Eating out is a fantastic way to socialise with friends and family, and to try new foods from around the world. It also comes in extremely useful when you're too tired to cook, or simply don't have the ingredients in. The choice of restaurants, pubs and cafes, particularly in cities, is wider and more varied than ever.
You'll find that the costs of eating out can quickly mount up, particularly if you regularly take the whole family for a bite. There's no need to cut this valuable leisure time from your life completely, though. Follow our 5 guidelines for eating out the smart way, and you won't ever need to miss out on your favourite gastronomic delights!
Find Discount Vouchers Online
Just as the number of restaurants has rocketed, so has the availability of all sorts of discounts and deals. Most well-established chain outlets will have regular deals – weekly specials, weekend discounts, half price on certain meals – that can be redeemed with a voucher. Many of these vouchers can be found on the web, or accessed by signing up to the email lists of your most frequented restaurants.
Use Social Media
Get social media savvy and make use of restaurants' Twitter and Facebook profiles. By following or ‘friending' your favourite eateries, you'll be the first to know about any new offers that might just cut your next bill.
Timing is Crucial
There are times of the day when eating out is significantly cheaper. There are often early bird specials on dinner before 6pm, for example, which is ideal if you're taking young kids out. Lunch is almost always cheaper than dinner, too – so if you fancy treating yourself, aim for the midday meal.
Drink Tap Water
Unless it's a special occasion, avoid ordering alcohol with your meal – this is often where your wallet will take the hardest hit. There's also no need to drink bottled water, when the tap does exactly the same job for free.
Take Leftovers Home
Don't be embarrassed to ask for a doggy bag! Restaurants often serve larger portions than we eat at home, so it's no surprise when plates aren't licked clean at the end of a meal out. To get your money's worth, ask to take your leftovers home with you; your lunch for the next day will be sorted.
This article was brought to you by MYJAR. We're an award-winning direct lender, committed to providing clear, simple and responsible loans when our customers need us. If you need some assistance to meet an urgent financial requirement on either a short or long term basis, APPLY NOW for one of our loans.
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk