse and Olive Garden. is a place where you can get gift certificates at a discount. Be aware that by using these you have to spend a minimum (i.e. a $25 gift certificate may cost $10, but you will have to spend $35 out of pocket to save $15 total)

2. Go out less. If you're going out twice a week for dinner, and you're not ready for a huge change, just go once a week and try to use a coupon. Often you can cut your spending by 75%.

3. Drink water. When you pay for soda alone, most restaurants charge at least $2.00, often almost $3.00. They're factoring in at least one refill in that price. Let's not even mention alcohol as you usually pay $4-$5 per drink, and there aren't any "free" refills. For a family of 4, ordering water instead can save $8-$12 in itself.

Let's look at a typical meal out for a family of 4 at a casual sit-down restaurant:

4 Beverages @ $2.00 ea.= $8.00
1 Appetizer =$8.00(mid range price)
4 Meals @ $10.00 ea. = $40.00
4 Deserts @ $4.00 ea.= $16.00
Total: $72.00
Tax (6% here):$4.32
Tip: (15%):$10.80

Total Cost of Meal Out: $87.12

If you order water instead, subtract $8.00
If you skip the appetizer, subtract $8.00
If you have a $5/$25 or more coupon, subract $5.00
If you skip 2 deserts and share, subtract $8.00

New Total Before Tax + Coupon: $48.00
Tax (6%): $2.58
Tip(pre-coupon total): $7.20
Total After Coupon: $52.78

You've saved $34.34. That's about a 40% savings just from making different choices.