Savings on dining out

Other deals, like the weekday Early Dinner Duos at some Olive Garden restaurants, are open to anyone. More than restaurants have a birthday or anniversary club. When your birthday approaches, you receive a coupon by email for a free drink, dessert, or entree.

For example, I belong to the Baskin-Robbins Birthday Club. I get my coupon for a free scoop of ice cream by email a week before my birthday.

I can then cash it in any time over the following 10 days. If restaurant food is pricey compared to home cooking, the drinks are even pricier.

Restaurants charge about four or five times as much for a glass of wine or beer as they pay for it. In fact, the markup on soft drinks is even higher.

And a cup of tea costs you up to 10 times what the restaurant paid for the tea bag. A better solution is to skip the drinks altogether and drink water with your meal for nothing. Ask specifically for tap water. Note that some restaurants charge a corkage fee to open and decant the bottle for you.

You might think the best way to save on a restaurant meal would be to order the cheapest dish on the menu — or at least the cheapest one you like. Restaurants charge a much higher markup on inexpensive foods like pasta than on pricier ingredients like steak and seafood.

Thus, these high-value dishes offer more bang for your dining buck. Moreover, pasta is a dish you can easily make in your own kitchen, even if your cooking skills are minimal.

And you pay that premium no matter what you order. At many restaurants, the amount of food you get is far more than you need. One way around this problem is to split a single entree with a friend.

At some restaurants, you can simply ask for one main course and an extra plate and divide the meal when it arrives. Another option is for one of you to order something small — a salad, soup, or appetizer — while the other orders an entree.

Then you can share both dishes. And the lighter meal is easier on your waistline as well as your wallet. Another way to deal with oversized portions is to take home the leftovers.

Put the to-go portion in the box right away before you even start eating. Even if you get two meals out of your entree, your leftovers are only taking the place of a cheap brown-bag lunch.

That gives you one last opportunity to lower the cost with discounts and coupons. Options include:. Your server is still doing just as much work. Some cash-back cards offer a flat-rate discount on everything you buy.

Others pay a higher percentage on purchases in specific categories, which can include restaurants. You can often get the best savings with a restaurant rewards card , such as the Capital One SavorOne Rewards credit card. With some cards, bonus cash-back categories change every three months.

To keep track of which bonuses each card offers when, keep a note in your wallet or on your phone. That way, you always know which card to pull out at a restaurant for the biggest reward.

Another way to get cash back at restaurants is through Neighborhood Nosh. Link your debit or credit card to earn cash back at participating local restaurants, bars, and clubs. Better still, the card you register with either program can be a rewards credit card.

That allows you to earn cash back two different ways every time you eat out, which is definitely a delicious deal. It works much like Neighborhood Nosh, but it gives you travel rewards on your dining dollars instead of cash back. Finally, make dine-in reservations through OpenTable. It has a rewards program that gives you points each time you book a table.

You can cash them in for a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant on the OpenTable platform. The easiest way to save money on dining out is not to do it at all. A meal at a restaurant just costs a lot more than the same meal at home.

Besides, if you are really serious about saving money, there are ways to make cooking at home much easier. You could also have sloppy joes simmering in a crockpot and pour those into the thermos for an on the run meal. To make it even easier, heat it up from a jar and then pour it in the thermos.

If I took that long to cook a meal every night I would never get anything done. There are tons of meals out there that require 15 minutes or less prep time. We share lots of ideas there to get you started.

Sometimes we like to make things more complicated than they really are because that gives us a good excuse not to do them. Where there is a will there is a way.

Do you really want to get out of debt? Then GET UP, STOP CHARGING, and GET COOKING! He wants to eat out after work since he has to commute but I would rather him buy and eat a healthy portioned frozen meal from a grocery than fast food He can microwave at his work before he leaves.

Not only is it cheaper, it is portion and calorie controlled. Of course I would love for him to be able to eat at home, but the drive is more than an hour. Either that or he needs to keep none perishable food stuffs in his van to snack on til he gets home.

I have offered to fill his big cooler with dried healthy snacks, fiber bars, etc. Thanks for the article, maybe I will forward it to him and let his eyes be opened to how much we are wasting by not thinking ahead and packing extra before he goes to work.

I am a little curioous if he only has a hour of commuting. My husband has a long commute also. I make him two meals a day to take with him. I agree with you that even TV dinners are healthier and much cheaper than fast food.

If you can, try packing him two meals a day. I do my meal prep on the weekend. I make a few big meals and them portion them out for the week in carry away containers. I also prepare and pack sandwiches for the week. He may find he likes it.

My husband was resistant at first also. He hopped on board once he saw all we were saving. Hope this comment helps! Excellent article. I needed to hear this. Thank you for publishing this article. I agree completely. I am great about not buying unnecessary junk at the grocery store but catch me at a weak moment and I will go out to eat in a heartbeat!

Even buying convenience food at the grocery store is cheaper than eating out and the nutritional value of the food in not much different. I keep homemade pizza sauce either canned or frozen, frozen sausage and a bag of mozzarell cheese and maybe mushrooms for quick healthy pizzas.

