Clever Ways To Stop Wasting Money on Eating Out


Are you looking to spend less money on eating out? It makes sense. The average American household spends $3,000 a year on going out to eat. For takeout, the average family spends $67 a week, or over $3,400 a year.

You don’t want to completely stop treating yourself to a meal every once in a while, but you know you need to cut back. Here are some clever ways on how to save money eating out and tips to spend less on food in general.

Check Your Credit Card for Cashback Deals at Restaurants

A lot of credit cards offer cash back when used at certain restaurants. They’ll sometimes even offer deals or a few bucks off. When you choose to go out, see which deals you can get so that even when you’re spending money on food you’re getting it for a little bit cheaper than you would normally. 

Order Enough for Two Servings

When you do go out, try to order something you can get a few meals out of. That way, you can take part of it home and eat it the next day, getting more bang for your buck. 

Make a Meal out of Smaller Plates

Appetizers and sides cost a fraction of the price of entrees, so see whether you can put a few of these together to make a full meal. This is an especially affordable plan when you go during happy hours and those appetizers are sold for less. 

Look for Discounted Restaurant Gift Cards

Sites such as CardCash and ClipKard sell gift cards for less than their face value. Search for your favorite restaurant on these sites and you could get a $100 gift card for $80, saving you 20% on your meal. Groupon also offers discounts to both local and chain restaurants. You often can pay something like $20 and get $30 worth of food. They have different specials all the time, so check regularly. 

Make Your Money Work for You

Opt for Pickup

Delivery fees can add anywhere from $5 to $20 to a meal. Choose the pickup option so you can save on delivery fees. Plus, you’ll most likely get to eat sooner than you would waiting for the delivery to arrive. 

Meal Prep

Meal prepping can help you save some serious cash on your food budget. Pick a day of the week when you have one or two hours to plan your meals for the week, and prepare what you can ahead of time.

Websites such as Downshiftology and Budget Bytes can help you plan your meals based on price range and ingredients you might already have in your kitchen. What you don’t eat throughout the week, you can throw in the freezer for the next week. 

Regularly Clean Out Your Fridge

Seems like a simple enough tip, but it can truly help illuminate just what exactly is in there. Set a weekly time to go through your fridge and throw out expired food. When you do this, you’ll probably discover some leftovers you might have forgotten about or ingredients you can put together to make something delicious for dinner so you don’t have to spend money going out.

Stock Up on Dry Goods

It’s a good idea to have cheap ingredients such as rice, legumes and beans on hand in your pantry. These items stay good for a long time and can quickly be made into meals on nights when you don’t have a meal planned but don’t want to drop money on takeout.

Make Your Money Work for You

Grow Your Own Veggies

Gardening can be a very therapeutic activity. Plus, it can yield some delicious homegrown food that you don’t have to pay for. Often, when you shop for herbs in a store, you have to buy a lot and end up wasting it. By growing your own at home, you avoid this waste and never have to shop for them again. Also consider growing bell peppers and tomatoes. They’re both fairly easy to grow and can add zest to tons of dishes. 

Sign Up for Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provides fresh produce for locals who pledge to give money to farms. Community members pay before the growing season, so farmers have the means to grow quality crops. In return, supporters receive access to a lot of vegetable types. This is a great option if you don’t want to grow food yourself but still would like to buy local while going out to eat less.

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