Eating Out on a Budget: 4 Money-Saving Restaurant Tips

If you’re frugal, do you avoid eating out? I know frugal living is all about finding ways to spend less and using your money in ways that support financial goals. But frugal people like to eat out, too!

Yes, we know restaurants are expensive and eating out costs a lot more than cooking at home but sometimes you have to have a treat and be social. I’ll help you see how you can easily eat out on a budget with these four frugal tips:

1. Go at lunchtime

Most restaurants have a lunch menu that starts at around 11:00 a.m. and goes to 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. where the meals are a little bit cheaper and the portions are slightly smaller. But sometimes you get more food on the plate than you’d serve yourself at home.


2. Do not order juice

Juice is expensive and sugary, and it makes you more thirsty, anyway. Juice does not quench thirst. Just order water.

If you need a little bit of flavor in the water, ask for a lemon slice. Make sure you are specific when you order your water because some restaurants will still bring you a bottle of water and charge you $4 for it. Ask for a glass of tap water with ice.

3. Do not order an appetizer

Go to a restaurant that serves bread, rolls, or biscuits before the meal. You will be too full for an appetizer anyway after eating the bread and drinking the water.

4. Ask for a to-go container

Ask for a container to be brought to you with your entrée. The entrée is usually way more food than you can usually finish in one sitting, anyway. As soon as the plate arrives at the table, I usually split my entrée in half and box up the other half.


I’ll put the container aside and eat what’s left on the plate. The boxed-up food I bring home is for another meal.

Since I will have already spent more than twice as much as I normally would have on a meal at a restaurant, at least I’m getting two meals for the price of one with the leftovers I brought home.

Eating out on a budget

Those are my four frugal tips for eating out on a budget. Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Share them in the comments below.

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