Frozen pizza night at our house is really clean out the fridge night. Your website is awesome. God bless you both for everything. I have found that by not taking any kind of money checkbook, debit card, cash, etc with me to work, I have saved an incredible amount by taking my lunch, a snack for break and drinking ice water.

It took discipline, but I learned to plan ahead and be sensible and honest about my finances or lack of. Thanks for the wonderful articles.

Thank you for the article and encouragement. Eating at home more and dinners out are once a month instead of every weekend. I grew up in the restaurant business many years ago and know how overly-processed the food is and how it is prepared.

We as adults need to set a good example for our children and show them that healthy home-cooked food is the best way to live for the long haul. Kids learn from their parents so why are we so surprised to see one generation after another getting fatter and fatter? Obesity in this country is mainly caused from eating too much and restaurants serve way too much!

Our healthcare costs in this country are out of sight often due to the bad eating habits of our citizens. Great advise. If even one person is helped you have done an excellent job of telling the truth. Telling it like it is, not sugar coated.

Love your comments. Keep up the good work. Tawra— I enjoy your newsletter very much. I like the way you intertwine bible stories with your message. Jesus will provide when a person stops whining, uses the brain they were blessed with and gets to work.

Thanks for all the hard work that goes into creating such a useful website. YOU ARE SO RIGHT! I mean, if we are not smart with the little we have now, why would God give us more money to just waste?

Thank you Joseph for your comment and to all who are being responsible people, YOU ROCK!!! By the time I purchase all the necessary ingredients for Mexican food especially I have spent much more than we spend grabbing a couple of entrees at our favorite place.

Yes, SOME of the ingredients could be used in other dishes and that is a consideration BUT we live in a small travel trailer and storage space is also a major consideration. Our refrigerator space is very small and freezer space is almost none. I home can and dehydrate as much as possible to save space in the refrigerator and freezer.

Things like chunks of roast beef, chunks of chicken, etc are canned so that they do not take up space in the refrigerator but are readily available for meals. We would eat very poorly if not for the crock pot especially when we are working at campgrounds etc.

Our hours vary and it is so easy and efficient to put something into the crockpot and have it available whenever we get off and area able to eat. Eating out constantly would quickly use up our soc sec income so it is VERY limited.

With children I can readily understand how eating out would put a major drain on your finances. Especially considering that many children would leave a lot uneaten. I have a BA with a family finance emphasis, you hit things right on, the one thing I saw when doing my internship and counseling families was that they wanted their debt reduced or to have the ability to pay their monthly bills but…were not willing to do what it takes to do that.

They wanted it to be easy and quick but…the debt they got into took time and changing spending habits. I love it when someone, like yourself, actually puts the responsibility on people with the habits that are detrimental to their families or their welfare. What a great read!

was a real treat! Also to get a turkey dinner at a time other then Thanksgiving was a treat. We just have too many things available at all seasons of the year. I have been guilty of too much eating out and seeing the waste and feeling the boredom of another meal out!

You just go out, order the meal, stuff the food in your face and then pay the bill and leave. It was nothing more then an act of boredom! I have used menu plans and will again get back to doing it. It did save money and especially time. Also you could easily figure out what to do with what was left of the roast in the next few days.

I will get back to making the weekly menu AND get the crock pot out and use it! for the kids and your SO vs. buying them. Even bake bread! The main one is that the house wife or house husband needs to take pride in what they do. They make life possible and better for everyone in the house.

A clean house, a home cooked meal, clean clothes and etc. Maybe it is time to slow down a bit and live simpler lives. Paet, it is funny you should mention this. I took the thing home. Made me a cup of coffee, put my feet up and took a big bite of my dough nut. Boy was that good. I savored every single bite slowly chewing then sipping some coffee.

I thought I was eating manna from heaven it tasted so good. As I did that I realized part of our problem is we have so much and get what ever we want when we want it so often that nothing is a real treat for us.

I spent 15 mins. enjoying that silly dough nut but many of us gulp down or something similar a day without even realizing we ate them.

I feel especially sorry for our children who are being robbed of so much pleasure. Paet, I was thinking the same thing. I remembered when eating out was a special treat. In my household we decided to put the breaks on and become more self-sufficient. We are also trying to make new traditions and try to focus more on family.

They had THE best strawberry pie in the world. As always Jill, this is a great article. I used to love eating out instead of cooking.

hee hee. I agree totally with you!!! Cooking at home is so much better for the budget and our health!!!! You can have the children get involved by setting the table or depending on their age, even planning and cooking dinner one night a week.

I did this with my daughter from a young age. We began with her setting the table and helping to clear it after dinner and then when she got older she would plan one dinner a week and with my help she would make that dinner, She was very proud of her accomplishment too!!!

She is now grown and out on her own, but I can rest assured that she does know how to cook! Thank-you for telling it like it is!!!

I eat at home the majority of the time and only very occasionally eat out and although I have at least six cookbooks I still find that yours is the best!!! My sister is constantly eating out yet when she lost her job she was relied on several family members to pay her bills because she had no emergency fund.

