How To: Save Money on Dining Out

I will admit it: I love dining out.  I love not having to grocery shop, prep the ingredients, or do the dishes.   I also love the fact that things almost always seem to taste better when they are served to you at a delicious restaurant than if you prepared it yourself.  Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily that healthy or budget friendly to dine out all the time.  I have some great tips to help you keep some extra money in your wallets while still enjoying meals out of the house.

1.  Sign up for the email lists.

Whenever I find a new restaurant I like, I check out their website and see if they have either a mailing list or a birthday club.  I have a separate email account that I like to use for these sorts of things so that I don’t get a bunch of spam mail to my daily email accounts.  I often receive coupons for free appetizers, buy one get one meals, and more.

When it comes time for your birthday, be ready for the freebies to start rolling in!  You could pretty much eat like royalty for the entire month of your birthday just by using the coupons.  Some of my favorite birthday club lists are the following:
Benihana will send you a $30 voucher to use anytime during your birthday month.   There is no minimum purchase but I believe the $30 can only be applied to the food you eat.  My friend and I both have September birthdays so we went together and had a $60 feast and only paid for the tip.

  • BD’s Mongolian Grill will send you a buy one get one free meal coupon, so you can essentially have the unlimited bowls with soup and salad bar for two people for around $15 plus tip.
  • Red Robin will send you a coupon for a free gourmet burger of your choice and you will also get a free ice cream sundae after your meal.
  • Coldstone Creamery will send you a coupon for a free small Coldstone with one mix-in.
  • Baskin Robbins will send you a coupon for a free scoop of your choice.
  • Dairy Queen will send you a buy one get one free Blizzard coupon.

2. Use the Entertainment Book coupons.

Entertainment books are a really good investment.  You can usually get them for around $20 and they contain HUNDREDS of coupons throughout your area.  A good majority of them are buy one get one free coupons, so you could easily break even with the use of one or two coupons.

Even better, entertainment books go on sale throughout the year, since all of the coupons expire in November.  You can usually pick them up for under $10 by summertime, and sometimes as low as a few dollars.

3. Use coupons.

At, you can buy coupons/gift cards at a fraction of the price.  The most common denomination is to buy $25 off coupons for $10 with a minimum purchase of $35.  Now, this by itself is not a great deal; however, towards the end of every month, the certificates go on sale for 80% with that month’s coupon code, so you essentially get a $25 off coupon for $2.  You still have to make the minimum purchase of $35, but you get a net of $23 off your bill.  The minimum purchases are easily achieved with groups of people or for couples who like to get appetizers/desserts/drinks with their meal.  It’s a no-brainer!

4. Use Groupon. is another site that allows you to purchase gift cards at a discounted price.  Each day, there is a different deal ranging from restaurants to salons to everything else.  When the minimum number of people commit to buying it, the deal is on, and everyone gets the discounted rate.  (If not enough people are interested, the deal is off, and no one pays for or receives the deal.)  It differs from in that they are actually gift cards and there is usually no minimum purchase required.  It’s a good way to save at least 50% on your restaurant bill and get a nice variety of restaurants that you cannot find on

Those are the main ways I save on restaurants…  What do you think?  Did I miss anything?  Leave a comment below…

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2 Responses to How To: Save Money on Dining Out

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