One of my favorite things to do, and I think almost anyone can relate, is to eat great tasting food. Unfortunately, dinning out, especially at a quality restaurant can come at a high cost. In fact, eating out regularly can start to add up rather quickly if you’re not careful. So what is one to do? Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, this is one of the areas I have struggled with the most in my budgeting, so have come up with a couple of possible solutions to keep your stomach happy and your wallet full.
Experimenting in the kitchen. I have mastered several meals that are nothing short of amazing. Several restaurant favorites can easily be mastered at home with minimal effort. From a rotisserie chicken, to homemade pizza dough, to top notch burgers, many standard favorites can be accomplished right in your own kitchen with a plan and a desire. I even experiment with concepts in my head to make tasty dishes no one has even seen before. I love to watch friends reactions when I dish up my green chili pasta that was invested just be slamming a few ingredients together and hopping for the best, you may just surprise yourself how good of a cook you can become. Cooking at home can also be as social as going out. Have friends over, cook together, get your kids, your spouse, family, neighbors all involved. It is fun.
A quick trip to the grocery store and you’re ready for a fantastic evening that ends with a mouthwatering meal you can be proud of and saved you money. Again, I always find cooking to be a great bonding experience with friends and a loved ones, not only do you and your co-chief make something together, but you also get to enjoy the satisfaction of your hard work together.
As much as I like to brew up my own tasty treats, going out is still a must here and there. There are always the anniversary celebrations, birthdays, happy hour and sometimes it can seem easier to eat out versus cook if you are not in the mood or are tired. So, one of my favorite ways to save money is to use Restaurant.com. It never ceases to amaze me how people are just too lazy to put in a small effort to try to save money, but trust me, Restaurant.com is well worth the effort.
I like the site for several reasons, first it allows me to experiment and try restaurants I may have never found, and secondly, the most important point is that by finding coupons on this website allows me to eat at these restaurants for a huge discount. Just go to the site and enter your zip code and within seconds you will have dozens of participating restaurants in your area.
You can then purchase gift certificates at a steep discount. I usually target the $25 gift certificates that are sold for $10. They come with stipulations, in most cases you must spend $35, $45, or as high as $50 to receive the discount. But $10 is never the price you really pay for the certificate, once you purchase one gift certificate and get on Restaurant.com’s mailing list, they send you coupon codes to get even deeper discounts. The 80% off coupons are the ones you really receive. These go out every couple of months. Now you can buy that $25 gift certificate for only $2!
You can buy as many as you want, so be sure to load up, if for some reason you decide you don’t want to go to that restaurant you can always trade it in for another restaurant coupon at a later date and free of charge.
Now that $45 dinner is only going to cost you $20 plus the $2 you used to buy the gift certificate. That’s a substantial savings. When I am traveling I even look up restaurants in the area and take advantage of the savings.
Get the full dinning out experience for half the price or a third of the price. I actually found my favorite restaurant on Restaurant.com. I came back from dinner that night and bought eight more gift certificates on the spot. This is the way I do it, and I highly recommend you do the same.
Just a little bit of effort can save you a lot of money in the long run.