I wish she would wise up as well as all those people who complain about their debt as they are driving thru a drive thru or headed to a restaurant. Love it! I am so amazed at the packed parking lots of ALL the restaurants in town ALL the time! You go girl. I would like to say how very true it is that many of us do not realize just how much we spend eating out.

Since the beginning of the year, we have been tracking every reciept for all purchases in a notebook under a category. We add them up at the end of each month. We were surprised to see even though we eat out less than once a week on average, we were spending at least a couple of hundred dollars for our family of four to eat out each month!

Keep all the receipts in a shoe box till you record them and see for yourself what you are really spending. It puts it into perspective when you have to face the numbers on the page.

We rarely and I mean rarely go out to eat. We cook very simply but eat very well and we always wonder why so many people eat out for almost every meal of the day!

If remember correctly the man who wanted to be healed had to be the first person to touch the water and there was always someone who touched the water before him.

The water only moved at certain times and only the first person to touch the water got healed. I think you are correct but after all those years I think I would have scooted myself to the edge and kept trying to be the first. Very Well Said!!!!! I could see that this was becoming a debt issue and told him, as much fun as it is, it has to stop.

I am partly to blame as I was forgetting to take something out or would be too busy on weekends to cook when we would get hungry. Planning my weekly meals has helped tremendously and now its a treat to go out, not an every weekend thing, and we pay cash instead of using a credit card.

Loved this message.. hope lots take your advise.. we eat out very little. But when I worked it was hard to take a lunch everyday.. It is a treat when we do now.. thanks for all the info.. We eat out rarely but with our life style it is so tempting to do so.

We leave in the morning go out boating and only eat crackers and cheese or finger bun sandwiches during the day. We get home about 9pm exhausted. I now keep a box of egg rolls, chinese appetizers, fish sticks and french fries in the freezer.

We get home and while we shower the oven is pre-heating. Put pans into the oven and go relax while dinner is cooking. Going for take out we wait 15 min. take it home let it get cold while we shower and it loses its appeal if not piping hot. But I still get to relax before and during the meal.

Your remark about how your grandson can boil a hotdog made me smile. The eggs were hard, the toast burnt, and the coffee full of grounds. She ate it anyway — what love! A year later, I was able to cook meals for the whole famly.

If a ten year old can cook meat, mashed potatoes Real ones, not instant and vegetables, any adult ought to be able to do it with little trouble. BTW, that family was Mum, Dad, and the five of us kids. Later, my elder sister moved home with her baby son.

I just peeled an extra potato, and served homemade muffins for dessert. I had to laugh — at myself. To shorten a long story, 25 minutes later I finally got my food, and I was very hot, very sweaty sorry, ladies , and really pretty aggravated at myself.

NO, it did not. Boy, did I learn a lesson there. but there are times I just want to eat and not have to clean up. I am definitely learning that cleaning up a bit definitely pays in the long run! Love this! Our favourite: A rotisserie deli chicken leftovers become sandwiches , a bag of those 5-minute quick-cooking shoestring fries, a bag of salad and a tomato, cuke, etc that can be tossed in leftover salad with chicken on top for someone.

We would have some rolls too if we could eat wheat. Rotisserie chicken are a life saver I agree, I just wish they did not have so much sodium the one at wall mart have mg of sodium. There is always a trade-off, Chris. Great article! We only eat out for special occasions. I cook dinner for us every night and spend roughly an hour as well as cooking breakfast and lunch for our family of 7 and packing a lunch for my husband.

Thanks for your time! Elizabeth Gregg. Elizabeth, if you go to the home page of the web site and type in 30 minute meals in the search box you will come up with a whole bunch of menus ideas we have on there.

Tawra is wanting us to do a quick and easy menus book soon but until then this should help you. We also are having a sale on our grocery saving e book next week, I think, which is really good because it teaches how to not only make your own menus up but so many other ways to get in and out of the grocery store and kitchen fast and with less work.

My husband and I cook for four hours in one go on the weekend. Last weekend we added hand-held meat pies store bought pie shells stuffed with ground beef, potatoes, onions, and carrots and then individually wrapped in foil for quick grab and go. Brown rice, ground turkey, onion, peanuts, and cilantro medley to eat warm or cold.

Six individual tossed salads put into snap and seal and they stay fresh for five days. Roasted carrots, beets, and onions — just pop into the oven.

Steamed two bags of spinach and two heads of cauliflower. Microwaved four sweet potatoes, peeled, and mashed with butter and walnuts.

Boiled and peeled six eggs. Homemade mac and cheese with jalapenos. Used about 1. All reheat well or are eaten cold or at room temp. We find it much more time efficient to multitask — there are, after all, four burners, and two oven racks.

Doing once a week takes 8 hrs that is the hours total for 2 of you of cooking time. a week when you do the meals each evening. Just so you would know. Eating out was a major obstacle on our path to getting our finances under control.

How ridiculous that sounds now, treating ourselves to more debt! The one major thing that has helped us go from eating out a week to eating out only a month is planning our menus. I can not stress how much this has helped us!!! Also, I love my crockpot, literally, LOVE IT!!

