Hey there! I'm Nikki and if you haven't been before, most chances you haven't as this is my new blog venture! My husband and I have just moved from the big city to the little country and, after learning many different ways of saving in the big city and self publishing a book "Simple Living on the cheap in NYC" which is available on amazon, I'm looking forward to learning new ways to save in the little country! While the move is happening, literally and virtually (virtually from simplelivinginabigcity.com to simplefrugalista.com) we have a wonderful guest blogger Mariana here to talk with us about how to save while dining out! And I don't know about you but I definetly need these tips, and I could've used them many times already! :) Hope to see you soon! -Nikki
5 Tips for Dining Out Without Demolishing Your Budget!
Dining out is always looked down upon by the frugal among us, because everyone thinks it's a huge drain on your finances. Of course, it's partly true, but there are many things you can do to ensure that your tab or bill doesn't make your eyeballs bulge out of their sockets. Here are a few tips so that you dine out without dishing out your whole paycheck.
1. Do your research!
This is true of nearly anything that you spend your money on. Be sure to thoroughly research the restaurant where you wish to dine before heading out the door. Use type of food as your starting point, then use price as your next consideration. There are tons of books and local publications out there to guide you in your dining adventures, and there's also the remarkably helpful power of the Internet, which features local review sites like Yelp and City Search.
2. Skip the drinks (or bring your own).
Drinks are so expensive, and they don't have any caloric value. On the other hand, water is always free. So either go with water if you want to drink something with your meal, or if you do want an adult beverage, try going out to restaurants that are BYOB. They usually charge a small corking fee, but it's negligible compared to what you'll likely be spending on even the house wine.
3. Don't let your eyes speak for your appetite.
Many times we will come into a restaurant so hungry that we overestimate how large our appetite actually is. Many restaurants, especially in America, and especially in the southern states, have portion sizes that are much too big for the average person. Consider splitting a meal with a friend, or if not, always take home leftovers to get a second meal for the price of one.
4. Go with friends who can and will pay their own bill.
Of course, going out on romantic dates is nice, but if you are expected to pay every time, you will rack up quite a bit of expenses. So go Dutch on dates occasionally, limit the fancy restaurants once you've gotten past the point of needing to try to impress your partner. Instead, go out to restaurants when the understanding is everyone pays their own way.
5. Don't drink too much.
This one may be a bit of no-brainer, but it's worth mentioning since I see so many people who don't follow this guideline to cheap dining. Drinking stimulates the appetite and makes you want to buy more drinks, so if you're out and about wanting to have a good time, try to limit your consumption. It's always a good idea safety-wise anyway.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.