Eight ways to dine out on a budget
Saving money doesn’t mean saying no to dinner dates. It’s totally do-able to dine out without spending big.
Here are eight tips to spending small when dining out:
1. Avoid share plates.
It’s hip to share, right? Well, not when it comes to your wallet. If you’re eating out with a group and everyone is sharing food tapas-style, it’s all too easy to blow out your budget. Those delicious dishes at $15 a pop may seem like a small amount, but the final bill can leave you hyperventilating in your seat. Try to steer the group to eat at a restaurant where everyone can order their own meals, and then you’ll always know what to expect.
2. Cut costs with coupons.
Gone are the days when coupons were cringe-worthy. These days, thanks to Groupon, Cudo, dimmi and endless other reputable discount websites and apps, there are countless offers at top restaurants to choose from. When you’re planning your next meal, simply jump online first to secure a deal.
Bringing your own bottle of plonk is destined to save you dollars. Make sure you check the corkage cost, though – some restaurants will charge up to $10 a bottle.
4. Make it a market date.
Want a fun date experience without the price tag? Head to one of the many night markets popping up in a region near you, such as Sydney’s Hyde Park night markets or South Melbourne’s night markets. Grab some fresh local food and eat out under the stars – what could be more romantic?
5. Pub grub.
You can’t beat a good old steak-and-chips or burger-with-the-lot. Most pubs offer a cheap eats night mid-week, and you can find a steak dinner for as little as $10.
6. Feed the kids at home.
It doesn’t matter how creative the Kids Menu is; more often than not, kids will end up pushing food around their plate like a Thomas The Tank Engine railway set. To save money – and avoid the arguments – feed the kids at home before you head out to eat. Then, buy them dessert while you and your partner savour your meal.
7. Ditch the water (and wine).
Order tap water instead of sparkling or still. And consider not drinking alcohol at all with dinner (gasp!) – then, all you’ll pay for is your meal.
8. Sign up and save.
Restaurants often give incentives to sign up to their newsletters, like discounts or freebies. Even the top restaurants will email you with specials from time-to-time, and offer you a free meal on your birthday. Happy birthday, indeed!