THANK YOU!!!!!! I have been following you for a year now. Between you and Hillbilly Housewife. Good job Becky! People think we are crazy when we say it can be done but you are the perfect example it can.

Do you feel like you have really suffered or is it better? Well said! My husband and I when we started out family made the decision to cook more homecooked meals. Dinner has always been an open invitation with friends and family so we quite often have last minute guests at our table, which is easily accomidated for.

We made an 8 week meal plan, and a master grocery list of all the ingredients needed for all the dishes. The master grocery list also acts as a price book so if something is on sale, we know if its worth stocking up.

This passed Easter, our extended family wanted to go out to a restaurant for brunch. Instead, my husband and I invited everyone over, and we cooked. Best part: I spent 30 minutes in the kitchen to make all that food.

Simple things like a little bit or garnish, folded cloth napkins, fresh bread and a simple salad gave the meal a gourmet feel. It was hard to give up our fast food diet, but now when we do treat ourselves to it, we pay for it, and not just financially.

I WAS JUST THINKING-WAIT-I ATE LUNCH OUT TODAY AND NOW I AM ORDERING DINNER-WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!!!!! I can justify- a lunch date with a friend, planned so that felt o.

k- then visiting a sick relative.. DEAD tired as my busy season just ended BUT whne I add it up- OUCH!!!!! I am re-committing to a certain dollar amount in a envelope a week and when that is gone- no excuses!!!!!!!!!!

THANKS for the kick in the butt!!!! Congratulations on your always wise and practical advice! You are people that really make a difference in this world! Hope your site gets known more and more internationally. You had some good points. I especially liked the idea to just take some hotdogs in the thermos for the kids.

Dinners or lunches do not have to be fancy all the time. I think for myself, I tend to get the pizzas or grab take-out when I am tired. Some days getting a take-out pizza is a big help.

I know it is quick and easy and may not be and all the time thing but really there are plenty of other quick and easy that are healthy. One thing I always say is that if you worry too much about every little bite you put in your mouth and stress if this has too much of that or too little of this that you are causing more damage to your health by all the stress and worry and not being able to relax and eat a simple hot dog once in awhile.

Not only are people stressing themselves out but causing their families a lot of stress. If a person is always worrying about something all that good food you ate this morning is almost canceled out by all the worry, fear and negative thinking done that morning.

You are preaching to the choir here! We ate out just last night. We could talk about anything we wanted without eaves droppers. No line, no waiter, no tip… It was great! The windows were open and the breeze blew through the house.

I think we will repeat this. Meanwhile, my son took his wife out to eat. I carry emergency rations in the car or bring the lunch box depending on what our plans are. If I ever consider going to fast food, I chicken out really quick! It costs too much!

Like someone else said, the food costs way more than what I can do at home. Going out to breakfast? One fried egg costs more than the whole carton of eggs! Why should I pay for that?

Thank you for sharing of yourself as you share your points and ideas. I have been reading your newsletters for YEARS and enjoy it every single time. Not many resources are written in such a friendly, frank way that I each time I see it, I am eager to read.

About time someone speaks out. And one if my pet peeves is so many people have no money for food,but are constantly talking on a cell phone,which i feel is not a necessary item. Now i feel better. Thank you. There was a sort of funny but very sad email that went around for a while a year ago.

Why was she at a soup kitchen if she could afford a cell phone for that price? Excellent post! Thanks for all the great advice! Great article — and great website in general! I just discovered Living on a Dime and am having a wonderful time going through all of the articles. This one in particular I love — I have a baaaaad habit of going out for lunch, but have been working on breaking it.

I am saving SO much money! They are wonderful. Now, if only I can tear myself away from Living on a Dime, I can go start peeling potatoes for dinner… ; hehehe. Loved your comment Kristi — especially the last part about tearing yourself away. Too funny. I am a recently divorced mom. I had to learn to not go out to lunch.

I often did times a week. I enjoy getting your emails, I have really enjoyed this article. I am a rural mail carrier, and alot of times get in late off the rt. get home help feed the cattle, come in start dinner, try to clean part of the house. Now that the kids are grown and gone I have done it more.

Ouch on the ck book! I am trying really hard to figure out how to do a budget. Anyway, I have your Dining On A Dime and bought my daughter and my daughter in law one also. I got some of you ebooks also.

There is sooooooooooo much more love in every bite of a homecooked meal. There is a certain satisfaction of performing such a loving act for your family. Eating out should be for a special event or celebration. Not the other way around. Bring your family together for dinner.

Wait a minute!!!! Every thing is backwards nowadays. How sad. And you are soooo right. It does not have to be gourmet or fancy. Just go cook already. I just got this newsletter in my inbox today and am so thankful for the information.

I honestly have been so encouraged to change these bad habits because I have this information and support available and I think about it constantly.

Now when my husband and I leave the house around a mealtime, go out for the day or could end up in a situation far from home for an extended period of time, I pack his lunch bag with some water, a flavored beverage of sorts, some healthy snacks or a homemade treat that I store in the freezer and a cold pack.

We then have an alternative to buying more food and insentive to plan ahead and eat what we brought. Thank you SO much for the article on eating out. Having lived quite a few years abundantly on less, I was beginning to wonder if anyone out there had a grip on reality.

