How to Save Money When You Love to Dine Out
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.”- Virginia Woolf.
Food is something nobody messes with. It’s what we live for. Which is why no one should remain hungry. Food has to be tasty, or your hunger vanishes and you starve after some time. We always want our food to have quality, taste and quantifying for a hungry stomach. Especially when you’re dining out. Who doesn’t love to have a chef’s delicacies for their lunch or dinner? We all like to dine out. You don’t have to cook, the food is filled with extra taste. Whatever is cooked with a twist and gives you the real happiness that comes from good food. A good dinner at a calm restaurant with a glass of wine gives you the best dreams in your sleep. And a low balance in your bank account. Wait. What?
I know that was your reaction but yes, it is true. People who dine out are known for spending lavishly on good food. When the food is delightful the money doesn’t seem to be going away. But there are other things that need your cash flow. So saving, even on food, is important. Home-made food does not affect your bank account. Whatever you cook saves you the cost of going out and paying for the chef’s salary and the restaurant’s profit. But eating out is not bad given you do not exploit your savings account.
How do I Save Money When Dining Out?
If you’re a professional and work doesn’t let have too much of time, then eating out is sometimes a necessity. At least on weekends you really do need the real pleasure of a good meal and wine. But eating out every few days can cause an imbalance in your budget and savings can go down. So here are some things to keep in mind when dining out so you get your tummy full without emptying your pockets for a good taste.
1. Get Restaurant Discount Apps from Your App Store
Getting discounts on food is the best way to keep your dining budget under control. There are lots of restaurant discount apps on your smartphone’s app store that can get you a good discount at fine eateries. Install an app for food discounts and go to the restaurant you like from the partnering restaurants. These apps can sometimes also get food delivered to your door so you can save on the traveling and the service taxes that the restaurants charge.
2. Choose to Reserve the Table
If you’re going out on a group dinner or for a date, choose to reserve a table at the restaurant. It does sound expensive, so let me make things easier for you. Websites like Eatigo and Quandoo provide discounts when you book a table at a restaurant partnering with them. These sites also make sure that you don’t have to wait to get reservations. They provide you with reviews and insights on any good eateries that may be of interest to you. You can find a place that is already under your budget and has discounts too. In addition, you can save even if you eat out often. You also download restaurant discount apps provided by such websites.
3. Use Your Cashback Credit Card
If you own a credit card that offers cashback benefits, use it every time you dine out. Credit card companies are always providing cashbacks on restaurant dining. If you have a card such as the UOB YOLO, you can enjoy 8% of cashback when you dine on weekends and 3% discount when you dine out on weekdays. So if you eat out with your friends every weekend you can share the bill and take the shares of your friends in cash and pay the whole amount with your credit card. This will get you assured cashbacks on your restaurant bills and you can save a lot of money. But remember to pay your credit card bills in full every month or you’ll lose money on the interests you incur on credit shopping.
4. Feed on the Appetisers
Like dining alone? Always go for the appetisers list on the restaurants’ menu. Appetisers are always the cheapest food items on the menu. Restaurants nowadays have big sized appetisers, they are supposed to increase hunger by adding sharp tastes to the meal. But you can easily fill up your tummy on some yummy appetisers and the bill will still be under your budget. If you find a place where you can get a good quantity on appetisers under your budget, you can go and have a different kind of appetiser every day. This will also get you cashback on your credit card and you can get more savings.
5. Split the Main Course
Dining with special friends is always a cheerful experience. Everyone gets to have some pleasurable talks and small laughs while enjoying food and drinks. When dining out with friends split the bill on the main course. This will distribute the load on all the friends and everyone will save some money. Check the restaurant menu for the biggest item on the main course list and order it. Restaurants nowadays have bigger meals which can be shared among two to three people. There are also platters for more than 4 people nowadays. So choose a meal that has a platter sufficient for your group and split the bill. You’ll be full in half the price.
6. Drink Responsibly
First of all, if you’re not much of a drinker, avoid drinking altogether. Order water instead. And when you do so never opt for still water or you’ll be served some high class bottled water which can cost you more than an orange juice. If you really need that wine with your food, buy the whole bottle or don’t drink. One glass is ok if you only need the taste but buying wine in glasses instead of a bottle will cost you more than 30% extra on each glass. Sometimes restaurants also cheat and pour some poor quality wine at the price of a costly one. So when with friends or a date, buy the whole bottle it will save you about half the price you’d have paid on the glasses.
Eating out is a privilege but using that privilege without care can be harsh on your pockets. It will lead to bad states of your monthly budget. Saving on food is the most important saving because the food is something no one can avoid. You need to eat every day, so make sure you have the money to buy food for the next day and all the days after that.
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