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Wednesday, October 6, 2010 • Posted October 6, 2010

How to Save Money While Eating Out

First, one of the best way to save money at restaurants is to avoid them. Cooking at home is usually the cheapest way to eat.

Second, many people consider restaurant time as "pampering time" - and thus not something to be skimped on. That’s fine if it fits within your budget and your means. If not, perhaps these tips can help you save a few dollars.

* Eat out for breakfast or lunch; dinner tends to be more expensive.

Split a meal with a friend, and load up on the salad and/or bread to stretch the meal into 2!

* Order an appetizer instead of an entrée.

* Look for restaurants that let kids eat free. Don't know which restaurants let kids eat free? Check out: www.mykidseatfree.com

* Skip dessert; or eat at home and then go out for dessert.

* Ask your server if there is a daily special.

* Order a gift card to your favorite restaurant at a discount. Use the gift card to pay for your meal. To see which restaurants offer gift cards, check out: www.restaurant.com. I also sometimes get these for a discount as a reward for using a credit card. If you are able to pay your credit card balance every month so they don’t get interest from you, this is truly free money!

* When your meal arrives, ask for a to-go box. Today's leftovers can be tomorrow's lunch! Always remember to store your leftovers safely to avoid getting sick.

* Order water instead of soda, tea, or other beverages.

* If you qualify, use senior citizen's discount or go early for the "early bird" special.

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