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How to eat out for less than $30 for a family of four

By DealPro(view all posts by CrystalECollins)
at 10:10AM Thursday August 29, 2013
under Money Saving Tips

Now more than ever, people are being smarter with their money. And one of the areas that usually takes a budget cut when times are tough is the eating out category. Restaurants are working harder than ever these days to bring more and more customers in to generate more revenue, and they are doing this through various means of saving you money. Talk about a win/win, right? 

So is it possible for a family of four to eat out for less than $30? I do it on a regular basis, and here's how. Here are 9 ways to can save on eating out:

1. Follow your favorite restaurants on their social channels. Many offer specials, discounts and coupons to fans or followers.

2. Use coupons whenever possible. Sometimes restaurants will offer coupons in the local paper, the local magazine, on the back of grocery store receipts and in other places. It's a good idea to keep any eye out for coupons whenever possible. Some other ways to get great discounts and coupons:
  • Entertainment Book
  • Groupon
  • Living Social
  • Restaurant.com

3. Use your smartphone and checkins to save. Apps like Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare and ScoutMob all sometimes have specials for checkins. I've gotten a few free meals this way. 

4. Dine in the middle of the week when restaurants offer specials.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically the slowest nights for restaurants, and many of them offer specials to entice more customers to come in.

5. Dine during lunch hours. If your schedule will allow it, lunch is the better time to eat out. Lunch prices are usually a lot cheaper than dinner prices, and the portions are fairly similar in size, if just a bit smaller.

6. Share your meal. Portions at dinner time can often be enough to feed two people, so you save on the cost of food by splitting an entrée with another person.

7. Avoid the drinks if possible. Sticking to water can significantly cut the cost of eating out. $2 per soda? That's an $8 savings for a family of four if you stick to water.

8. Take advantage of gift card promotions.
Restaurants will oftentimes offer a free bonus gift card if you purchase a certain amount in gift carts. This is especially true during the holiday season.

9. Use your Kroger plus card to purchase your restaurant gift cards at Kroger
, and you'll earn gas points to save 10 cents off per gallon at the pump. Then use your gift cards along with the other tips listed here and you are not only saving on eating out, but also saving on the cost to drive there.

What are some of your favorite ways to save on the cost of eating out? Do you think it's possible for a family of four to eat out for $30 or less? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Crystal Collins, a Savings.com DealPro, is an Atlanta local, adventurer, a health advocate and thrifty as can be. Check her out on her blog at TheThriftyMama.com.

(Source:
Savings.com)