I have a family of 3(was 4 a few months ago). Eating out can be quite expensive especially when you include tip (we budget that into our cost of eating out)

I have some tips on how you can save money for your family by doing some simple things.

  1. The drinks are expensive when eating out. Cheesecake Factory has a strawberry lemonade that I love…the cost…..almost 3 bucks (it does include refills but still…..) Gladys Knight chicken and waffles doesn’t even give you a refill on their tea or lemonade. My advice, drink water….not bottled water as that will be a cost, but get tap water. I ask for a lemon to go along with it. This way I am getting my intake of water with a little flavor added to it. This also ensures that you don’t fill up on drinks. You all know that if you drink too much soda or tea you will get full quick.
  2. Do not go to a restaurant hungry. Eat a lunch or snack before you get there. Preferably some fruit or nuts. That way you won’t eat everything you see on the menu and you will save more money by choosing something lighter.
  3. Speaking of something lighter. These days appetizers are very large…..If you ate before you went out you shouldn’t need a huge meal. Opt for the appetizer. I do this a lot, I will get an appetizer and a small salad. Red Lobster knows I will do this in a heartbeat.
  4. Search for coupons before you go out to eat. Chili’s always does something where kids eat free on Tues., Applebees has $5 burgers on Monday’s, and Longhorn sometimes has a 3 course meal special. Always see if your favorite place is running a special on certain days or if it’s cheaper to eat before 6.
  5. Speaking of specials….some restaurants have 3 course meals. Where you get an appetizer, meal, and a dessert. Two adults should be able to share their plate with kids especially if bread comes out too. We do not buy the kids anything they share off our plate. This saves money and with these kids being so picky these days…..you may want to try that.

Make sure you factor in tips when doing the above. If your waiter was good you will want to pay them. We don’t do the percentage thing. We always start with $10 bucks (we don’t go to fancy places so a starter of $10 fits where we eat) We deduct a $1 for everything not done correctly. If we have to wait until we leave to get a refill – a dollar, if our food is wrong or they didn’t take something off – a dollar, if the waitress was rude – a dollar. Most of the time for a 30 dollar meal our waitresses get at least $8 so in total we put aside 40 for the meal. The most we have ever spent in a restaurant is $80 we do not go over $80 and that includes the tip.

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