Thank You for your wise words; I pray they are a blessing to someone. I love this article. We added up about Even when you are tired after work, the kids can help and fix a quick meal and they can also help clean up!

They have a lot more energy than we do! Did you have an article last year about growing a plant in a planter made of an upside down hanging bottle? If so could you send me a copy. I think it was in one of your newsletters, but I may be mistaken.

Your newsletter is really great. It is a home economics class extroidenare! Thank you, thank you. I pass this along to many of my friends. The only thing you left out was what we pay for water each day. If only I would have thought of it first. Ann I know what you mean about the water thing.

One of my pet peeves. I wrote a big section on it in our Grocery Shopping on a Budget e course. You throw in bottled water and it can go up even more. I needed a few groceries and while at the grocery store remembered that advice. I went to the deli and bought our favorite rare roast beef sandwich meat, which usually is not on the list because of the cost.

Make enough for Saturday lunch and a Sunday lunch. Some fresh biscuits or toast on the side is a wonderful addition. So all we have to do when we get home from church is warm up the soup! It has saved us so much money because we never go out to eat for Sunday lunch anymore.

We used to go out probably at least once per month. I had a teen-aged student male who complained about his stomach hurting.

I asked what he had had for breakfast since I thought that might be the cause of the pain. I told him how to cook oatmeal and gave him a few suggestions for other things. Several weeks later he proudly told me that he was cooking breakfast for himself and his younger sister every day.

Such a small thing to make a difference for two people! As a recently divorced mother of 3, I am completely budget run. During the work week, I can very easily bring my own lunch, but as crazy as it sounds— I feel bad when my coworker who is a batcheor and rarely buys groceries and eats out all the time but it financially stable has to go out to eat alone!

Maybe I will start bringing in lunch for him, too! My coworker and I used to spend lunchtime going over to our cafeteria and having lunch and talking.

We decided, after many stomach aches, and other problems, that we would start cooking at home for 2 and sharing lunch. We not only had much better food but save tons of money. Amen to every word you said! You are so right!

I wish you and your family well. Will you continue the web site? Sure hope so. Thank you, Anne. Anne, Tawra and her family is moving to Colorado and for the moment I am staying here in Kansas.

I hope to move there eventually too. Nothing will change at all on the web site. We can run the web site the same way from any where.

Even with us living in the same town Tawra and I do most of the web site stuff on the phone with each other which we will still do. I laugh because when they moved to kansas and I was still in Idaho by myself I averaged plus calls a month between the grown kids and grandkids.

It was a good thing we had free calling. The grandkids are dying for me to get a web phone this move. Not too sure about that one. But it might be fun. I will get to visit them often anyway. Interesting about the man at the pool. When we say there is not time to do—we are telling God He messed up—He should have created more time for us.

Appreciate the info you give—God bless on your move. Everyone has a bad day or two, but and please do not take offense as none is intended, just an honest inquiry it sounds from the tone of your most recent newsletter that you may be experiencing a touch of burn-out.

I see my husband going through burn-out at work and suggested that he take a few days off, and he is doing much better and regaining his perspective.

It is difficult, day in and day out, to help people with the same type of troubles, but your patience and persistence in doing so for years has made a lovely website that we refer to frequently, thank you for all you do!

I seem to recall your having an ebook on dealing with chronic illness in home responsibilities? Also, speaking for myself alone, it takes me at least 30 minutes to get a roast in the oven — I cannot peel and chop taters and carrots and celery fast enough and brown the roast enough to do a meal in 5 minutes.

I think it may perhaps be more realistic for some people to suggest that the time is necessary but worthwhile for your family, because even with cleaning up while I go and chopping vegetables the day or night beforehand, everything just takes longer right now.

Thank you for all you do, and your many great articles and insights,. CJ it is called Common Cents When You are Sick scroll down the page a bit and you will find it.

It covers all kinds to things on what to do when you are sick and we try to encourage those who are. You are an amazing gal, and you probably do take 5 minutes only!

Thanks, C. I love your articles and look forward to them all the time. Sometimes I even save them in a special folder to go back and remind me.

I am not good with archives ;- So I have to admit that when I read the articles it reminds me of my preacher preaching to me and stepping on my toes. Can I get an Amen!!! I realize I truly need to implement the advice from you all along with my pastor. Thank you once again for a wonderful read!

I love these words of wisdom because they are truly nuggets of truth. As an older single man, who has always cooked for the family, and now finds himself alone and still cooking like I had teens in the house, I need help. I find I keep saying that I will eat the left overs, and then wind up throwing much of it in the trash.

The practical tips of eating at home are good, but what about us that need help with eating for one or two. I have found that my budget has gone down some but still remains higher than I would like.

Would you consider addressing these issues. Keep up the great advice. BTW, I now make my own pizza dough thanks to Living on a Dime. Jim I get asked this question often.

I have even written an big section in our e book Grocery Saving on a budget e course to cover this whole subject. I mention many tips and ideas on how singles can save.

