6 ways to save money eating at the restaurant

There is no busier time of year than the holiday season. Whether for convenience when you are racing around shopping or out for festive gatherings, you’ll probably be eating out more often than you usually do. During a season where your budget is probably already stretched to the max, eating out can be a bad extra cost. dining1

Although eating at home is definitely cheaper, there are ways to shave your bill down in the restaurant.

Watch the clock

The time of day that you are eating out will factor in how much you are going to spend. If you are trying to save money, you should choose breakfast or lunch over dinner. If you are going for dinner, try to go early. Sometimes you can take advantage of an early bird special, or a happy hour, where free snacks or appetizers are part of the fun.

H2O all the time

Adding drinks (especially alcohol) to your meal will jack your bill up substantially. If you are longing for wine with your meal, find a restaurant where you can bring your own. You’ll pay a corkagefee, but it is much cheaper than marked-up liquor prices.

Prix Fixe

Ask if there are any specials that offer a set menu. Often you can have three courses for a fraction of the price of ordering a la carte.

Have an appetizer instead

Who says that you have to order only from the entrée side of the menu? Appetizers are often sizeable and more than enough to eat for much less.

Read the bill

Confirm whether or not gratuity is included automatically. Always tip for good service, but don’t get caught by paying twice and not knowing it.

Kids eat free

If your eating out plans include your kids, go to a restaurant where kids eat free. There are lots of them that offer these kinds of specials on different nights, so do a little research to find out ahead of time what’s on in your community.