- We make a point of eating before the dinner menu is in effect. Most restaurants switch from a lunch menu to a dinner menu around 4 pm. Prices go up but portions don't get any bigger for some reason. So if you plan to eat your meal before that time you can get the same amount of food for a much smaller price.
- If you're kids are still able to order off the kid menu, take advantage of it. Kid menu's are an amazing price and many times I've found them to have either the perfect portion size for my child or more food than they can handle. I don't think I've ever found it to be too little food for them.
- Don't order drinks. Oh My Goodness! It should be illegal what they charge for a soda pop in a restaurant when I know darn good and well that If I walked to a vending machine a few blocks away I could get it for $.50. The last place we went to charged $1.50 for a glass mostly full of ice and no refills. Forget it. We always order waters with lemon wedges at no charge. Then the kids squeeze their lemon into the water and add a packet of sugar from the table and they have homemade lemonade. That shaved $9 off our bill.
- Most restaurants have a lunch special or soup-salad-bread special for a discount price. This weekend when we headed to the beach I had a large bowl of clam chowder, a giant salad with shrimp on it, and garlic toast for $7. It was billed as a "Quick Lunch Special" and my plate had more food on it than anyone else at the table. It was a great deal for a restaurant meal. (I had to block out the memory of how cheap that would have been to make at home so I could actually enjoy it.)
The last meal we ate out for ended up costing us $39 for six people using these tips. If you're traveling this summer and find yourself eating out, I hope these tips will help you keep costs down too!
For more great ideas go to WFMW.