One thing I think you have already figured out what part of what you need to do and that is to cut back on the amounts. I make up 2 potatoes to mash instead of the 6 I use to cook.

One for dinner that evening and the other I use for potato pancakes the next day. The better buy per oz. would be the 30 oz jar.

Hope that makes sense. There are many little tricks you can learn. I am as guilty as anyone with eating out and rather than quit cold turkey with eating out, we have made a set of rules to help us step-down from eating out so much. And last but not least 3: We put a set amount of cash in a cookie jar once a month for eating out and when it is gone, it is gone.

I find that my kids love to help me in the kitchen, especially since it is grilling season. If the boys have sports practice after school, I keep a supply of turkey or ham, their favorite cheese, bread or wraps in my office fridge and make them sandwiches or wraps for snacks to eat on their way to practice.

It sure helps to not have to hit the fast food restaurant or the gas station quick counter. Good ideas Brenda. Jill, I hope the new books you are writing will be in real book form. I love real books. Ebooks are okay, but not the same. I reread and reread the books I have of yours that are real books in the evening while relaxing and I look forward to that many times.

I love all your books. Saves calories and choc chips for future baking. After all who made up the rule that a person has to use a whole bag of choc chips for one batch of cookies?

The manufacturers get rich that way. HA HA. Yes, Bea we are working on getting new covers and re-typesetting right now. We hope to be releasing a new print book once a month of our e-books toward the end of the summer…I hope. I have always loved to cook and have been cooking since I was about 8 years old, but when I went back to work full time, we slipped into going out not for dinner, but lunch every day.

I read your advie to stop eating out and stopped, cold turkey no pun intended! we now have taken the money that we would have spent on food and invested it in a gym where we go 3X a week and of course even though the gym is an expense, it is so much less than the daily cost of going out to eat and we are so much better off for it.

Fishing is also an option, but we need a boat and with all of the money that we have saved from not going out to eat, we are planning on buying one in July, cash of course! Thanks for your advice and keep up the good work.

ya know what i just noticed? they do not eat out in that movie not sure of the others … the wife fixes the meals and when they have guests, she makes the vegi plate.. most of the movies that i have seen and can recall..

all of them have a restaurant scene in it.. just wanted to share.. i have thru lots of trial and error.. the tea that comes to the closest in that taste.. its louisianne tea.. it is really good.. i asked our server and she said they made the iced tea with louisianne tea … i did manage to get some lipton cold brew for my hubby … and normally he is fine with anything i give him..

any kind of tea he will drink and not sure if had an upset tummy or if they use different types of tea blends so u can make the cold brew.. or it was bc of the leukemia he has and the meds.. or whatever.. and his tummy doesnt seem to bother him with this blend..

normally he can only handle one pot of the others but with this one he is fine.. i take one tea bag and brew for the coffee pot 12 cup pot and then tell him to water it down for each glass … so its like half tea and half water in the glass he cant handle ice cubes,, why?

not sure but his dr said it was a side effect of the leukemia.. not sure if this is really true but it is with hubby.. just wanted to share :D. Hi Tawra! Just a quick hello from Sydney Austalia.

I love getting your newsletters into my inbox at work. You are a blessing to us here in Oz! Bless you so much Izzi Sydney Australia. Thanks Izzi.

As I have said before we love hearing from our readers who are outside of the US. Have a super day — night???? and very pertinent i think for me at this time.. we nickel and dime ourselves into debt…and usually its a mcDEBT!

Hi Celina. Thank you for these great reminders! They help me out of the cooking slumps I get into sometimes. Your simple suggestions definately make daily cooking easier. I especially appreciate your personal experiences, and never do you sound sanctimonious!

Love your spot! I AGREE!!!! Most times I just put leftovers in a plastic container in which I heat up in the microwave at work the next day.

For that SAME price I could have gotten a couple of packs of luncheon meat and several bottles of soda not to mention a couple of whole loaves of bread! AH live and learn!!! Next time I will bring the oatmeal to work!!!!! I just found your website and I dont sugar coat anything either.

I just wanted to say this post really opend my eyes to ALOT of things I could and should be doing differently. My sweet man is such a great cook that we rarely go out to eat.

the hard part is slowing us down so that the leftovers are eaten before the next feast… He sometimes has a vision of a new meal before we have cleared the last out of the fridge….

Tonight, we ate mostly leftovers and when we were done, he sadly said that he would do the dishes in the morning. However, I got the dishes done in about 7 minutes, and tomorrow the counters will beckon for another great meal.

I have found that we cannot purchase a meal at a restaurant that comes close to what we can do at home, and the quality at home is under my control — fresh, local, no additives, seasonal….

I just found your website and I love it! Do you have any suggestions on saving money while doing your own cooking? We very rarely eat out, but my food expenses are almost equal to our mortgage I have 6 children, including 4 teens.

Thank you for all your do. Jackie just keep checking out the web site. We have articles about saving juice, pop etc. We also have a Grocery Shopping on a Budget e course which is packed full.

I like it the best of all the books for having tons of info and different info on saving when buying groceries. It and like with most of our books we find most people get back the money they paid for it by using even one or two tips from it. But like I said just keep looking at the different articles.

