I. Love. Food. Especially when I don’t have to cook it. However, there were several months where we were blindsided by the amount of money we spent on eating out. Do you find yourself in this same boat?
It’s so convenient to eat out and pizza isn’t the only place that offers pick up or delivery. Then add online ordering to that mix, and you have yourself the trifecta of why we eat out so much. Busy lives = convenience over budget sometimes.
If you find yourself in this same boat, here are five tips I have for you that helped us budget our eating out habits, as well as lower the amount of times we dine out:
- Create a Menu – I was doing this long ago but was trying to do it two weeks at a time and we’d be really good the first week, but then the next week nothing sounded good, so we’d eat out. One week at a time works best for us and saves us money at the grocery store because we aren’t buying bulk that never gets eaten. We just chunk it out to one week at a time.
- Coupons – we don’t subscribe to a newspaper, but we receive packs of adds in the mail and inside there is often coupons for restaurants. We use those frequently to help decide where we are going and how much we’re going to spend.
- Free Kids Meals – there are several places that have certain nights for free, or highly discounted kids meals and you can find a list of it HERE. We will choose places based on that list, or we hit up Steak n Shake where kids always eat free – bonus!
- Share Meals – Our son is young enough (2 years old) that we can still share our meals with him. Plus, let’s face it, restaurants give you more than one serving, so it’s healthier for you too – even if you want it all, like I often do.
- Check Groupon – we have found some great deals on Groupon for local restaurants. We don’t check it as often as we should, but when we do, it’s saved us quite a bit.
I hope that lists helps you find balance between your budget and love of the convenience for eating out. Do you have any tips that’s helped you balance budget with eating out? I’d love to hear them!