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How to save money when eating out

Most people have probably heard that the choice to buy food at the grocery store and cook at home is a great way to save money. Sometimes, however, it is nice to get out of the house and enjoy a meal with friends or family. But over time, the cost of eating out can add up. Consider these tips to save money the next time you eat out.

first Skip the Drinks

One of the easiest ways to save a few dollars in a restaurant is to skip ordering drinks and ask for a glass of water instead. There is often a significant label on drinks, says RachelCruze.com – even with free refills, you will probably pay more than the drink is worth. And at about $ 2 a family of four can spend an extra $ 8 if everyone orders a soda. Factor in tax and tips, and a round font print can add a noticeable amount to your cost. To keep your invoice down, consider holding the free glass with water.

2nd Sharing meals

If you're not a big diner or you're going to a restaurant that has large portions, you might want to consider sharing a meal. So, instead of ordering individual entrees, consider splitting some appetizers or an entree, says EatThis.com. You can still have a nice meal, plenty of food and possibly a lower invoice.

3rd Think about your time

Sometimes money is saved just a matter of timing. Many restaurants have cheaper options on the lunch menu while the portions are only slightly smaller than at dinner, says EatThis.com. If you can get there just before switching to the dinner menu, you can save money by eating dinner a little earlier. Another option is simply to go out for lunch instead of dinner.

See if there are any offers throughout the week at your favorite restaurants. Some sites offer "kids eat free" nights, weeknight specials or a half price menu for specific hours, says RachelCruze.com.

4th Plan for Remnants

When you go out to eat, make plans for leftovers. If you cannot finish the meal, pour it up and take it home. Or simply plan to save half of your food for later, says RachelCruze.com. Use leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Spending a few extra dollars in the restaurant may not be as great for a deal if you use the leftovers ̵

1; it's like getting two meals for the price of one.

Eating once at a time does not have to break your budget. By planning ahead and ordering strategically, you can save money when you enjoy a restaurant-cooked meal.

Originally published on February 7, 2011.

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