A quick tip for those days when ball practice is eating up all your time. Heat canned chili and put it into indidual packs of fritos, throw some grated cheese on top and give the kids a spoon. Quick easy and no cleanup, just throw the bag away. Also good with doritos and leftover taco meat!

Wow, that was a long post today…but really, really GOOD and very necessary : : My dad and I used to eat a lot of processed food, and eat out, too. Although for us, what got us to stop doing that was our health.

Our food bill has drastically increased simply because we had to go gluten free. One of our children has been diagnosed with celiac disease and I have since been diagnosed as highly gluten intolerant. Eating out is not usually an option. Gluten-free bread is expensive. So stop eating bread, or at least drastically reduce it.

Eat more fruit, veggies, rice, different GF grains, meats, eggs, etc. We still do some breads, cakes, etc, but they are treats not staples. Also, know which popular brands are generally gluten-free and will label allergens. Kraft in Canada will ALWAYS label gluten and gluten cross-contamination.

I can buy their stuff fairly confidently. I hit up people I know that are traveling to the US to bring me back a bottle or two. My local grocery store will happily provide a list of gluten-free in-house products like sausage on demand, or wil make to order for no extra charge. You just have to ask.

We buy organic meat and eggs directly from the farm, get a garden share in the summer plus our our garden, can and dry our food when we can. We are also gluten-free. We spend less money than most families in our area on food. So, went home and said, dinner is scrambled eggs, bacon and toast with apple slices.

Hubby likes this meal and it cost me nothing more since all the ingredients were at home. It only took about 15 min to make microwaved the bacon while the eggs were cooking and only a few minutes to clean up after dinner.

I bring my lunch and breakfast every day to work and like that I can buy a whole package of English muffins for the price of one muffin at our deli here in the building. I think only having cash to spend works well for me. Not tempted to spend more than I can afford. One more note.

This reduces the cost of the items I buy at the grocery store and I like purchasing local items and keeping our local farms still going. Sometimes their costs are a little more but you cannot deny the freshness.

Agree wholeheartedly with everything in your great article! My husband works 55 hrs. a week physical work at age 59 and even though we could afford it, he takes his lunch every day except Friday.

For many years, he has even had the exact same lunch every day! Nice to have an outing, though.

17 Easy Ways to Cut the Cost of Eating Out · 1. Special menu. Many restaurants offer a reduced-price menu for seniors How to save money on dining out · 1. Hit up happy hour · 2. Share your plate · 3. BYOB · 4. Be careful on self-service The average commercially-prepared meal, by our estimates, costs around $ Even if you rarely spend this much money at

Savings on dining out - Make “less but often” your motto · Treat yourself, by yourself · Limit your alcohol intake rather than cutting booze out 17 Easy Ways to Cut the Cost of Eating Out · 1. Special menu. Many restaurants offer a reduced-price menu for seniors How to save money on dining out · 1. Hit up happy hour · 2. Share your plate · 3. BYOB · 4. Be careful on self-service The average commercially-prepared meal, by our estimates, costs around $ Even if you rarely spend this much money at

You don't need to look very hard to find offers, starting with lists on sites such as LushDollar or Wallet Hacks. Related: 12 Cheap and Easy Brown-Bag Lunches. AAA and AARP members can get discounts at many restaurants just by showing a membership card.

Another way to save is by buying an Entertainment membership for coupons on food, drinks, and more available as a hard-bound book or an app. Many local restaurants and some chains advertise in coupon books sent by mail.

Or check online at Money Mailer or ValPak. Note the fine print, as some places require a minimum purchase and include a default tip. Restaurant gift cards can be bought at a discount from warehouse clubs such as Costco and Sam's Club. Many fast food and restaurant gift cards are available at discounted prices on Gift Card Granny , which aggregates cards available from sellers such as Raise, Gift Card Spread, and Cardpool.

Deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial may yet have discounts for area restaurants and bars, in addition to attractions, products, and more. Some establishments offer deals directly, so subscribe to their newsletters and look for specials offered through restaurant apps.

Related: 32 Secrets for Better, Cheaper Meals at Your Favorite Chains. OpenTable users earn points for making and honoring reservations through the site and are eligible for dining rewards after accumulating sufficient points.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers 2 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining. When dining with a group, charge the entire bill to your credit card and earn rewards.

Friends can give you cash or, with a few taps on a smartphone, easily send payment for their portion through a service such as Venmo, PayPal, or Chase Quick Pay. Restaurants including California Pizza Kitchen and TGI Fridays offer loyalty programs for frequent diners.

Points and complimentary items such as dessert can be earned by using the restaurant's rewards card. The percentage depends on how much you spend annually.

Link a credit card with a frequent flyer program and pay with that credit card at participating restaurants to earn miles or points for each dollar spent. Related: 13 Travel Rewards Loopholes and Hacks to Get You More Points.

Pass on drinks if you're on a budget. Focus on food instead. A lime wedge, a cucumber slice, or a few mint leaves can liven up a plain glass of water and hopefully hold off the urge to order a cocktail. Seek out restaurants with a BYOB policy. New restaurants are a great place to start, as they sometimes open before they've received a license to serve alcohol.

