Have you been craving that delectable meal you had a few months ago at that uber-expensive restaurant? Shelling out $30-40 a plate isn't cheap, and going out to dinner once in awhile could soon take its toll on your wallet. But it doesn't have to be that way - with these few tips, you can easily enjoy your favorite meal without having to break the bank.
In the restaurant
When eating out there are many things that you can do to reduce that total dollar amount on your bill. For instance, Newsweek explains that the syrupy concentrate used to create Coke only costs $2.60 to make 50,000 Cokes - which is $0.000052 a glass! So instead of ordering soda that will cost $3-4 a glass at a restaurant, opt for water instead. Not only is H20 free in most dining establishments, the drink is also a healthier alternative.
Another way to cut costs while dining out is to stay clear of plate additions. Sixty cents for mushrooms on your burger? An extra dollar for a side of fries? All of these can soon add up, and before you know it, your $10 burger has doubled in price!
Before going out to get some munchies, also look online to compare menus and prices. If you have a kid, make the most of restaurants that offer free meals for children. Also take into consideration the cost of eating out for dinner as opposed to lunch. Dinner menus are always more expensive than their earlier counterparts during lunch, and knowing when to go might just save you some cash.
Cooking a meal is almost always a cheaper alternative than going out to eat. An experiment from the L.A. Times, for instance, showed that a couple in California spent $257 for a week of dining out as opposed to only $148 eating in. However, there are still some things to remember before heading out to the grocery store to ensure that you get only the things you need.
The first thing to do is to make a grocery list. This is important not only to make your trip to the store faster, it will also prevent you from spending on things that you don't really need. So take out a notepad and list food items that you'll need to cook your favorite meal.
Next is to take advantage of sales and discounts. Most grocery stores offer coupons and weekly deals - it's all a matter of gathering these from your mail or from newspapers and finding the discounts that will apply to your needs. These days, you can even go online for coupons. For instance, you can get an eFoodsDirect.com Promotion Code and save on your next purchase.
Buying in bulk may sound counterintuitive and wasteful, but knowing the right kind of product to buy in mass amounts might just save you hundreds a year. Meat, for example, can easily be stored in the freezer for months. Bigger bags of frozen vegetables may also be a cheaper alternative than smaller packs.
Is your grocery list composed of a bunch of convenience items? Chopped carrots, precut and seasoned meats and shredded cheese are all examples of convenience items, and these things cost more than if you did all the work yourself. So before purchasing, weigh the cost of the price and the convenience that you're willing to sacrifice.
Another thing to consider when grocery shopping is to look for alternatives to brand products that you normally would purchase. Most grocery stores these days offer a substitute brand that they've created themselves, which are normally less expensive. Try a product out and compare to see if the quality is the same. When cooking, look for an alternative to your expensive ingredients. The price on different kinds of fish or a different cut of meat, for example, can vary greatly. A cheaper substitute might just be available for you to use.
With these tips in mind, the trip to your favorite restaurant or to the grocery store won't have to cost an arm and a leg. Do remember that even if you're on a budget, you can still eat a reasonable meal that's healthy and good for you.
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