8 Ways to Save on Eating Out

By contributing writer Laura

When it comes to food costs, regularly dining out at restaurants can put a big dent in your wallet. However, if you’re like most people, you prefer eating out and letting someone else slave away in the kitchen. If you end up eating out more often than your budget permits, this can create a huge increase in your food costs. To help you lower costs when you do eat out, here are my tips for ways to save on eating out.

8 Ways to Save on Eating Out at The Happy Housewife

Coupons

Before going out to eat, I always check online and browse through my email inbox to look for printable coupons. I will also physically thumb through any local mailings or flyers with restaurant coupons. I tend to keep a small coupon clutch for retail and restaurant coupons, so that when I get my Valpak blue envelope in the mail, I can remove the coupons I may use and toss the rest.

Specials

When I go out to eat, I try to schedule my dining around a discount day or special promotion. Whether it’s arriving for an early dinner and ordering off the happy hour appetizers menu, a mid-week offer shared that day on the restaurant’s Facebook page, or even a weekly fast food offer at Chick-fil-A, I’ve realized that there are many discounted times of the day, week or month, that can save you a chunk of change.

Kids Eat Free

Speaking of specials, the following is one of my favorite specials of all time: kids eat free! For families with children, eating out can really add up to a large bill. Taking advantage of kids eat free night or kid free promotions can be a great savings. In my area, there are quite a few restaurants that have a weekly kids eat free night in which kids meals are free, with purchase of an adult entrée.

If you have a large family, be sure to check the limits or restrictions on free kids night promotions. Some establishments may allow up to two free kids meals per one adult entrée ordered.

E-mail Subscription

Before visiting a new restaurant, I am always sure to go to their website and sign up for their email subscription or free e-newsletter. I often receive the first notification of special offers or discount days in my email inbox. A perk of signing up to be on their e-mail list is that many restaurants offer new subscribers some sort of coupon or special offer when they first sign up.

Loyalty Cards

If I’m going to a restaurant for the first time, I want to check online to find out if they have a loyalty program or member card that can earn me discounts or special offers. It seems like every store and retail place has their own card, so I try to keep all of my restaurant and dining member cards in one place. I currently keep them in one mini wallet and purse clutch.

Gift Cards

If you love to eat out, be sure to hint to friends and family that you’d enjoy specific restaurant gift cards for holidays and special occasions. Without really asking for them, I’ve amassed a variety of restaurant gift cards from birthdays and Christmas. I keep these organized in a drawer in my kitchen, so I can easily review my current gift cards and then put what I need in my purse before heading out to eat.

I also have one very important tip for gift card recipients that will help you avoid losing value from your gift cards: keep your receipts, especially if you have a gift card with a large value that you use more than once over a span of time.

Online Discount Vouchers

Daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social are constantly offering restaurant deals for more than half off. I love trying out new restaurants that I’ve discovered with a daily deal offer. Also, sites like Restaurant.com can be a great place to purchase a discount restaurant voucher. As with any online deals or vouchers, be sure to read the fine print to find out if there are any restrictions.

Winning with Water

One way I like to save money when eating out is sticking to plain ice water. Instead of ordering expensive beverages, your table can save a lot of dough by cutting out drinks. The markup on beverages is huge, and it’s hard for me to order even a glass of juice when I know the cost I’ll be paying at the restaurant is about what I would pay for a full quart of juice on sale with coupons at my grocery store. Water is so much healthier than sodas or sugary drinks, plus it is refreshing and free!

What additional strategies do you use to save money while eating out? Be sure to leave a comment and share your favorite tips with your fellow frugal friends!

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Free and Fun Family Activities in Your Local Area 2/20 – 2/22

Each week I’ll post links with fun and inexpensive (or free) things to do in your local area and national deals that everyone can enjoy!

Kinder Music

National Activities:

American Girl: February In-Store Events (Events vary by location and minimum age. Find events specific to your area online. Reservations required. For girls ages 8 and up.) During February, they include Grace’s Travel Tags craft, Grace’s Apron Craft & Cookie Decoration, Twists & Braids hands-on hairstyles, Princess Bitty Baby Story Time, Making Memories with Mom and Dad, Valentine Card Craft and more.

Barnes and Nobles: This Saturday take your kids to story time featuring Click Clack Peep!  Elmo and his Sesame Street friends will be at select locations. The event begins at 11am.