Some restaurants charge a flat fee for opening a bottle of wine that diners bring in, known as a corkage fee. It can be cheaper than ordering individual drinks, but be sure to inquire before dining; corkage fees can be quite steep at some eateries.

Search for bars that offer BOGO drinks. While there might be conditions or a limited time window, two for the price of one is a deal worth seeking. Enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail at home before heading out to dinner. It may curb the desire to order drinks later at the restaurant.

Eateries in neighborhoods away from city centers and suburban commercial districts typically pay lower rent, which allows them to charge lower prices for similar food. Before heading out to eat, drink a glass of water or have some fruit to alleviate hunger and avoid ordering more food than necessary at the restaurant.

Although they might seem inexpensive compared with the entrees, an appetizer or two can pad a restaurant bill quickly.

Ask the server how many guests each dish serves before ordering, or consider skipping appetizers altogether. Order one fewer main course than the number of people and share all the dishes. Other days it's just cocktails instead of a full dinner and drinks.

I've also looked for other activities to do when going out, like hiking, visiting museums, and seeing movies. Switching things up is a nice change of pace, and it often costs less.

It's also a good idea to figure out how much you're going to budget for dining per month. For the best results, you need a limit and a way to track your spending so you don't exceed it. Budgeting apps can help with this. In fact, this card is so good that our expert even uses it personally.

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Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY. Be warned- once you master these recipes, your friends will start inviting themselves over for dinner and your place will quickly become the new hangout spot!

If cooking a huge meal by yourself sounds intimidating, why not get some friends to come and help you out. Splitting up responsibilities like chopping, cooking and cleaning can speed up the meal making process quite a bit.

Plus, it infuses even more joy into the whole process. There are few things better than sharing a meal with the people you love!

Cooking with your partner makes for a romantic cheap date night! Cooking for and with each other is a great way to show your significant other that you care for them. Plus, like I said before- cooking goes so much faster if you have an extra set of hands in the kitchen.

Pro tip: Want to kick it up a notch? Head out to your favorite bookstore and pick out a cookbook. Then, open up to a random page. If cooking all three meals every single day is a little bit much for your schedule, you can always try intermittent fasting.

Then, you eat more substantial meals during that smaller time frame. This can be helpful if you prefer to eat bigger meals less often, but be sure to do your own research, and always do what is best for your own body.

Think sandwiches, salads and wraps. Meal prepping is when you batch cook a large amount of food in one go and eat it throughout the week.

HA Savinge. Maybe Jesus asked this question because Savings on dining out too thought here Discounted groceries online Savings on dining out man, Online-exclusive deals so many do these days, making excuses, being a okt and waiting for Savinge else to fix his Savinhs for him. Boy was that good. When there is a debate over whether to go out or eat in, knowing I can cook something faster than we could go and order helps to settle the debate. As I did that I realized part of Savingss problem is we have so much and get what ever we want when we want it so often that nothing is a real treat for us.

Savings on dining out - Make “less but often” your motto · Treat yourself, by yourself · Limit your alcohol intake rather than cutting booze out 17 Easy Ways to Cut the Cost of Eating Out · 1. Special menu. Many restaurants offer a reduced-price menu for seniors How to save money on dining out · 1. Hit up happy hour · 2. Share your plate · 3. BYOB · 4. Be careful on self-service The average commercially-prepared meal, by our estimates, costs around $ Even if you rarely spend this much money at

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Thanks for you sent email. Key takeaways Dining out is a major expense for many Americans, but there are ways to trim the bill without sacrificing the experience. Timing is everything for spending less at restaurants.

Shifting when you go out to eat by just a little bit could cook up savings. Feed your brain. Fund your future.

Subscribe now. Hit up happy hour Saving money might make you happy. BYOB If dinner also involves drinks, see if there are any local restaurants that allow you to bring your own bottle. Be careful on self-service tablets and apps Self-ordering kiosks and apps might encourage you to order more.

Eat at restaurants-in-training Fine dining usually comes with a fine price tag. Join restaurant loyalty programs More than half of US restaurants have loyalty programs that give you rewards, such as free food or drinks, for being a regular customer. Check out kids-eat-free days Feeding a family can mean a big bill, even if kids order off their own menu with smaller portions and lower prices.

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Thank you for subscribing. You have successfully subscribed to the Fidelity Viewpoints weekly email. Restaurants like to hear about your experience at their establishment, so if they ask you to complete a survey, take them up on the offer. Similarly, SurveyMini is a free app that unlocks discounts when you complete questionnaires about restaurants.

Don't forget to factor in a tip for your server. For easy ways to incorporate needs and wants into your spending plan, see our advice on how to budget for both.

On a similar note Personal Finance. How to Eat Out on a Budget. Follow the writer. MORE LIKE THIS Personal Finance. Buy gift cards below face value. Ask for a discount. Join the club. Make wise menu choices.

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Spend Less at Restaurants (Because Eating Out Is Still Allowed While You Pay off Debt) 6 Ways to Eat Out on the Cheap

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