Frugal Tips: If you have to go out to eat!

Today I’ll be continuing my weekly spending posts as a summary to keep tracking of my extra spending. My weekly spending for this week consists of the following:

I know, I know – you are probably reading the title and right away you are thinking that nobody HAS to go out to eat. Eating at home can be healthier because you are preparing the food yourself and you know exactly what the ingredients are and you can control exactly what is being added in. A lot of the chain restaurants are notorious for using a huge amount of sodium and who knows what else, and then of course it is up to actual chef. I will definitely agree with all of those points, but I feel like there are sometimes when it is okay to treat yourself.

But even after all those points, If you are inclined to eating out I’m here to give you some tips that you may have not heard of yet. When my family goes out to eat, we never spend full price if it’s just us (or at least I can’t remember the last time we did). The #1 reason for this is because of a great website called restaurant.com. You can always get gift certificates on this website for 50% off or even more! You just plug in your zip code or local area, then search for the participating restaurants.

If you are just two people, there are plenty of gift certificates that are $25 for only $15 or $10. At $5 a person – that’s not bad at all for going out to eat. That’s probably around the full price you’d pay for lunch so you are definitely getting your money’s worth depending on the restaurant – thought obviously not as good as eating in. If you are in a larger group, there are plenty of gift certificates that are $50 for $25 or even $70 gift cards for only $30.

Another thing to check out is all the local deal sites like Groupon, Living Social, etc. Just make sure not to get suckered in to always buying these “deals” and the other ones they have – those expenses add up. They are always offering something like this with a lot of restaurants not featured on that website – more of one time deals.

Now the most important thing in my opinion is that if you do go out to eat you definitely want to limit those times! If you are going out once a week, make sure you are getting a good deal – but also try to cut that down to once every two weeks and so on. Before you know it – you’ll be eating most of your meals at home.

I have personally cut down on going out to eat almost completely. The only time I really do it is for necessary social times, like when people from work want to go out or my friends absolutely can’t be convinced to just hang out at home. I almost exclusively make my lunch from work or take leftovers from home if there happens to be any. My senior year at college I prepared a lot of meals with leftovers in mind, it’s necessary a lot of times when cooking for one person. Sometimes I check out the soup in the cafeteria but I haven’t bought a full lunch from there in over a month.

Photo Credits for this post: Pixabay

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