I have always been the girl that saved money when eating out. Well.. in high school that is. But once i got to college and started going out with friends more often- i learned to really keep my food budget in check.- As a result i always had money to go out with friends!
Here are some ways that I've learned to save and still be able to go out with friends:
- Eating before you go out: This helps you make healthier choices because that way you aren't thiniking aboutfilling your stomach and actually think about the taste of the food
- Getting a box to go : Getting a to go box for a large portion helps you plan your next meal- and that's one less meal you have to cook or buy! Not only do you save time and money- but eating in smaller portions keeps your waistline in check also!
- Groupon/Living Social/ Daily Deals: I've said it before- i have a separate email account for all these sites i use. I get daily updates on restaurants. Whether it's studio movie grill or that new restaurant I've wanted to try. Sometimes even bakeries.. I snag a 2 for one deal and use that next time i go out with friends. This is a great idea for those of you who pick up every other tab- do not do this on a first date but for those of you in relationships- the guys always love when u pick up a tab here and there.
- Restaurant.com- I've used this just as much as I've used Groupon. In fact i used this on an anniversary dinner. I have found great restaurants this way too! You purchase a certificate for let's say a couple bucks and you get a certificate to use at a restaurant. What's great about restaurant.com is that you can find codes online to purchase these certificates. I still have 4 that i purchased all for less than $2. They are saving me at least $25-30 per check. :) Total dealeo!
- Social-Media: Using Social Media to find specials is great. i don't know how many times in colege i got on twitter to find out deals for lunch. My favorite restaurants around school always had specials during the week. This is a great way to enjoy your favorite restaurants and snag a deal on the meals you enjoy without breaking the bank.
- Google- Last but not least- i like to ask my friends and Google the restaurant before i decide to go. I have learned to refuse to go to restaurants where i don't enjoy the food. Bad food is the worst. Reading a review or 10 can save you not only money but also a night of indigestion. Looking at menus before i go out helps me have an idea about what i want to order so I don't order some random dish. I never order salads- the are always very pricy compared to the other menu options and never fill me up. I almost always go for an appetizer or burger. Something like that i know I'll enjoy yet is filling for it's value.
- Skip the dessert: although lately several restaurants have mini desserts available for a few bucks- i have been always the one who declined the dessert- even when my waiter was hot and the dessert menu was making my mouth water.. I'll grab a mint and call it a day.You can get a whole cake and have coffee or tea for half that cost- for all your friends. If you do order dessert- split it with a friend. How many of us actually have room for all that cake anyway? :)
- Cash: I'm really awful at this one- but having cash when you go out with friends will help you split the bill and pay your part without having to pay for other people's large portions or worst their pricey drinks. I can't say enough how many times i got screwed over by ordering a appetizer and water and had to pay part of my friends beers and steaks. Having some extra cash would've definitely saved me money in the long haul.
Sticking with these few rules has always helped me stay in budget and always have money to go out! Don't let a few bad mistakes rule your life as a recessionista- you can always find a way to afford to go out. Hope you found this advice useful!
Let me know if you have any other ideas!
xoxo miss lada