5 Ways to Save at Restaurants

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5 ways to save at restaurants on MissiontoSave.com

5 Ways to Save at Restaurants

I admit, I love to eat out!  But with a family of 5 it can get pricey and become a drain on the budget.  Here are 5 ways to help you save when dining out.

1. Use Coupons

Always check for coupons before you go.  Watch your mailbox and newspaper for coupon inserts for fast food and casual dining locations.  Many restaurants also offer printable coupons now too.  Check their Facebook page or website for any current promotions.  Apps are a great way to find coupons too (on the go even).  One of my go-tos is  ValPak. Also, each week, I provide a list of current restaurant coupons.

Limited time: and right now you can pick up an Entertainment Book for $16 off + Free Shipping.  See more details here.  Always great restaurant offers in this classic coupon book.

2. Join Restaurant Newsletters and Reward Programs

Speaking of coupons, many restaurants have fan eNewsletters you can sign up for. Then you can get special offers and coupons sent right to your inbox! (Tip- use a “junk mail” account to sign up so your personal inbox isn’t cluttered).  And don’t forget those reward programs too.  These programs offer rewards, like free food and discounts, when making purchases.  Both newsletters and reward programs also often include Birthday freebies!

3. Kids Eat Free Nights

Many restaurants offer families a break each week by providing “Kids Eat Free Nights” (KEF).  These discounts can help families afford to eat out.  I have a full list of KEF deals (both national and local) right here on Mission to Save. My personal faves are Rusty Bucket (any night!)  and Earth Fare (up to 6 Free meals!).  You can also visit KidsMealDeals to find a location near you on any given night.

4. Daily Deal Sites

Looking to try a new, local establishment?  Daily deal sites are perfect for finding, well- a deal!  Many local, non-chain, restaurants take advantage of advertising deals on sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Restaurant.com.  Yes these all require a purchase up front, but they can save you as much as 50% off your overall bill.  And you might find a new fave in the process.

5. Use Gift Cards That Earn Points

If you know you will be dining out at a specific location, stop by your local grocery to pick up gift cards (to use as “cash”).  That way you will earn Fuel Points on your dining experience.  So even if you can’t find any other form of savings (discount or coupon)- you will at least earn the fuel reward. Don’t forget, you can also earn gift cards for free with  great reward programs like MyCokeRewards, Pampers Rewards,  Swagbucks, ViggleMyPoints and some of the coupon apps too.  Also watch for seasonal Bonus Gift Card offers.  These usually come around Christmas and Mother’s Day.  Usually these entail buying $xx amount of a gift card from the restaurant and receiving bacs a bonus card to use on a future purchase.

Also checkout Raise to buy discounted gift cards.  (Get $5 Free credit when you sign up)

I am sure there are more ways to save on eating out.  How do you stretch your dine-out budget?

I shared these money saving tips with the team on Good Day Columbus. (1/6/15) Watch the segment below.


This post was also a part of the 30 Day Budget Bootcamp Challenge in 2014.

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