How to Save Money on Eating Out?
Eating out is easy, convenient and expensive. Food takes up a big portion of most people’s budget. Breaking the fast food habit may be one of the easiest ways to start saving money in your budget. Even though dining out can be expensive, you can still enjoy the occasional meal without breaking the bank. Smart spending doesn’t mean that you say “no” to every indulgence, it means you spend with intention, knowing you can afford anything but not everything.
Here are 4 ways you can dine out while still being mindful of your budget:
Have a spending plan
Are you willing to spend $100 per week? What happens if you blow that on one meal? For controlling your food costs, you have to have some idea as to how much you can spend per month on eating out. That’s the kind of discipline it takes, if you’re trying to save your money on food. It is okay to spend a lot of money on something that you love, but you have to set limits beforehand and stick to them.
Split a meal
At many restaurants, the amount of food you get on a plate is far more than what you actually need, so split your meal in two. You can share your meal with your friend or take the leftovers home and eat them the next day. It may seem like obvious advice, but it’s harder in practice. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up eating everything on the plate. To beat the extra calories and save money, divide your plate in half before start eating.
Take home leftovers
Another way to deal with over-sized portions is to split the meal, not with a friend, but into two meals for yourself. Instead of eating everything on the plate, stop when you’re full and ask for a to-go container to take home the leftovers. That way, tonight’s dinner can double as tomorrow’s lunch. If you have trouble disciplining yourself to stop eating while there’s still food on your plate, ask for the container at the start of the meal. Then you can put the to-go portion in the box right away, before you even start eating.
Stick with water
Drinks can add a lot to your final bill. Stick with tap water to avoid the cash drain and empty calories. If you’d still like to have a drink or two before dinner, sip a cocktail at home instead and avoid buying expensive drinks at restaurants.