Guitar Center: Free Classes through their Music Mentor Series. Register online. No age restriction.

  • Saturday, February 21st: 10:15 AM – Recording Made Easy for Pro Tools
  • Saturday, February 21st: 10:15 AM – Group Ukulele Lesson

Kindermusik: Try a free class (see all the information here). Kindermusik ~ Where Music & Learning Play!

  • Classes for children from newborn to age seven
  • Child development through music and movement
  • Immerse your child in a musical atmosphere of play, song, and dance – while developing fundamental skills
  • Connect with other moms, dads, and families

Lakeshore Learning: Saturday, February 21st from 11AM-3PM ~ Kids make and take a Roar-A-Lot Lion Puppet.

Michael’s Kids Club: Kids can enjoy making a craft every Saturday. This week they are making a Tissue Paper Frame. Designed for kids ages 3 and up ($2/child). Starts at 10 AM and runs every 30 minutes on Saturdays. You can shop while they create.

Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes (for kids and adults): Saturday, February 21st at 10 AM ~ This Saturday Junior Chefs will learn how to perfect Homemade Chicken Fingers! Check the webpage for additional details and make a reservation.  For ages 5+.

Thanks, More with Less Today!

Local Activities:

If you are a blogger who posts a local round-up of family activities, then feel free to fill out this form to be considered for future posts.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

50 Simple Ways to Save $5

Have you thought about the power of saving? What if you found ways to save $5 a day, for the next month. That’s $150. What if you did that for a year? That adds up to $1,825? What if found ways to save $5 a day for the next $20 years? You’d have an extra $36,000!

50 ways to save 5 dollars

It might be difficult to find $5 savings every day for the next 20 years, but even saving $5 a week adds up over time! Most of the time it isn’t the big purchases that hurt us, it is the little expenditures that add up to big debt over years and years. The coffee at Starbucks, the impulse purchase at the grocery store, the drive-thru dinner.

Being intentional with your spending can add up to big savings. Here are 50 simple ways to save $5! Do them all and you’ll have a nice little bump in your savings!

There are so many little ways to find savings here are some of my favorite easy ways to save!

 

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Free and Fun Family Activities in Your Local Area 2/13 – 2/15

Each week I’ll post links with fun and inexpensive (or free) things to do in your local area and national deals that everyone can enjoy!

National Park

National Activities:

American Girl: February In-Store Events (Events vary by location and minimum age. Find events specific to your area online. Reservations required. For girls ages 8 and up.) During February, they include Grace’s Travel Tags craft, Grace’s Apron Craft & Cookie Decoration, Twists & Braids hands-on hairstyles, Princess Bitty Baby Story Time, Making Memories with Mom and Dad, Valentine Card Craft and more.

Barnes and Nobles: This Saturday take your kids to story time featuring I Love You Just Like This!  Elmo and his Sesame Street friends will be at select locations. The event begins at 11am.

Guitar Center: Free Classes through their Music Mentor Series. Register online. No age restriction.

  • Saturday, February 14th: 10:15 AM – Recording Made Easy for Pro Tools
  • Saturday, February 14th: 10:15 AM – Group Bass Lesson

Kindermusik: Try a free class (see all the information here). Kindermusik ~ Where Music & Learning Play!

  • Classes for children from newborn to age seven
  • Child development through music and movement
  • Immerse your child in a musical atmosphere of play, song, and dance – while developing fundamental skills
  • Connect with other moms, dads, and families

Lakeshore Learning: Saturday, February 14th from 11AM-3PM ~ Kids make and take a Uncle Sam’s Mask craft.

Michael’s Kids Club: Kids can enjoy making a craft every Saturday. This week they are making a Puzzle Piece Necklace. Designed for kids ages 3 and up ($2/child). Starts at 10 AM and runs every 30 minutes on Saturdays. You can shop while they create.

National Parks:  In honor of President’s Day, National Parks will be opened to the public for free from the 14th through the 16th! Take advantage of some of the most beautiful places in your area.

Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes (for kids and adults): Saturday, February 14th at 10 AM ~ This Saturday Junior Chefs will learn how to use Bok Choy in a stir fry. This lesson is a part of the 52 New Foods series! Check the webpage for additional details and make a reservation.  For ages 5+.

Thanks, More with Less Today!

Local Activities:

If you are a blogger who posts a local round-up of family activities, then feel free to fill out this form to be considered for future posts.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.