Thursday, July 1, 2010

Frugal Foodies...Saving Money at Restaurants

by: Diane O'Brian

Our waistlines are showing that Americans are eating out at restaurants more often. In fact, statistics show that the average household spends 40 percent of its food dollar eating away from home. So if we are going to eat out, we might as well eat well and get the best deals possible!

1. Join the Club: Sign up for restaurant discounts through restaurant websites. Simply sign up for each e-club using your e-mail address and you’ll get coupons delivered straight to your inbox!

2. Simply enter your zip code to see the participating restaurants in your area. You can buy a $25 gift certificate for $10, and print the certificate from your computer immediately. If you have an online coupon code, you will save even more, paying only $5 for a $25 gift certificate. Less expensive, casual restaurants offer "50 percent off" certificates, available for $3. The online coupon code would bring the price of that certificate down to $1.50.

3. Use Coupon Books: The Entertainment Book and use those to plan your dinner date! The Entertainment Book is an excellent source of restaurant coupons for specific cities. You can buy one from their Web site,, and even preview the restaurants available before you invest in a book. Expect to pay $25 to $35 per book, with coupons that last from August to the following November 1st -- 15 months). The price of the book begins to go down in the spring, and drops to its lowest price in the summer.

4. Kids Eat Free: Stop by restaurants that offer Kids Eat Free specials. This will cut your bill drastically if you eat out with your kids on a regular basis.

5. OpenTable: Yup this website is for making dinner reservations. You get 100 points for making and keeping a reservation and when you get a minimum of 2,000 points you get a $20 Dining Check to use at an Open Table restaurant.

6. Think Frugal: Ordering water instead of pop and/or splitting a big meal with your spouse or friend can help save money. If you have to eat out, opt for an early time. Most restaurants offer cheaper menus during lunch or right before the dinner rush.

7. Groupon: If you sign up at you will get an email deal every day for half off or more. If enough people purchase the Groupon then the deal is on. They offer a variety of vendors and businesses and some of them are for restaurants. There are many other groupon companies out there depending on where you live.

8. Cincinnati deals: In Cincinnati you can get the Best of Cincinnati Card for an up front $25 charge. You receive your 40% savings when you add money to your Best of Cincinnati (rechargeable) card. You can add money as often and as many times as you like - always at 60 cents on the dollar.

Donate $75 to WNKU and get a membership discount with over 120 restaurants, many with BOGO deals. For $7 you can get an additional card for restaurants in another city. (Thanks to my husband for sharing this deal!)

*Don’t forget to tip for the full price of the meal before discounts. You can be frugal without being cheap!

1 comment:

MrsSpock said...

Just registered for Open table and now cruising it for ideas for reservations for our Chicago Foodie Getaway.