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Dining Out On A Budget

Drinks, appetizers, and entrees can add up quickly when you’re dining out. Here are some helpful tips for making your money go further when you’re not eating at home.

Consider The Lunch Menu

Some restaurants offer a lower-priced lunch menu. If you can, do your research online and check out the menu before you arrive. This will let you look for any lunch specials. It will also help you decide what to order before you arrive and are even hungrier.

Skip The Apps…

An appetizer always seems like a great idea when you arrive at a restaurant. You’re hungry and you want something quickly. But then midway through your meal, you realize you should have skipped the appetizer – you’re filling up fast. Appetizers are great for splitting with a large group while you’re waiting for the kitchen to prep your main course, but skipping them will definitely save you money.

And Hold The Taps

The same holds true for drinks. The least expensive option is skipping drinks altogether and sticking with water, which is typically provided for free. But even choosing a non-alcoholic drink like a soda or iced tea can save you money over the cost of a beverage from the bar.

Pass On The Red Meat

Most fine dining restaurants have some type of beef on the menu, and it’s often one of the highest-priced items you can order. While we’re not going to downplay the appeal of a huge, juicy steak or a perfectly done slice of prime rib, choosing another option can net you some savings when it’s time to take the check.

Split With A Friend

Portions at many restaurants these days are more than substantial for one person. If you’re ok with splitting a meal with a friend and ordering a second inexpensive side, you can both leave satisfied while leaving more money in your wallets. As an added bonus, there’s less likely to be leftovers to worry about.

As you can see, even a few small changes can make a difference when it comes to dining out on a budget. Whether you choose to skip the extras like appetizers and drinks or decide to split your meal with someone else, there are easy ways to make your dining dollars go further.