Eating out can be expensive, especially when you have many mouths to feed. It is also unavoidable most of the times, which means you can easily blow your budget if you’re not careful.
Luckily, you don’t have to treat your children to kid’s meals at fast food joints all the time just to save a few bucks. Read on for some great tips on eating out with your whole family when you’re on a budget.
Define Your Budget
Identifying how much you can spend on dining out will help you stick to your overall budget for the month. Accordingly, decide how much you can spend each time you head out to dine with your family.
Remember that you don’t have to spend the same amount on each meal as you’ll probably be going to different places every time- some restaurants will be cheaper while others will be a tad expensive. Work out how many expensive dinners or lunches you can afford beforehand.
Once your budget is ready, discuss it with your family. Work out a limit for each member and ensure everyone sticks to the budget.
Appetizers are often expensive and may fill you up before the main course arrives. What’s more, a lot of restaurants serve decent-sized entrée portions, which makes splurging on appetizers all the more unnecessary!
You don’t have to deny your family and yourself a sweet treat. Just keep in mind that desserts are usually pricey at restaurants and you can get something a lot better from somewhere else for a lot less.
Do consider whipping up a dessert at home; not all desserts require you to have astonishing cooking or baking skills!
Say No to Drinks
Alcoholic beverages and mocktails are going to be over-priced in restaurants. So avoid sipping on them and stick to drinking plain water. Treat kids to a soda or fresh juice later and yourself to a drink once you get back home.
If you must try everything at a restaurant right from the starters to the desserts, consider sharing meals with each other. If you’re all ordering a portion each of salad, soup, and appetizer, you might want to share the entrées.
Sharing portions means everyone gets to eat all that is on the menu while not burning a hole in your pocket. Also, if the portion sizes are large, sharing will ensure there’s no wastage of food.
Make Use of Discounts
The key to making the most of discounts is researching well in advance. You should know for sure if you are entitled to discounts on your credit card or debit card. If you’re unsure, always ask!
Some kid-friendly restaurants serve free kid’s meals or may offer a single course for free. Find out if there are such restaurants in your area and try them out.
Additionally, if there’s a particular restaurant you frequently go to, ask to be put on their mailing list so you can receive special deals in your e-mail. Do check out restaurant websites regularly for discounts or coupons.
Also watch out for free samples handed out by restaurants and eateries!
Time It Right
If you go out to eat on weekends, you’re sure to burn more money. If you have the option, opt to dine out on weekdays when prices are significantly lower.
Furthermore, lunches are always cheaper than dinners and usually have the same dishes on the menu! So consider having a family lunch together instead of the tried and tested dinner.
If you can’t manage anything other than a dinner, see if the restaurant you’re headed to offers an early bird discount. You’ll have to reach there around 6 pm, which is not as bad as it sounds as there’ll be less people staring at you if your kids happen to throw tantrums!
Given the busy lives that we lead, it isn’t always possible to cook a huge family dinner. And while eating out is convenient, it can make you feel guilty if you’re on a strict budget. With the tips given here, you’re sure to make eating out a guilt-free affair while still sticking to your budget!