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6 Ways to Save Money When You Eat Out

Aug 18, 2007
I admit it, I love to eat out! Unfortunately, eating out is an easy way to spend a lot of money and gain a ton of weight, which adversely affects your health. The FDA says Americans spend half their money on food in restaurants, but get only one-third of their calories from eating out. That shows you how much we're spending when we eat out.

Obviously, the best way to save money on food is to eat at home. But if you must eat out, you can save a lot of money -- and even eat less -- if you follow a few helpful tips.

(1) One of the biggest profit centers for any restaurant is drinks. If it's a big profit center for them, then it's a big savings opportunity for you. Instead of ordering tea (one of the most profitable drinks), soft drinks, or alcohol, simply order water. It's not as much fun, but it's better for you (though unsweetened tea is great for you) and it will save a lot of money.

(2) Have you ever noticed how big the portions are these days? In an effort to make it look like you're getting more for your money, restaurants have bulked up their offerings. It doesn't add much to their expenses, but it sure brings in the profits. So to save money, simply ask for a to-go box right when the food arrives. Then cut your meal down the middle and stick half of it in the box and take it home. Not only will you eat less, but you'll get two meals for the price of one.

(3) Another way to reduce your cost and portion size is to split a meal with your spouse. Many restaurants have caught onto this and now add a plate charge to your bill, but it's a lot less than a meal.

(4) Appetizers and deserts are huge profit makers for restaurants. The only time you should order an appetizer is if it's going to be your main course. And desert? It's never good for the waistline, and it's always bad for the budget. Though it can be a fun treat when you're on a special date with your spouse, you should otherwise avoid it.

(5) If you have kids under 10 or 12 (depending on the restaurant), try to go out to eat on a "kids eat free" night. Or use coupons.

(6) Try to make it a business meal so you can write it off. You can write off only 50% of meals and entertainment, but it adds up over the year.

Many times you can combine two or more of these tips and save even more. For instance, eat out on a "kids eat free" night, take half your meal home, and order water. Now that's a meal your wallet and your waistline will enjoy!
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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