How to Save Money When Eating Out

Who LOVES Eating Out?

I know I sure do!  I am without a doubt a “Live to Eat” kind of guy.  I love going to a restaurant, grabbing a few drinks and talking with friends, especially if the place has a great atmosphere and good music.   Unfortunately eating out with friends on a regular basis is expensive!   Now I am not going to be the guy who tells you to never go out with friends, because if I did I would be a serious hypocrite.  However, I can offer some tips on how to lower the cost of grabbing a great meal after a long week at work.

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Establish a Spending Limit before Leaving
You’ll often hear people telling you not to go grocery shopping when hungry because everything looks more appetizing when your stomach is growling.  The same temptation exists when you take a look at the menu for the first time.  Establish a spending limit for yourself before you leave the house.  This will help you resist ordering half the appetizer on the menu the minute your rear end hits the seat cushion.  I usually try to spend under $10.00.  Pick a limit that works for you and make it a challenge to try and stay under!
Finding the Right Place
With the amount of restaurants and bars in Detroit, business owners are forced to think of new ways to attract new customers.  As a result, you might be surprised at how many eateries offer killer dining deals to help pack the place.  Take advantage of it!  Some of my favorites include, Mr. Joes Wednesday night burger deal (Northwestern & 12 Mile) and 7 Bar and Grill’s Lunch special (12 Mile & Telegraph).  Over the years my friends and I have created a mental list of all the places that have great dinner specials on any given night of the week. 
Drink Water
Say no to soda/pop!  Yes you get free re-fills, but you also get at least $2.00 added onto your bill!  Not to mention, water is GOOD FOR YOU and it’s free!  Ask the waiter for a pitcher and you won’t have to worry about pestering him/her for refills later.  Knocking drink costs off your bill can easily help you stay under a $10 spending limit!
Watch the Time
Choosing when to eat has a significant impact on your bill as well.  If you are making plans to catch up with a friend or going out on a date, try grabbing lunch instead of dinner.  Lunch prices are usually cheaper than dinner prices.  While you get a smaller portion, service is typically better because of there aren’t as many people there.
Skip Dessert?
If you are a dessert fanatic and must follow up a good meal with something sweet, try going somewhere else for dessert.  In-house desserts are often overpriced.  Instead try continuing the date by walking to the nearest ice cream shop.  Even places like McDonalds offer $1.00 Ice cream cones.  It may not be as glamorous, but it will save you money.
Now that you are armed with these tips, maybe you’ll feel a little less guilty the next time you go out for a bite to eat.  After all, if you spend the entire time worrying about how much money you’re spending, are you really enjoying your time out?  Make a plan for yourself, try sticking to these simple tips and you’ll be surprised at how much you can cut off of your monthly dining expenses!  Special thanks to for the tips.
Until next time,