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Dining Out On a Budget-It Can Be Done!

Below you will find an article that I recently wrote for the Gulf Coast Family Magazine regarding Dining Out on a Budget. With the holidays approaching, I know that many of us are looking for ways to pinch every single penny! 🙂

Don’t forget to check out my monthly article in the Savings Made Sweet Column of this wonderful magazine! If you are a local reader, you can pick this magazine up at any CVS, Chick Fil A or other local businesses! Others can check out the online version HERE.


I don’t know about you, but my family and I love to dine out whenever our budget allows. I love the fact that not only do I get the night off from cooking, but I also get out of doing the dishes for the night!

Dining out with your family can be a fun and frugal experience when you know how to look for special offers and discounts. Here are some tips that will help you to not break the bank when dining out.

First of all, I firmly believe that you should plan ahead! Don’t just get into the car and ask everyone where they want to eat. Planning ahead let’s you to take a look at the Restaurant menu online before-hand and to see what kind of prices that they offer.

Secondly, see if the restaurant that you will be dining at has any type of online printable offers. Many times, restaurants will offer coupons for a FREE Appetizer or Dessert, or maybe for Buy One Get One Free Entrees! Just sign up to receive emails from your favorite restaurants, and very quickly your inbox will be filled with money-saving offers! Some of my favorite restaurants that frequently send out coupons and money-saving offers include: Smokey Bones, T.G.I.Friday’s, Chilis, Bob Evans and Bahama Breeze.

Don’t forget to check local magazines such as this one for money-saving coupons. And, don’t throw away those coupons that you receive in your mailbox! There may actually be some great money-saving offers in those ads!

Head over to Facebook to see what kind of offers your favorite restaurants are promoting. I find that Facebook is really a nice way to get promotional offers and coupons for everything from Free desserts and entrees to Free breakfasts and more! It pays to be a fan of your favorite restaurants on Facebook as they update you when a new offer is available.

Take advantage of the Kids Eat Free promotional offers that are available. This alone can be a big savings off of your bill, especially if you have several children!

Sign up for the birthday club at your favorite restaurant and get a Free meal or dessert on your birthday! You will be surprised at how many restaurants have a birthday club, and it really does pay off to sign up for them!

Have you ever thought about sharing a meal with your child or spouse when you are dining out? The entrée portion sizes offered at many restaurants are usually enough for 2 people, and, if bread and salad are included that makes for a very nice and satisfying meal! My husband and I do this quite frequently and it really does help with our budget.

Lastly, instead of ordering soda or tea with your meal what about ordering good old fashioned water? Soft Drinks can really add to the price of what you thought was going to be a frugal meal.

So, the next time that you plan to dine out with the family, follow some of these frugal tips!