5 Ways to Save Money at Restaurants

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Happy friends at dinning table

How to Save Money Eating out at Restaurants

Who doesn’t love going out to eat? You get to enjoy delicious food, while skipping the stress of preparing it yourself and most importantly, you don’t have to fight over who is on dish duty that night. But, as we all know, eating out is expensive… especially when you order a cocktail. Don’t let the steep price tag keep you from enjoying a fun night out. Follow these simple steps and you’ll find you can save money doing the things you love:

Use the Power of Group Buying. Websites like Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com offer discounted certificates to hundreds of local restaurants, among other venues, every day of the week. To score the best deals, make sure you sign up for the daily emails at your favorite group buying websites (check out the top 20 here) and watch for your favorite digs to be featured. You can expect to save around $10 to $25 off your tab every time you use one of these vouchers. Makes that $8 side salad all the more palatable.

Get Rewarded. You may have heard of eBates.com, a site that rewards online shoppers for their purchases through cash back, but what about a site that rewards diners for their patronage? At iDine.com, you’ll get exactly that! Simply register your credit card with the website and every time you eat at a participating location, you can earn up to 15 percent cash back on your total bill (tax, tip and alcohol included). Be sure to also check out your preferred airline’s reward network; Delta and American both reward diners with Sky Miles in the same way.

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Buy Discounted Gift Cards. We’ve mentioned the amazing savings you can earn through Cardpool.com before, and when you’re going out to dinner, the same rules apply.  Many chains, like Chili’s, the Cheesecake Factory and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, have discounted gift cards you can purchase on the site at up to 30 percent off their face value. If your last dinner date cost you $100, that’s like getting one entrée (or more, depending on the restaurant) free!

Make reservations. We’ve all heard of Opentable.com by now, but what you may not know is that you can be earning $20 off your next meal just by making a reservation. Not only are you securing your table, but every time you make a reservation through Opentable.com, you earn between 100 and 1,000 points, locale depending. Once you reach 2,000 points, the website will send you a $20 voucher to use the next time you eat out.

Know Your Restaurant. We all have those restaurants where “everybody knows your name.” The place you go to every week to get your sushi fix. Or maybe it’s tacos. Either way, a lot of restaurants are starting to offer VIP Memberships to their customers as a thank you for dining with them. These memberships are usually free and the only thing you need is an email address, so they can start sending you coupons, special event discounts and information about their Happy Hour Specials. Saving has never been so easy!

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For more money-saving tips and tools, including a personalized debt payoff planner that helps you get out of debt faster so you can save money, visit Quizzle.com.

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