With the world reopening and things slowly going back to some kind of normal, lots of people are putting ‘visiting a restaurant’ high on their to-do lists. If you’re worried about the possible strain eating out will cause on your finances, you’ll be happy to know you can save money while eating out by making a few smart choices.
Digital bank thinkmoney has looked into ways to cut down on the cost of eating out, even if you have your heart set on fine dining.
1. Go out for lunch instead of dinner
Lunch dishes aren’t much smaller than dinner offerings, but they’re usually slightly cheaper. Even Sunday brunch eating will be cheaper than dining out. In fact, thinkmoney points out that if you’re willing to give lunchtime a try, you can even eat at Michelin-star restaurants for a very reasonable price.
Cornerstone, a London-based one Michelin star restaurant, offers an à la carte menu where you can pick from the menu, with two dishes costing just £21.50 per person.
2. Share meals with the people at your table
A great way to save money while eating out with friends and family is to order appetisers to share. If there are five of you at the table, there’s no need for each person to order an appetiser. Instead, order three different things and share them. You’ll save money and also get a chance to try more dishes.
3. Skip the drinks
We understand – it’s hard to say no to sparkling water, a bottle of beer or some wine. But restaurants hike up the prices for drinks massively. You might end up paying £10 for a bottle of water that sells for £3 in your local supermarket. You can save money while eating out by not paying for water. Instead, ask for tap water and some ice.
4. Don’t be afraid to search for discounts
If you have the patience to search, you can save money by using coupons when eating out. Places like Groupon might not have Michelin-level offers, but you can find all kinds of gems you might not have discovered otherwise. Thinkmoney also recommends following restaurants you like on social media. Some of them share limited discounts or special offers that way.
5. Don’t ignore ‘pre-theatre’ meals
Pre-theatre meals sometimes have a bad reputation for poor quality or offering very restricted options. But this isn’t always the case.
There are plenty of high-end restaurants that offer ‘pre-theatre specials – dinners that start as early as 5pm so people can have a quick meal before they see a show. These meals are set, so your choices are limited. But you can still end up with a good early dinner for a great price.
6. Go out to eat on your birthday
If a nice special dinner is really what you want, plan it for your birthday. Many places offer special discounts (or free desserts) if it’s your birthday. If you’re unsure whether your favourite restaurant offers such discounts, sign up for their newsletter or check their social media for special announcements. These discounts that help you save money while eating out are usually advertised as perks for patrons.
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