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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Save 50% When You Dine Out

As I start to pull together our information for February I am struck by something. Our Dining Out amount, when it is just us two, has really fallen, frankly in half for an average meal. This has allowed us to have, pretty frequently, left over funds in that Envelope!

For us, and probably anyone married with three kids, we often eat out to escape. It is nice to have adult time together. It is frankly nice to not order food through a Clown's Mouth when we do it either! :) We are both foodies, and Mrs. X is an amazing cook so we would good well made food. Unfortunately this can equal expensive (at least to us) and can leave buyer's remorse on the tongue!, not to mention in the past, the credit card!

Guide to Save 50% when doing the Full Dining Experience:

  • Drinks - This is a restaurants profit center. If we are gonna have a drink, we will have one at home with our...($12 Savings)

  • Homemade Appetizer - We plan out those dining nights and there is a great little Harry and David store here that has amazing appetizers (Stuffed Bacon Brie! mmm) that just has to be heated up. I will pick it up on the way home the night before, Mrs. X pops it in at the right time and with the drink above and we are half way through dinner before we leave! ($8 Saving w/purchase)

  • Specials - Restaurants try specials to see if new things work at that location OR if you are in a quaint getaway, just because they want to! It is a great way to try new stuff and save money! ($10-$20 savings)

  • Dinner Drinks - We are water-ers now (tap please! love the planet), but we will have a glass of wine. Often they will have a good wine by the glass, especially at a small restaurant, or...Bring your own. Most will charge you a cork fee, but that is nothing compared to 1.5-3x markup! ($10-$30 savings)

  • Pay Cash - Unless you like doing dishes you will stay to budget! (Priceless!)

  • Dessert - Have it, but not at the restaurant! Find a great little bakery and pickup some neat little deserts there. Or even go for Ice Cream together! A third the price of having it at dinner! ($10 savings)

  • Babysitting - Your reduced time out saves money. This is one I give you 100% walk away from if the weather is good go take a walk together, or go to the park and breathe! (skip the savings and take the lady for a walk, bub!)

This is still an extravagant night, but she is worth it! But if you can do the whole night for $50-$60 instead of $100-$120 you can enjoy it at the time with no post-traumatic credit disorder and protect your budget at the same time!


Fiscal Musings said...

I also highly recommend restaurant.com because you can buy discounted gift certificates. It also helps you find and try out new places. I link to them on my site and they're in my recommended sites list. It's another great way to save money.

RacerX said...

Great link!

Thanks for sharing!

wealthy_1 said...

That's true about dessert. Sometimes you're too full to eat it at the restaurant anyway. There have been times where I've made brownies or cookies earlier in the day and that's our dessert with ice cream when we get home from the restaurant.

RacerX said...

Great idea Wealthy! I love Cookies and Ice Cream...but who doesn't!

Thanks for commenting!

Mrs Nespy said...

Watch out for those specials. Sometimes they are trying out a new recipe to see if it will fly. However, sometimes they are trying to clean the pantry of near-expiration products.

RacerX said...

Welcome Mrs Nespy!

Thanks for the great tips...and for visiting!

nonzenze said...

# Pay Cash - Unless you like doing dishes you will stay to budget! (Priceless!)

My credit card nets me 5% at restaurants - easily worth the trivial amount of mental discipline.

Anonymous said...

Have the drinks, appetizer and dessert at home? So your solution to saving money when dining out is to basically not really "dine out" at all.

RacerX said...

@nonzenze - As long as you say have the disiple to pay it off, it is a great move. Many who are trying to get rid of debt have a issue with overspending on a card. If you don't and always pay it off, then get your reward!

@Anonymous - No the point is really not to go hungry to the restaurant. We then can go to the nicer restaurant that we want to. We don't see it as a burden as the bulk of our night is still out AND together, which is the main point.

On dessert I actually said still have it out, just not there! Given the dinner time it is really 15-20% of the evening at home vs out.

Anonymous said...

Anon@9:17 has basically said it all. Stop the presses, you can save 50% off your restaurant bill by having your pre-dinner drink and appetizer at home, then picking up dessert somewhere else. Why bother going to a restaurant? Here's a tip: save 100% by learning to cook! It will be better for you, cheaper, and probably taste better than most restaurants.

RacerX said...

@Anon -9:30 - Never said the list would cure cancer! You've made a few assumptions that are false: We eat out all of the time; We dine out, just to eat.

First, we rarely eat out, for all of the reasons that you pointed out. On top of that my wife is an excellent chef.

Second, We eat out together to spend time together (which is explained in the original version of the article). It is funny that the comments have been either; Stop spending so much money going out, or, You're a cheap SOB for not spending more.

I guess when 50% tell you to spend more and 50% tell you to spend less you are probably doing ok.

Thank you all for visiting and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Portion sizes are so large these days, that my wife and I can usually share an entree.

RacerX said...

I have heard that one a few times now and it is a great tip. It also helps with that other four-letter word...diet!

Thank you very much for visiting and commenting!

WonderShrew said...

The point of eating out is to spend time with other people, not to gorge yourself into a foodgasm. I have found this to be a useful principle.

RacerX said...

@WonderShrew - I totally agree. Even though there were tips for every potential cource...you don't have to eat them! It is really about being together.

Anonymous said...

That's great. If you like eating out, these are some great gift cards for McDonald's and Burger King.
I tried them and they really work.

McDonald's vs. Burger King $250 Gift Card

Free McDonald's vs. Burger King $250 Gift Card!

Anonymous said...

This is hot if you like eating fast food sometimes. Although I don't recommend eating out a lot but you can still
share them with family members and friends. You can get some free coupons for McDonalds and
Burger King.

Eat for Free at McDonalds and Burger King!

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