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Dining Out On the Cheap

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p>If you’ve ever read a Personal Finance blog, stop going out to eat has to be in the top 5 of any “save money” list you’ll come across. The reasons for cutting it out are generally obvious too: It makes sense. Going out to eat is expensive, creeps up on your budget easily, and it can be it’s own reward to make your own food. If you’re looking to watch your waist line, that’s an added benefit as well, given that most restaraunts out there will load you full of high calorie, high sodium food. With all of that said, I have always enjoyed going out to eat. I purposely modify my budget to accomodate for it. Here are a few other steps I like to take as well.

Coupons: No matter where you live, you probably get junk mail that’s essentially a big fat list of coupons. Most of these are in fact useless. I mean how often do you need a discount on tree trunk removal? There are still some finds to be had here, as many of your local eating places will offer a dollar discount or even a buy one get one free on occasion. These discounts can add up, and if you’re going to go out anyway, you may as well take advantage.

Special Nights: A lot of local eateries offer steep discounts during the week, depending on the day. The food may not be the healthiest out there (one of my favorite local places has $5 burger night, for example. Yeah, cheeseburger and french fries isn’t gonna help your belt size, so use sparingly).

No Drinks: It takes a lot for me to order an alchoholic beverage with dinner. Alcohol is expensive as it is, but ordering a beer/wine with your dinner can easily cover half of the cost of your meal (this is of coruse depending on your pricepoint). Other beverages are pricey as well, like soda and coffee, so cut these out and go for water.

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