Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Salads

There is a tricky dance that must be figured out if you want to be frugal, yet thoroughly enjoy eating out.  Setting a budget and sticking to it is a good start but if your budget looks anything like ours, eating one meal out is often all the budget can hold.  Because of this we have had to find ways to make our money stretch.  Here are a few of our favorites:

1.  Grizzlies Bar and Grill- Buy 1 get 1 burgers and fries on Tuesday nights.  We can easily get away with a $15 bill, tip included. 

2.  Splitting an Entree- Most restaurants serve larger portions than any one person needs.  We have found that by sharing an entree and adding an extra side potato or salad we both have more than enough to eat and spend a lot less than ordering 2 full meals.

3.  Eat with the Old People -  Many restaurants have an early bird menu that is aimed towards the early dinner crowd (old people).  Go for an early dinner or lunch, it will save you money!

4.  Bar Specials-   Happy Hour isn't just about the drinks.  Many bars have appetizers 1/2 price during happy hour (Applebees, Green Mill, and Fridays, just to name a few).   We have been known to make an appetizer our entree which can again, get us out of there for less than $15. 

 5.  Sign Up-   We have found that lots of places have registration on-line for promo's and freebies on your Birthday.  For example,  Red Robbin will give you a free burger not only on your Birthday, but also just for signing up.  Fazolli's will also send you a free spaghetti meal for signing up and other coupons throughout the year.  Noodles and Company not only sends you a coupon for a complimentary entree good the week of your Birthday, but is GREAT at sending you additional freebies and promos throughout the year.  And that brings me to their most recent promo, summer salads.

  Today, thanks to the notification on my e-mail, Paul and I stood in line at Noodles this morning for about 15 minutes and were one of the first 50 people to not only receive a free summer salad (a $7.50 value), but we got a T-Shirt for 9 more free salads each!  The catch is a 'pay it forward' sort of deal.  After eating our free salads (which were delicious in case you were wondering) we then pass the shirts onto someone else and they get a free salad and do the same.  The extra fun part is you can track your shirt on-line and see who/where it ends up.  What a fun promo and great Frugal Find! 

Off Season Steals

Last week as the temperature pushed nearly 100 degrees, which, in case you are wondering is not a common Wisconsin summer occurrence, Paul and I found ourselves at the mall seeking air conditioned entertainment.  After checking out all the deals the mall had to offer we walked away with a pair of jeans and a sweater for my husband totaling $9.  According to the "actual price" listed on the tags we saved $41 and were once again reminded that off season shopping is the way to go!  Not only do you save money in the long run, but when you pull out that sweater you bought on a 100 degree day 6 months ago and forgot about,  you get that "frugal find high" all over again.... or at least I do!