Living a healthier life is becoming more of a priority for us as we’re getting older and even more so now as we’re waiting for our baby girl to arrive. We’re also trying to keep our finances in check. Sometimes it feels like a ton of work, but it’s worth it. We’ve gotten in shape and for the most part, we’ve kept to our food budget (though there have been months of overspending).
Watching Our Wallet at Restaurants
When we were first married and I was still in college we had to learn to be creative with our budget. As our income increased we’ve tried to keep an eye on our spending. We want eating out to be a treat, not a routine. Here are some things that we do to save a little bit of cash when going out for lunch or dinner.
- Go to local spots for weeknight deals. Check with your friends to get an idea of where deals are. We’re fortunate to have several friends familiar with the area who usually have suggestions on where to eat.
- Make sure you take leftovers home. Many times restaurant portions are huge and are more than enough for one person. Do yourself a favor and save some for another meal. We enjoy eating out and having some leftovers the next day or so.
- Get a discount. Check online to see if your restaurant has some deals. The bistro we went Friday had an online deal that was better than the one the advertised on the meal. You may also want to check out Restaurant.com for cheap gift certificates.
- Enjoy your local restaurant week. Every couple of months there is a restaurant week here in Raleigh. It’s a wonderful opportunity to try some very nice restaurants at the fraction of their typical prices. Many major cities offer this as well, so check to see when your own place has it.
Thoughts on Eating Out Without Going Broke
How many of you enjoy going out and trying different cuisines? How do you balance good eating, smart spending, and having fun? What tips do you have for making leftovers interesting?
Photo Credit: Allerina & Glen MacLarty