CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Record inflation has driven up the price of almost everything these days, and with food costs going up, many restaurants are having to pass those increases along to customers.
But enjoying an evening out doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are five tips for saving money on your next meal out, according to The Penny Hoarder.
1. Do your homework
Almost every restaurant’s menu is available online. Look ahead so you can check for daily specials or make sure there’s a good option in your price range. You may luck up and find your favorite restaurant has a discount you didn’t know about.
2. Clip coupons
Couponing might sound like a blast from the past, but experts say you can still find good deals if you’re willing to do a little work. Here are some great websites for restaurant deals: Valpak, Restaurant.com and Local Flavor. Remember to always read the fine print on any coupon so you understand what does and doesn’t qualify.
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3. Skip the apps
Yeah, this one’s hard. Almost every restaurant chain has a variety of delicious appetizers. But experts say it’s one of the easiest way to save money at a restaurant, plus a regular meal usually provides more than enough food to fill you up.
4. Split a meal
Most restaurants serve large portions, so sharing could help you save a few dollars. Typically, the cost of sharing a plate will be cheaper than ordering a second meal. Ordering for just one person? No worries, simply ask for a to-go box with your meal and set some aside before you eat.
5. Eat a late lunch
Lunch items almost always cost less, even if they’re the same exact thing on the dinner menu. Most restaurants serve lunch until 4 p.m. so it can be a cheaper alternative if you’re able to make it work with your schedule.