Who doesn’t like to dine out? You get to explore the plush décor of numerous eateries and restaurants. You get to taste unique dishes, prepared by the best chefs in town. At a restaurant, you get to nourish your stomach while treating your taste buds at the same time. But then the waiter places the bill in front of you – and the amount has the potential to ruin your entire evening. What if you knew the tricks of saving your dimes the next time you head for dinner? Below are 6 tips to save money at a restaurant – so that you can indulge in your culinary delights without worrying about making a hole in your pocket.
Do not ask for bottled water or cold drink
You have no idea how much you will save if you decide to skip the bottled water at the restaurant. Upscale restaurants charge 50% more on bottled water than what you usually pay at a grocery store.
Opt for tap water instead. And don’t worry. Tap water will not harm your health. If it would be detrimental to your health, the restaurant staff wouldn’t add that as an option.
Another way to save money at a restaurant is to choose ‘flat’ or ‘plain water’ instead of the sparkling one. When a waiter asks you to choose between the flat or the sparkling glass of water, you might be tempted to order the sparkling one in order to impress those around you. Resist that urge and save money.
A canned cold drink will cost you almost 30% more inside the restaurant than it would cost you outside one. A great way to save money at a restaurant is to not ask for bottled or canned cold drink alongside your meal. Purchase one from a store nearby.
Skip the specials
One of the most surprising restaurant secrets is that the specials aren’t really that special while dining out. These specials are just food items that are about to go stale. The restaurant is just trying to get rid of them before they actually start to stink.
The specials also cause a big dent in your wallet. In reality, you are paying your hard-earned money for something you wouldn’t even look at in a grocery store. So, the next time a waiter comes to you and offers you the specials, politely decline the offer.
If you resist the temptation, not only will you save a lot of money, but also save your health from deteriorating even more. To save money at a restaurant, save yourself the trouble of ordering anything that sounds more tempting than necessary.
Swap the main course with the appetizers
A main course dish is as expensive as the appetizer, but the appetizers come in larger portions than the main course. If you are looking for ways to save money at a restaurant, a great way to do that is to swap the main course for the starters.
This way, you will not have to compromise on the quantity and quality of the food either – since the starters come in bigger proportions than you can possibly imagine.
These appetizers are something that you and your dining partner can easily share. Even then, you might stare down at the plate with full stomachs and see leftovers.
Swapping the main course for the appetizers will save you more than $15 on your total bill. And sometimes, you might notice the same dish has been listed as a main course as well as an appetizer. You can easily save money by ordering the dish as an appetizer. Just identify the traps.
Grab a snack before hitting the restaurant
For a lot of food lovers, this trick might defeat the purpose of heading to a dine out. But for those who wish to enjoy a sumptuous dish and yet save money, this one will work like magic.
If you are out on a first date, then grab a snack before you head to a restaurant with your date partner. A lot of people are already starving when go to a restaurant. Then they order everything under the sun to eat to their hearts’ content. And behold! Their stomachs are heavier, but their wallets turn lighter than ever.
If you are going to a restaurant for the first time with someone, then it makes sense that you partially fill your stomach before you step inside the hotel. This way, you will order less and pay less.
Skip the desert (or share it)
A dine out might seem utterly incomplete without a dessert to go with. But that small scoop or ice cream or an equally small-sized brownie is more likely to cost you a fortune when you eat out.
But skipping on the dessert doesn’t make sense to someone who is sitting in that restaurant with the intention of having a complete dining experience. Even then, if you are looking to save money at a restaurant, order a single dessert and share with your partner.
You will save money at a restaurant. Plus, dessert carry way more calories than you think. By sharing that scoop or slice, you are doing your health a favor too.
The same rule goes for alcohol. If you prefer a glass of wine to wash down your dinner, try to look for possible ways to share it. Or skip it altogether.
And if you are patient enough, wait till you are out of that restaurant, head to a wine shop and make a purchase. It is economical in the long run.
Understand the pricing strategy
Most dishes on the menu offered to you are rounded to the currency used in your country. For instance, a dish may cost you $1.95. To your mind, this may sound economical to your wallet. And without thinking twice, you will order that item off the bat.
What you will not realize (until you see the bill), is that the $1.95 dish will actually cost you $2. You mind is trained to see $1.95 as closer to the $1 price tag, but actually, it’s closer on the expensive side.
Understanding this pricing strategy will help you to gauge which food item is actually within your budget, and eventually, you will be able to save money at a restaurant.