I love eating out and making a social event out of it, don’t you? BUT. Making a habit of eating out regularly can put a lot of pressure on your finances, especially if you are on a tight budget. However, we all deserve a little treat every now and again don’t we? Besides, eating out is one that many of us enjoy. It does not mean that having a meal in a restaurant has to cost you the same as your whole weekly shopping budget.

Plan carefully, and you could spend less than you would have by dining in! Keep on reading to find out how you can eat out on a budget. 

Use vouchers and discount codes

One of the easiest ways to save money eating out at restaurants is to look for coupons or discounts online. For example, you might be able to find a Bella Italia voucher to save you a few pounds, or a coupon that allows you to get a free dessert or round of drinks.

There are plenty of apps out there as well to help you find them – it is just a case of doing your research.

Stay away from unnecessary drinking

You’ve probably noticed when your bill arrives that, if you’re drinking alcohol with your meal, this alone will cost the same (if not more) as the price of your food. It’s a hard one to give up if you’re out socialising, but it’s worth it to save the pennies. Also, most restaurant vouchers don’t cover alcohol.

To keep costs down, stick to soft drinks with your meal or my main tip is to drink complimentary tap water. Why not? Alternatively, keep an eye out for deals that have a free glass of wine included in the price.

If you really fancy a drink or three, head to a pub or bar afterward – they are usually much cheaper than restaurants.

Check out ‘pre-theatre’ deals

Many swanky restaurants offer early bird promos for guests who visit early in the evening before the place gets busy.

These are commonly referred to as ‘pre-theatre’ deals, as the traditional idea was that you would come for a quick meal before heading off to the theatre. They usually give you a couple of courses at a discounted price, as they assume that you are going to be in and out pretty fast.

The menu is set, and usually, there is not much choice involved (for example, three courses with only two options to choose from for each course), but the prices are significantly lower than if you choose from the standard menu.

Check out the all-you-can-eat buffet

For maximum food for minimum price, you can’t beat an all-you-can-eat buffet. It is never going to be the most sophisticated night out, but if you are determined to get your money’s worth, it is the ideal place. 

Fill up as much as you can, and you probably won’t want to eat for days afterward, so you will save money that way – win-win!

Look for loyalty schemes

Loyalty cards may seem more geared to coffee shops and supermarkets, but an increasing number of restaurant chains have begun offering them to encourage people to keep coming back. 

Eating out can be a great treat, and it doesn’t have to cost you the earth either with these handy tips.