How To Save Money Dining Out Without Looking Like A Cheapskate

Posted on: 6 May 2015


Do you want to spend less when dining out, but feel self-conscious when you do things like just order a salad or share an entree with your dining partner? You don't have to look like a cheapskate in order to dine out affordably. Here are three ways to save money at a restaurant with less embarrassment.

Go for lunch instead of dinner.

If you've been waiting to try a certain restaurant, visit for lunch instead of dinner. Often, similar dishes or even the exact same dishes are offered, but the prices are lower. Sure, you may get a smaller portion, but with restaurant portions being so large these days, the lunch portion is probably still more than you need for a lower price. It's also more acceptable to order water with lunch than it is with dinner, since it is generally considered a lighter meal.

Skip the booze.

If you're in the habit of always ordering wine, beer or a cocktail for dinner, then you may feel strange ordering a soda or water. However, there are many people who choose not to drink for religious or health reasons, rather than because they're trying to save money. If you skip the alcohol, your waiter will have no idea you're doing it to save cash -- this can be your secret. Do you feel like you really need a drink at the end of a long day? Have a cocktail (just one if you're driving) before heading to dinner, or share an after-dinner bottle of wine at home instead.

Order one smaller dish and one more expensive entree between the two of you.

Saying "we're going to share an entree" sounds skimpy. So does "I'll just have the salad." However, if you present your order by saying "We're going to share the sirloin steak and the orange chicken salad," it does not sound like one of you is trying to low-ball the order. It just sounds like you both want to try both things. As a bonus, sharing one cheaper dish and one more expensive dish makes splitting the check easier -- you can just split it in half.

With the tips above, you can eat out affordably without feeling like you're calling attention to your money-saving habits. Remember, when the bill comes, you should still tip fairly based on the total of your order. If your service was good, you may even want to leave an extra dollar or two to show you appreciate the great service even though you did not spend a lot.

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