Are you trying to budget more this year and meal plan? Even if you are trying to meal plan and save money, here are 3 tips to save money dining out. We try to meal plan for the week, but we love to dine out and sometimes it can be cheaper than eating in if you are using the right tools. Event if you are trying to eat healthy on a budget, doing some research ahead of time can help you save money dining out.

Kids Eat FREE Nights

If you have kids, then you have to search for restaurants that offer Kids Eat Free or Cheap Nights. Start by visiting kidseat4free.com or kidseatfor.com to search the restaurants near your city that offer this promotion. Taking Tips to Save Money Dining Out is a great tip to save money dining out.  For example, our local T.G.I. Fridays offer Kids (12 and younger) Eat Free every Wednesday, and this is actually one kid per adult, which totally rocks because if you are a family of four then you end up paying half price. There are a number of restaurants in the area that participate in Kids Eat Free or Kids Eat Cheap.

It’s a good idea to call the restaurants in advance to make sure they are still participating.   Although this promotion is popular among chain restaurants, some local restaurants are starting to participate as well.  It’s so important to support local businesses, so why not ask your favorite restaurant if there is a possibility they can offer this promotion even if it’s once a month.

Savings Through Social Media

Sign up for emails, newsletters and facebook pages to your favorite restaurants. Many restaurants are now promoting special deals and coupons via Facebook, Twitter and Email. If asked to complete a survey after your meal, take a few minutes to fill it out because most of the time you will be rewarded with a coupon at the end.  Restaurant loyalty cards are becoming as popular as grocery cards. These cards typically offer a free meal after purchasing a certain number. There are also restaurants offering special coupons when you sign up for text messaging. I remember a time when I was embarrassed to use a coupon at a restaurant, now I am embarrassed not using a coupon.

Coupons for Restaurant Dining

There are also some online resources for finding discounts on group coupon sites. These are vouchers that you can print or just show with your smart phone. One of my favorite sites to use is Restaurant.com where you can search instantly for restaurant discounts or receive weekly coupons when you sign up for emails.  You will have to spend a minimal before alcohol and the tip is usually added in as well, but dinner for two can cost as low as $10 after your coupon. Just make sure to check the fine print before heading out.

4/26-4/27: $4 for $25 Restaurant Certificates with code: WOWMOM

Group deal sites like Living Social and Groupon.com also offer discounted restaurant dining certificates and are usually ready to use.

Going out for dinner doesn’t have hurt your meal planning budget, but make sure you plan ahead. Coupons for restaurants have become very popular and really a necessity for eating out these days.  There have been times that it was cheaper for our family of four to head out for dinner, and it’s a treat for the kids.  There are of course some secrets to dining out without breaking the bank.

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