How to Save Money on Restaurant Outings

June 15, 2011 20:47 pm · 5 comments

I have a hard time eating out at restaurants because I’m not a fan of spending so much money on one meal. In my mind, I keep thinking, “Wow, that’s like a whole week’s worth of groceries.” We do treat ourselves to nice meals on special occasions, random outings and a pizza delivery every now and then. Here are a few ways I’ve learned to save:

~SwagBucks recently added a Chili’s Family of Restaurants Gift Card to their selection. Our local branch offers Kids Eat Free with an Adult Entree Night on Tuesdays. Great way to maximize that gift card!  (SwagBucks also currently has gift cards for Charley’s, as well. More might be added soon.)

~You can take surveys on sites and use the money from them to treat yourself to a night out. (Some let you turn in your points for restaurant gift cards.) Some to consider: Toluna, Surveyhead, My Survey and My Points. Put the money you earn towards a “date night.” You can even swap babysitting time with friends to save on that–and you’ll both get a nice night out!

~I always keep my eye on daily deal sites, such as Groupon, for local restaurant deals. Now these may not be on the “big chain” restaurants but you may find out what I have and that you can discover a new local favorite–and you’ve saved yourself 50-70% Off your meal.

~Anytime you go out, be sure that you do a Google Search on the restaurant you are going to and see if there’s a current coupon for that place. I try to post some restaurant coupons as I find them. So be sure to look under the Restaurant Coupons category under my Coupons header at the top.

~Check with your local restaurant to see if they offer any coupons. We’ve discovered that one of our local pizza place sells a coupon booklet every year for around $25 and you get a lot of Buy One Get One Free Pizzas, Appetizers and even a coupon for just a free pizza, no purchase necessary! We buy one every year and keep it on hand for when we have people over. We have also even called our neighbors and seen if they want to split the price of pizza delivery some nights!

~Take a look on Restaurant.com and see if there are any discounts for places in your area. They often offer a promo code where you can get a $25 gift certificate for around $2.

~Pick up an Entertainment Book for your local area. They often offer lots of deep discounts or even BOGO meal coupons.

~Check your phone book. There are sometimes restaurant coupons in there for your local places.

~Some schools sell fund-raiser cards that offer discounts on your local restaurants and services. Call over when school is in session to see if they have any or will be offering any later in the year.

~Sign-up for birthday clubs. You can often get freebies or discounts during the month of your birthday.

~Instead of gifts during the holidays or on your birthday, ask your family if they’ll get you a gift card to your favorite restaurant. What a great gift—a night out and no dishes to do!

~Sign-up for the newsletters of your favorite local places. A lot of ours will send out coupons during special times for extra savings.

~Keep your eyes open for gift card deals at local grocery stores. I’ve seen a few pop up at least once a year for money off your next grocery trip when you buy X amount in gift cards. If you already shop there, it’s like extra savings at your favorite places.

~Check your restaurants for special discounts on certain nights. Some places offer Kids Eat Free nights that help you have a fairly inexpensive outing together.

There are so many ways to save money on restaurants that you should rarely have to pay full price. While it can seem like a costly experience, it is nice to treat yourself to night away from cooking and dishes every now and then!

How do you save money when you go out to eat?

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