Every once in a while, you need to get off campus to get away from dining hall food or get away from the kitchen to give yourself a break from cooking. Eating out is awesome because it gives you that kind of break. However, you should also keep in mind a few things while you’re out so you don’t spend an unnecessary amount on your dining adventure.

 

Use Restaurant Coupons

Singing up for services like Groupon and Living Social can give you some really great discounts on awesome restaurants. Keep checking on them every week or so to keep a look out for some place you’d really like to eat. Go with a group of friends or on a date. Using these coupons means you can go to nicer, better quality restaurants without sacrificing too much of your paycheck.

Make Two Meals Out of One

You might not be able to do this at every restaurant, but if you know that the place you’re eating at serves rather large portions (and let’s face it, most restaurants in America do), split a meal with a friend. Not only do you keep your portion in check, but you spend half as much as you would.

An alternative, if you can’t find anyone to split your chosen dish with, is to just make a second meal out of it. When I go out, by habit, I don’t order anything unless I know I can eat it for leftovers for lunch or dinner. A $15 plate is now two $7.50 meals.

Time When You Dine Out

A lot of restaurants have great happy hour deals. Check them out online or call them up to see if they offer any special times to order things for less. The deals can range from just a small percentage off to 50% off, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Order with Common Sense

If you’re trying to stay on a budget when you’re out, use your head. Ordering water instead of a coke isn’t going to cost you anything. Don’t order alcohol since they’re usually expensive when you’re out. Either save it for when you get home, or look for a place that’s BYOB. Also, don’t order dessert. You can always have something at home.

What do you do to save money when you go out? Let us know in the comments!