Some Tips For Saving Money At Restaurants in Hard Economic Times

October 9, 2008 | By | COMMENTS

1. Go for lunch, not dinner;

2. Ask for bread;

3. Order something you can dip the bread into (a bowl of steaming mussels);


4. Order something you can make a sandwich out of (a tomato feta salad, for example–just tear the bread open and stuff the tomato and feta inside);

5. Feel full and happy and realize that, with the free bread, your fancy restaurant meal was less than $10.

And that’s how to save money at restaurants in hard economic times.

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  • Kitt

    Poor restaurateurs, though. They’re probably

    posting this on their own blogs:

    How to save money in your dining room: 1) Charge for bread.

  • Amazonite

    One thing I’d add — if you do go out to eat, don’t try to save money by skimping on a tip (or even stiffing your waiter!) If you can’t afford to eat out and leave a decent tip, then there are much more frugal ways to eat, not to mention fairly frugal (or free!) modes of entertainment that don’t have staff members depending on your tip.

  • Carol

    eat out less, but make it worth the $$$.

    know the menu before hand and know what you want to order and the PRICE. listen to specials and to prix fixe menus. never, never stif the wait staff…unless service was horrible. and if you want free food….Cosco/BJ’s free samples are the way to go…..just keep going ’round and ’round and hope the server doesn’t catch on!

  • Michael Greenberg

    Saving money and eating out seem fundamentally incompatible to me (assuming certain standards!), but ordering one or two small plates instead of a large plate saves money and lets you try more dishes!

  • Yvo

    Tip for saving money on restaurant dining: Dine in. Making the same food at home is so much cheaper!!! (And for most upscale new American cuisine, totally doable.) Hahahaha I like how your tag says “have you no shame”

  • Judith in Umbria

    Not only is Yvo right, but you can ask from 2 to 4 people over for the same price, depending on where you planned to go. Actually, some restaurants are pricey enough to feed 20 at home. Then all those people really owe you a meal at their home or in a restaurant!

  • JamesM

    I don’t know, going to a “fancy restaurant” and making a salad sandwich doesn’t make sense to me. Going for lunch or an early-bird special makes moe sense. Or get a big entree to go and save the tip, beverage, and wine mark-up. You can have a nice dessert/salad at home to supplement for almost nothing. Or if you really want the restaurant experience just go for dessert after “the show”.

  • John

    Those are all good suggestions, though I had never even stopped to consider the “make a sandwich” idea. One thing I like to do is to order two or three smaller, cheaper appetizers (always making sure it adds up to less than the average to below average priced entrée). Add tap water to that, and pass on the dessert.

    Also, the specials are sometimes cheaper than the entrées, and if so then it’s a good choice. I could’ve escaped a newly-opened pasta bar in northern Baltimore last weekend with only paying $13 for dinner before tip had I followed my own advice – linguine with mussels in white wine sauce for only that much! But I was tempted by the cannoli and gave in. Weak, weak me!

  • jgodsey

    that’s not very nice to do to the restaurant.

    besides what if the bread isn’t very good?

    sometimes i go at dinner and have an appetizer and a salad…sometimes just an appetizer.

  • Anna Willson

    I think that these tips are not useful for people who are short on cash. For what to go to restaurant when you your budget is very tight? I can`t understand it. Of course every person had difficult time in his life! My problem is that I can`t live with my means as most of girls. Once I spend almost all my salary on clothes so I had to contact this fast cash loans online service to make ends meet in the end of the month. This situation scared me and I decided that I have to be savvy and spend money wisely to avoid more serious financial problems in life. Interest rates of such loans are very high. Now I try to write down all my expenses and plan my budget for every month.