GOOD READS

Dining Out With The Family On A Budget

In today's fast paced world, the life of a working parent can be hectic. Between work, school, after-school activities for the kids and more, there is very little time to prepare a home cooked meal and dine with the family at home. That is why it is no surprise to see families dining out at restaurants more frequently. While dining out at restaurants can save time, it isn't so easy on the household budget. Dining out doesn't have to be expensive. Saving money on restaurant dining is easy if you know where to cut corners.

Set a Clear Limit for Each Family Member
Prior to going to the restaurant, set a limit as to how much each person can spend on his or her meal, and make sure your family sticks to the budget. By setting a strict limit, indicating how much each person can spend at the restaurant, you are sending a clear message that the family needs to watch how much they spend when ordering.

Skip the Appetizers
Another way to keep your total down is to skip the appetizers. Many restaurants now give super-sized entrée portions, so there is no need to fill up before the main course. Appetizers are just going to fill you up before dinner, and then you won't be that hungry when the main course arrives. Opt against ordering appetizers and your final bill will be significantly lower.

Mailing List and Coupons Can Save Money
If there is a particular restaurant your family enjoys, ask to be put on its mailing list. Often, restaurants will mail out updated menus and coupons, and let you know when they are having specials. Additionally, if you visit the restaurant's website, you can obtain much of this same information as well. Print out coupons to use towards your next visit and keep an eye out for special deals being offered.

Take Portion Sizes into Consideration
When dining out, take portion sizes into consideration. Some entrées are big enough to share. If several members of your family want the same dish, it may be feasible to share dishes. Rather than have everyone take home a big container of leftovers, share an entrée. Everyone will be well fed, you won't have to lug home leftover food and your bill will be 50% less.

Skip the Alcoholic Beverages
One item in particular that can drive up a restaurant bill is alcoholic beverages. Mixed drinks, wine and beer can be very pricey at restaurants. Instead of indulging at the restaurant, drive home safely and enjoy a drink at home.

Have Dessert at Home
As you are reaching the end of your meal, your well-meaning waitress approaches you and asks, "Can I get you anything else? Cake? Pie?" Rather than taking her up on her offer, nix the dessert at the diner and enjoy a treat at home. Both your wallet and your waistline will thank you.

The Bottom Line
Dining out doesn't have to sabotage your budget. Saving money while dining out is easy, once you know where to cut corners. Sometimes, it just takes a little creativity (and a little cooperation from the family) to save money on your final bill at the restaurant. Rather than splurging every time you go to the restaurant, take measures to cut spending and stay within your budget.



More From Investopedia

Quiz: How well do you know India's economy?

Question 1

Which of these products is India the world's largest producer of?

Poll Choice Options
  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Milk
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Latest News

  • GM says facing multiple probes into recent recalls

    General Motors (GM.N) revealed on Thursday it is the subject of five different government probes related to its massive recalls, including two previously unreported investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a state prosecutor. GM disclosed the probes in a regulatory filing after reporting earlier in the day that first-quarter profit tumbled 88 percent due to the recall. The five government investigations are from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of …

  • Asian shares, dollar struggle on Ukraine anxiety
    Asian shares, dollar struggle on Ukraine anxiety

    Asian stocks struggled on Friday, as fears of an escalating Ukraine crisis eclipsed upbeat U.S. economic data and robust U.S. tech shares. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that time was running out for Moscow to change its course in Ukraine. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan erased early modest gains and fell 0.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock average took an opposite track and added 0.5 percent in choppy trade, after opening solidly lower amid …

  • Obama wraps up Japan visit after security pledge but no trade deal
    Obama wraps up Japan visit after security pledge but no trade deal

    U.S. President Barack Obama neared the end of a state visit to Japan on Friday during which he assured America's close ally that Washington would come to its defence but failed to clinch a trade deal vital to his promised "pivot" to Asia. Failure to reach a trade deal has delayed a joint statement on security and economic ties that Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were expected to issue after their summit on Thursday. Obama and Abe had ordered their top aides to make a final push to reach …

  • 100-Square-Foot Cabin is a Kaleidoscopic Wonderland

    Photo via NYMag Plucked from New York magazine's annual Spring Design issue, which published this week, this technicolor dream of a microhome right outside Santa Fe, N.M. serves as a wee "reverse country house," for couple Linda and Jack Oldham—who... …

  • NTT DoCoMo to exit India, unload entire stake in Tata Teleservices - s …

    Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc (9437.T) will unload its 26.5 percent stake in loss-making Indian mobile phone joint venture Tata Teleservices Ltd and exit the country as it struggles with tough price competition, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday. NTT DoCoMo will make a formal decision at a board meeting on Friday, the sources said. An NTT DoCoMo spokesman said the company was considering various options for its overseas operations but that nothing had been decided. Japan's top …

IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS & INTERVIEWS

  • Too good to be true?

    Developers are offering lucrative buyback schemes. But such promises may not be always kept. …

  • Leaderspeak with Vikram Limaye

    Vikram Limaye MD & CEO, IDFC Ltd shares many firsts from his life. …

  • The Greening of the House of Tatas

    How a dedicated team converted a 90-year-old heritage structure into a benchmark for environment-friendly buildings. …

  • Appy Voting

    Mobile and online apps, seeking to inform or influence voters, have been more active than ever before in this election. …

  • In the crosshairs

    Why the future of FDI in multi-brand retail looks bleak after the polls. …

  • A Samurai from Chandigarh

    Advertising veteran Sandeep Goyal is disarmingly frank as he recounts his years with Dentsu. …

  • Falling in line

    Global investors gear up to working with Narendra Modi despite reservations about his secular credentials. …

MARKET MOVERS

    •  
      Recent Quotes
      Symbol Price Change % ChgChart 
      Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
      You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
    • Recent Quotes News

      •  
        Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.