When becoming debt-free is high up on your personal agenda, or saving money is your ultimate aim each month after all the bills have been paid, the very notion of eating out can set alarm bells ringing. Avoiding restaurants is, arguably, not that hard to do if you’re strict with yourself, but there’s no need to stick to this as a cast iron rule. After all, being frugal and aiming to save money doesn’t mean that you can’t have the occasional moment where, in the age-old words of our Parks and Recreation favorites, Tom and Donna: you treat yo self!
— Seth Sappenfield (@SappenfieldSeth) March 30, 2018
Eating out, whether it’s a simple plate of spaghetti or a three-course gourmet meal, can be the perfect way to treat yourself if done in the right way. Indeed, a study suggests that treating others is actually the best way to treat yourself, and taking others out to enjoy a good meal is a surefire way to make them happy, in turn making you happy. All of this means that these kinds of boosts should help you to feel nothing but positive about your saving ambitions.
No need to be boozy
It may not seem obvious, but eating out is a great way to boost your self-esteem and to encourage a lasting positive mindset. What you don’t want it to do, though, is to leave you with a sense of regret at what you have done to your bank balance after your treat comes to an end. When it comes to eating out, there are two ways to keep things thrifty, neither of which should impact upon the enjoyment of your dining experience.
— Mattress Firm (@MattressFirm) March 30, 2018
Perhaps the single best way to stay thrifty whilst enjoying some foodie delights is to think long and hard about whether you need to have that beer, wine, or cocktail with your meal. Eating out can sometimes seem better when paired with a great drink, but in all honesty, there is no need to double, or even triple your bill just to enjoy some drinks, especially when you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink or a post-dinner drink at home. After all, that same (if not better quality) alcohol can be easily bought from the liquor store at a far cheaper price compared to the significant markup that restaurants tend to enforce to improve their overall margins, as this example shows all too well.
Of course, sometimes you want to indulge and treat yourself to that lovely glass of wine that makes the evening feel even more relaxing, but if you can hold off on the alcohol while you are out, you will no doubt be able to treat yo self and others to meals out far more often, even if you are on a determined debt reduction drive.
Look for the discount vouchers and deals
The restaurant world has long been good at offering ‘deals’ and happy hours to keep costs down. This has only boomed since the advent of the online revolution, as consumers have benefited from the same trend that has seen low-cost, last minute holidays offered on a voucher code basis, retailers offering flash sales on specific days throughout each year, and casinos such as Casumo and 777 offering welcome bonuses online for newcomers to specific brands. Restaurants have benefited from offering their customers a wealth of online discount codes and vouchers to make eating out cheaply possible.
Mobile apps from companies like Subway and Dunkin Doughnuts are also helping to reward loyalty from customers with tempting offers and discounts, whilst sites like Groupon and others are doing their bit to make eating out a potentially everyday, affordable activity.
The most important thing that online vouchers and offers provide to those looking to eat out is the freedom to be sure of the costs before arriving. In fact, it’s often possible to pay for meals in advance, which makes monthly budgeting far easier. With these changes continuing to help make eating out cheaper, and avoiding alcohol not an impossible task when it comes to dining, it has never been easier for those wanting to save money whilst living a full life to reap the rewards of treating yo self and others.