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.
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!