Savvy Spending

Savvy Spender knows how to pinch a penny and about being on a budget. She has learned great ways to save money on everyday expenses.

Savvy Dining Out

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Dining out with a family of six might sound like fun, but can “eat up” your budget in just one or two big gulps per month!  However, being such a busy mom, it is nice when I don’t have to cook at the end of a tiring day, so I’ve worked at finding ways to have “my cake and eat it too”.


I first pay close attention to restaurant advertisements that say “Kids Eat Free”.  They sometimes are only good for one night of the week, most commonly a slow night like a Tuesday.  Many restaurants (usually fast food) will advertise specials, like buy one get one free or similar.  We recently fed 9 kids and ourselves (it was during our “family camp” with relatives) for 28¢ (the bill would’ve been over $61.00) all because we tuned into a promotion that they were having where we would get free meals if we dressed like cows!  Sounds crazy, but a few black spots on a white tee-shirt and a paper cow hat fed 11 people for dinner!!!!  Not to mention how much fun we had doing it!


Coupons are also a great savings too, usually in your local community magazine, if you remember to use them.  I keep them in my car so I always have them with me.  In addition, I never order a pizza without a coupon – you can even find coupons on the internet for your favorite restaurant.  Remember to look at the fine print like “not good on weekends”.


When choosing a restaurant make sure they a have a children’s menu, or items that your kids will like.  The restaurant should also be family friendly – meaning they know how to accommodate children (ie., seating, activities, cups with lids, etc.).


When it comes time to ordering your meals, it seems that beverages can run your bill up by $10 to $15 (at least it does for our family of 6).  Besides the cost, my kids will gladly order soda and when I’m not looking they will order refills and be all filled up with sugar by the time their meal comes.  Then they aren’t even hungry.  I’m so done with that!  Usually, we allow one small beverage, but remind them (and the server) that there are no refills.  At the same time of placing the drink order, we also ask for waters for each individual – less costly and much healthier.


Finally it’s time for dessert.  There’s a couple of ways to approach this.  One, don’t order it in the restaurant but stop at a local ice cream shop on the way home. Or two, agree on one or two items to share.  Restaurant desserts are often huge portions and pretty pricey. 


So there you have it, ways to make dining out less stressful on your pocket and still very enjoyable.  Let me know what other tips you might have to share – I would love to hear from you!

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  • I love that restaurants will put on promotions like dressing up like a cow for a free meal. I don't think many companies realize how many families would do that to save a little money. Great advice!

  • Looking through the menu, all the sports bar staples were present: wings, ribs, chicken, wraps, and burgers. Looking further, I saw that the prices looked pretty much on par with any other restaurant. I started to think that I was in for one of those

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