These days, it’s easier than ever to find cuisine that fits every taste and budget. Dining out is a great way to spend time with loved ones, go on a romantic date, or simply enjoy not having to cook. Of course, eating out can still get expensive quickly if you do it often. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to save on your favorite restaurants, no matter what type of cuisine you’re into. Here are the tips you can try next time you go out.
Join as many loyalty programs as you can.
Most chain restaurants have an email newsletter you can join. The downside is that your inbox will get a little bit fuller. The good thing about it is that you can learn about any promotions (like seasonal or birthday discounts) and plan accordingly. You should also do this for local establishments. You may learn about promotions you didn’t know about, like gift card sales or discounted meals on certain days!
Next time you go out to eat, ask whether the restaurant has a loyalty program. If you eat somewhere often, you might get a free item or percentage off your order after a certain number of visits. Off the top of our heads, check out the loyalty programs at Panera Bread, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Chili’s, and Chick-fil-A.
Save on gift cards.
Gift cards can also be a gift you give yourself. Next time you go to your favorite club store like Costco or Sam’s Club, check and see if any gift cards are on sale. As long as you remember to use it, you can get food for free! Some websites, like Giftcards.com, also offer discounted gift cards.
Set a budget.
Set an allowance for how much you can spend on dining out each month. This can help you plan your nights out in advance. Maybe one month you want to use your whole budget and go somewhere a little nicer—you can plan for that too!
Additionally, you may want to consider paying in cash. Studies show that paying in cash instead of with a card can help you spend less, because you’re physically giving away your money.
Try eating at a different time.
If you don’t mind changing your routine, you can save a lot just by going out to eat earlier. Many restaurants have lunch menus with less expensive entrees. You might not get quite as much food, but you probably won’t be hungry afterward, either.
Take advantage of senior discounts.
Seniors are a lucky group, because this is a tip only they can use. Check out our list of popular restaurant discounts to see where you can save. If possible, combine them with the tips above to save even more!
Where’s your favorite place to eat out? Let us know in the comments!
Want to save even more money on everyday items? Check out our roundup of this week’s best discounts!