I love eating out. Especially when you just too tired and don’t want to cook. But eating out can get really expensive sometimes. I have some top tips on eating out when you are on a budget that is sure to help you save some money. These are tried and tested and 99% of these are the best tips for eating out. So whether you are on a student budget or just looking to save some pennies, this list is to help you along the way.
Top tips on eating out when you are on a budget
Plan what you are going to eat ahead of time
this top tip I try to stick by but sometimes I get there and then I’ll just change my mind. Most restaurants and pubs have their menu online nowadays so it’s very easy to see what they have on offer. They do lots of deals online too. So if you sign up for their newsletter you sometimes get discounts, or you can find out if they offer a student discount. They sometimes do offers on a particular day as well, e.g. 2 for 1 on desserts on a Friday. If you are eating out with friends decide beforehand how you are going to split the bill. This will also save a lot of time when you’re eating out. Also, have a look at the wine menu. If you like wine then most of the time getting 2 small glasses of wine is better value then getting one large wine. Also look at the bottles, again sometimes it’s better value if you are going to have more than 2 glasses.
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Eat at weird times
A top tip on eating out when you are on a budget is to switch up your day. Dinner is usually the most expensive meal of the day, as they will get more customers. Try going for a big breakfast, lunch and then a really small dinner. This will save lots of money as breakfast is always cheaper. This is a handy tip if you are on holiday somewhere.
Avoid tourist hotspots
These can get very pricey! say you are in London, next to Big Ben or the London Eye, restaurants near here are sometimes double the price! they know they will get tourists who don’t want to venture out to find somewhere else to eat. Even just a street or two away will give you a good deal and you can still see the sights as well. Look at posters or blackboards they have outside the restaurant to see what deals they do before you head in. Don’t get caught up in waiters/waitresses that stand outside trying to entice you in.
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Ask for tap water
Always! this is another great top tip. Do some research beforehand to check that tap water is drinkable in the area you are going to though. Staff will ask if you would like water on the table, this is good however they usually get it from a bottle and then charge you for the bottle. Where you can ask for tap water, this is free everywhere in the UK as it is the law they have to supply it. Pro Tip: While we are on the subject of things for the table, check that the bread and platters they put out for you are free before you dig in. Sometimes they charge you even if you haven’t touched them, I have known this happen.
Split your meal
If it is a big meal and you are short on cash, why not split it. This is a good idea with desserts and starters. But if you know there is a lot on your plat split it with whoever you are out with. You can then have the bill at the end if you wish. Pro Tip: If they offer bottomless soft drinks, go for it. They generally have lots of flavors and you can go back for as many drinks as you want, you can also share the drink too.
Vegetarian dishes are sometimes cheaper than their meat counterparts. Have a look beforehand to see if they are and if you don’t mind going meatless then go for it. Some restaurants also have gluten-free and vegan options but they can be the same price or more expensive. Just decide what you would prefer to do. Some dishes you can’t even tell are meatless and some of the salads restaurants offer, are to die for. Just be a bit more adventurous, sometimes it pays off.
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Save dessert for home, or pop to the supermarket on the way back
I often forget about this tip but I saved it till last on my top tips on eating out when you are on a budget. Desserts can be extremely expensive. Sometimes they have offers on, say a coffee and a cake for however much. Or they do a sharing dessert which is good but most of the time they are nearly the same price as the main. If you are heading home afterwards and you know there is a supermarket nearby, stop off there and buy some ice cream or dessert from the fridge section, a lot lower in price and you can enjoy it while you’re in your PJ’s. Win, Win.
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