Tuesday, 20 December 2011

How To Dine Out On A Budget

This time of year more than any other we tend to find ourselves eating out. 
With times being tight it's even more important that when we do dine out we have the best possible experience and pre-plan so we aren't worrying about the bill or order something we don't really like as we are overwhelmed by choice. Here is what I do before I go out to eat.

Tip #1 Check The Menu
Wonder if its all Ice Cream?
I always go on line and have a really good look at the menu. Have you ever been for dinner with someone who is a really good at ordering? Who always seems to know what will be really delicious? Chances are they have already familiarised themselves with the menu so know exactly what they want and what is the restaurants speciality.I'm quite a tricky customer when it comes to eating out as I'm vegetarian and don't like wheat or dairy. With a little bit of research I can work out what will be the best dish for me without having to do some awful "when Harry met Sally" style performance asking for things "without cheese" and sauces " on the side"

Tip#2 Check Out What Offers Are On.

Do you take Groupon Vouchers Good man?
It's always worth looking to see if the restaurant you are visiting is offering a Groupon or Living social type discount. Obviously check that you will be able to use it for your existing booking but you would be surprised how many eateries have great offers which can save you money on your meal.

Tip#3 Check The Price Of The Drinks

Make mine a tap water dahlink
If you are on a tight budget and are asked out for dinner always check how much drinks are so you can make price smart choices. I recently went for lunch and was delighted they offered a set lunch at quite a low price. What I didn't realise was that the two soft drinks I brought would cost me £9.I was driving so a glass of water would have been fine and it made the bill a nasty surprise.

Tip #4 Don't Be Ashamed To Split The Bill Properly

But I only had the salad and you had lobster-wtf?
When you have lots of money it's easy to be relaxed about splitting the bill and just throw a few twenties onto the middle of the table. If you are being careful with your money ( and we should all be doing this ) make it clear at the start of the meal that you will pay for your order separately. It's not being "tight" it simply means that friends who want to order yummy cocktails at £6 a throw can do so without worrying that you will feeling the pinch. Keep a note on your phone of how much your order is and have the correct money with you.

Tip #5-Be Money Smart Not Mean Spirited

Don't be a meanie pegs

Always include a good tip in your budget. If the service is good reward it. Times are just as tight for waiting staff and restaurant owners so don't mistake sensible spending with being mean.

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