Dining On A Budget

December is a wonderful time, but it always gets a little tight with all that last-minute shopping! It’s hard to be able to dine out sometimes when trying to get all the holiday expenses covered. There is traveling, presents, and feeding company to think about! Here’s a few tips on how to dine out on a budget year-round that will hopefully help you as we approach holiday-recovery season!

Did you know that you can actually use COUPONS at restaurants?? A lot of restaurants will offer a coupon in the local paper. Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse, Red Lobster, and others have been known to drop a couple of coupons in the Sunday paper.

Another great way to save money at a restaurant is to stock up on gift card deals. Every year around this time, restaurants offer deals for people buying gift cards. You can use some of the gift cards as gifts, or keep them all to use. For instance, if a restaurant offers “buy $40, get a $10 gift card”, you can get $50 worth of food for $40. If you combine that with a coupon, you can save even more! If you didn’t buy gift cards at Christmas, don’t fret! There is a great website called “Raise.com” that sells discounted gift cards year-round! You can also check Facebook buy/sell/trade pages for people randomly selling unwanted gift cards for cash; just make sure to verify the gift card is valid before buying. A legitimate seller will be willing to let you call the number on the back to double check.

If you like to shop on Amazon, sometimes gift cards are in their flash sales. You can usually get a $5-$10 discount on cards worth $40-$50. Also, if you like to drink Coca-Cola, each drink or box of drinks has codes on it. You can save these codes and go to mycokerewards.com to enter them. I enter them all year long, and then look for their special holiday deals. You can get gift cards through their catalog, too. Or, they have items you can redeem that you can give as gifts or keep for yourself. The money you save on that can go into your dining budget!

There are lots of ways to save when dining out. Groupon sometimes offers deals for local restaurants, as well. Keep your eyes on deals all year, and maximize on them when you can. Remember to always tip your server off the full check!