Dining Guide: Five ways to eat cheaply

Eating out can be an expensive affair no matter where you go, but with food prices continuing to rise, it’s becoming harder and harder to dine on a budget. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to save.

Here are Another Food Critic‘s five favorite ways to save money while still enjoying the same dining experience.

  1. Come for lunch. Ethnic food places are infamous for this; eating in at lunch is often half the price of dinner dining. More often than not, if you come in between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., you’ll find the same food at a significantly reduced price.
  2. Check the website. It’s becoming more and more popular for restaurants to offer coupons on their websites or Facebook pages. I’ve found some ridiculous deals just browsing the website of a restaurant before heading in. One time I got a $5.75 burrito for a buck. Restaurants know only the most interested people check their websites, and they’re out to reward that.
  3. Invest in deal-a-day sites.One deal a day” sites like Groupon and Kegfly offer a deal for customers: if a certain number of people per day come in, everyone gets a discount. Not only does it spur their business, but it gives you an incentive to try somewhere new and bring your friends with you.
  4. Hold the soda. Soft drinks are such a scheme. The amount of soda that fills a standard cup costs a fraction of a cent, but more and more these are being sold for around two bucks. You can find cheap soft drinks plenty of places, but restaurants aren’t one of them.
  5. Substitutions. Often the price of a dish varies depending on the ingredients. Many burrito places will shave a dollar off the cost if you’re getting beef or chicken instead of steak. Regionally, prices on things like seafood can vary too. You can get the same meal items at a reduced price with ingredients that taste only slightly different.

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