Even if you’re an introvert, you have at least one friend that makes you go out and socialize all the time. Even if you hate to admit it, you always have fun. However, when you’re constantly eating out, your bank account gets sadder and sadder. Here are some tips to keep your friends and your wallet happy.
Where You’re Eating Matters
It might seem obvious, but if you keep going to upscale and overpriced restaurants, you’re going to spend more money. If you and your friends are planning ahead, search for cheaper restaurants that offer the types of foods that’ll satisfy everyone.
Plan a Time of Day
If choosing somewhere new isn’t an option, check and see if they offer a happy hour. They’re not always just for drinks. In fact, many restaurants offer half-price appetizers or money off your bill if you dine-in during certain business hours. If you’re drinking during happy hour, even better. Alcohol is so expensive, and you don’t always realize how much it raises your tab.
You can also try to plan for lunch if your schedules allow. Many places will offer a cheaper lunch menu or have smaller “lunch” portions that are priced cheaper than the dinner portions.
Sharing is Caring
Take a look at the menu options. Lots of places offer sampler trays or ‘pick 2’ meals, where you get a ton of food for a reasonable price. If there are foods that both you and your friend will eat, just order one of those and then split the check at the end. You’ll get a decent amount of food for about half the price that you would’ve paid for a regular entrée.
Find the Loopholes in the Menu
If you frequent a restaurant enough, you familiarize yourself with all of their menu options. If loopholes sound too sketchy, think of it as more of a secret menu. For example, my one friend discovered that she could get a bigger portion of food with her ‘pick 2’ combo at our favorite restaurant. Upon looking at the menu more, she realized she couldn’t order it as a sandwich. Because she wanted a sandwich, she asked the waiter if she could have a bun on the side. She’s never been charged any extra, and its the exact same meal. She saves about $4 every time she orders this way.
You May Qualify for a Discount
Depending on the area you live in, certain restaurants and even fast food chains will offer you some type of promotion (a percentage off, free drink with a meal, etc.) if you have a participating college or work ID.
If you’re eating out for a special occasion, do a little research beforehand. Many places will offer you a free or discounted meal for birthdays or holidays such as Veteran’s Day, as long as you can show some form of proof that you qualify for their specials.
Going out and having fun shouldn’t have to be stressful. Follow these steps and you can save your wallet from the stress.