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Restaurants are the perfect place for a romantic date, a casual outing with a friend or a night out with the family. You get to sit back and be served, instead of slaving over a hot stove. Unfortunately, restaurants can cost you an arm and a leg. There are ways, however, to eat cheap at a restaurant.
When planning to eat out at a restaurant, consider going at lunchtime. Lunch plates are close to the same size as dinner plates, but about half the price. Lunch entrees are only served during the week at some restaurants, so be sure to do your research before you go.
Eat cheap at restaurants by only attending places that have free appetizers. For many people, half of the bill is the cost of appetizers. Mexican restaurants usually offer free chips and salsa. Many Italian restaurants have free salads or bread sticks. If possible, order your dinner after you have eaten your appetizer, as you are likely to order a smaller meal since your hunger is satisfied.
Eating the daily specials will also help you to eat cheap at a restaurant. The special is usually an entree that they have too much of and are trying to sell quickly. The price of the specials are usually one-third to half the price of the normal entrees.
The Coupon Cabin website is a great place to go to get coupons for popular restaurants. You can eat cheap if you print and bring the coupons with you to the restaurant. Make sure that the coupons are valid on that specific date and location. Visiting Restaurant.com before going out to eat may also help you save money. This website sells 25 dollar gift certificate for 10 dollars at participating restaurants.
If you are taking your children out to eat, look for restaurants where kids can eat for free. Cutting back on the cost of feeding the kids will help you eat cheap. Restaurants that offer this deal are usually kid-friendly as well, helping to make the dining out experience more relaxed.
When making plans to go out to eat, look in your Entertainment® Book for coupons. It will help narrow down your restaurant choices and you will be able to eat cheap. A majority of the restaurant coupons are "Buy One Meal, Get One Free." The Entertainment® Book usually only includes chain restaurants.
It doesn't have to be a chore to eat cheap. Plan your outings ahead of time when possible. If eating out is a last-minute decision, consider sharing a meal with a friend. Restaurant portions are usually large enough to accommodate two people anyway.
One great way to eat cheap is to order water instead of tea, a soft drink or alcohol. Just not ordering sodas can save you five bucks, if two are eating.
Sometimes, appetizers are as big as a meal, and may be big enough to split. One local place has these nachos as an appetizer, and they have *everything* on them. My husband and I will order the nachos, each eat half and be very satisfied.
Eating at lunch is almost always cheaper, too. Also, ordering combo plates like a soup and salad or sandwich can also save a lot of money. At Panera Bread, for instance, their "pick two" combos are about $7, where a full sized sandwich or salad will run $8-$10.
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