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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.