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Eating at restaurants is something that most people enjoy doing on a regular basis to escape cooking duties or to meet up with friends or family. Whether you have a favourite restaurant that you go to often, or like to explore other eateries in the area, it can sometimes be difficult to justify the amount that you are spending on this popular pastime.
There are some ways in which you can save a bit of money on your restaurant outings which we are going to share with you here. Our first tip is to search for money off vouchers for restaurants local to you. Restaurant chains such as Pizza Express and Prezzo often have vouchers available and you can also exchange your Tesco Clubcard points for restaurant vouchers too. Some restaurants also offer discounts when you book a table online so make sure that you check out the websites of your possible restaurant choices.
If you tend to book tables online you may already be signed up to restaurant email mailing lists and these emails can be a great place to find deals! If you have not already signed up to receive emails from your favourite restaurants it is a great idea to do so as this is how a lot of restaurants advertise their special offers. You may also find out, through these emails, if the restaurant has any weekly deals running such as two courses for a set price or kids eat free. Deals like this can knock a fair amount from your bill so are worth looking out for!
Another place where you might find deals is through social media. Restaurants quite often have their own Twitter and Facebook accounts where they will post their latest news so make sure that you ‘follow’ and ‘like’ your favourites to ensure that you don’t miss out on any special offers!
Sometimes you can’t save money at certain restaurants but it may be possible to get more for your money! Try to order meals that you wouldn’t make at home to ensure that you are making the most of eating out. Then, if you have food left at the end of the meal, don’t be scared to ask if you can take the leftovers home. You have paid for it so you are entitled to eat all of it; even if it is for lunch the following day! On the topic of lunch, it is often far cheaper to eat lunch at a restaurant rather than dinner and there will quite often be set lunch menus, especially during the week, which will save you money. So if there is an occasion that you are eating out for, maybe make it a lunch date rather than a dinner date and get that little bit more for your money!
When asked what they think makes their restaurant bills most expensive people tend to say that it is quite often to do with the number of drinks that they buy. We all know that the mark up on drinks, especially alcoholic ones, is really high in restaurants with a bottle of wine that you have seen in the supermarket for £7 often setting you back more than double the amount in a restaurant. Instead of being subjected to these high drink prices have a look to see if you have and restaurants nearby where you can take your own! Alternatively you could have a few drinks before you go out and then stick to tap water when you get there. Not as fun maybe but if you are looking to save some money it is definitely worth considering!
One final idea, if you eat out a lot, it may be worth becoming a member of a dining club such as the Gourmet Society. As a member of the Gourmet Society you can get 2-4-1, 50% off food or 25% off your whole bill at loads of different restaurants! If you join up for a Valour Money Mastercard e-Account you get a membership to the Gourmet Society for free!
By Sasha Davison
2nd April 2014
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