Do you often avoid the nicest restaurants in your area because the amount of money it costs for a family of four or a dinner for two is just out of your price range? Although these restaurants may cost more, there are many ways that you can frequent them without breaking your budget. There’s nothing like a great dining experience to celebrate an event or to relax with your significant other. Here are several tips for saving money while dining at a more expensive restaurant:
1. Go for lunch instead of dinner. Many restaurants, regardless of how much they charge, offer lower priced meals earlier in the day. In most cases, if you eat before 3 or 4pm, you are going to save a lot of money. This may not be the ideal time frame for you, but in the long run, it will save you a lot of money.
2. Order the special. Is there a special on the menu that allows you to get everything you want at a lower price? Just because prices are high doesn’t mean that specials don’t exist. You may be surprised to find that many expensive restaurants offer a variety of specials. If you don’t see them on the menu, feel free to ask the waiter, you may be surprised at your options.
3. Search for coupons. Believe it or not, restaurants of all types offer coupons. You can find these online, in your local newspaper, or on the restaurant’s website. Sometimes you will find what you are looking for; other times you won’t. But at the very least, you should snoop around. Any coupon is better than none at all. Always check Restaurant.com, because they often have gift cards for some of the nicer restaurants, and you can get $25 gift cards for $2 when they are running an 80% off sale. These gift cards come with limitations, but they are often reasonable enough to follow if you’re there to eat full meals.
4. Skip the extras such as appetizers, dessert, and alcoholic beverages. Again, this may not be exactly what you want to do, but it can shave quite a bit of money off your bill. Take, for instance, a dinner for two. If you and your partner order one appetizer, one dessert, and two glasses of wine, your bill is sure to be an extra $40 to $60 or more depending on your choices and the corresponding price.
5. Ask for discounts. For many, this is a difficult thing to do. After all, it takes a lot of guts to ask your waiter for money off your bill. But, it can pay off quite a bit. For example, some restaurants offer a senior citizen discount. But guess what? You may never know about this unless you ask.
Don’t avoid particular restaurants just because you think they are too expensive. Instead, implement the five tips above to save money.
Do you have any other good tips?
(photo credit: jetalone)