Guest post by Kate Sorensen from Coupon Cravings
Sometimes enjoying a nice dinner in is all someone wants, but doing so on a budget is a whole other story. While it’s true that using a coupon can help minimize the cost, here are some other ideas you can use to help get what you want without paying full price.
1. Order things separate. I am an “on the side” girl - I like my sauces separate, as well as condiments. When I’m in the mood for something, I can choose and this way I also get some extra sauces... I can also tailor the menu to the desires of anyone in my family!
2. Order in bulk. Just like at the grocery store, rather than the prepackaged “meals”, buying in bulk also saves at the drive through. A small fry at a large chain is $1, where as a large is $1.79. You get what seems like four small orders in a large serving, so it’s way worth it! Keeping a small toy in the car for the little ones might appease the urge to get the “meal” just for the toy.
3. Do drinks at home. Most frugalistas pay for a whole 12-pack of pop at the grocery store what it would cost for one soda at a drive through so if you’re headed home anyways, resist the urge to get your sodas at the restaurant and wait the 5 or 10 minutes until you get home.
4. Order from the dollar menu. At some restaurants the “dollar menu” is really nice if you take a gander at it! The items on the dollar menu are often similar to the items on the regular menu, so just tailor your order to what you would have ordered off the regular menu. For example, in the case that you were bound and determined to get a dessert, instead of the $3 or $4 dessert with candy in it, opt for the “sundae” with fudge topping on the dollar menu... It’s sure to be just as pleasing once you dig in.
5. Go on kids night. This option suggests that you go on a certain night, which I understand isn’t as easy when you’re “on the fly”, but, its worth suggesting. A lot of restaurants offer 2 free kids meals with an adult entree, takeout or dine in. So, if it’s a takeout night, and it’s kids eat free night, you can get 2 meals for the price of one. Kids menus these days aren’t slim pickins’ either, so choose one for your child and maybe one that your child can have for dinner a couple nights later, or for lunch the next day!
6. Do dessert at home. The convenience of having something “made for you” is extremely appealing, especially when you’re on the go, but, consider keeping some candy bars hidden in the cupboard to make a shake or sundae at home. Definitely a cost saver in the long run!!... And a huge hit!
Takeout is appealing on those quick, “I have no time” nights, so I hope these small ideas turn in to big savings for you and your family!
Kate Sorensen from Coupon Cravings has shared her top six ideas with the Tightwad in Utah readers of having a little more money leftover when choosing takeout instead of cooking at home. Hey, sometimes, it's a must, but there's reason enough to save a buck while doing it. photo credit