One of my favorite things to do is going out to eat! Unfortunately, eating out can really add up so I’ve had to cut down and be smarter about it to save money. It also wastes gas since you have to drive, and it can create more waste if the restaurant uses one-time use plates and utensils. There are a few things I do to cut down on the amount I pay per meal and to save some trees and gas.
Settle for the cheaper places
There are plenty of restaurants that you can go to without breaking the bank. To enjoy eating out, you don’t need to splurge on a $100 meal. Some of my favorite restaurants only cost about $10 a meal! Save up your money and spend less at restaurants.
Check for coupons and deals
Before you leave home, check out what coupons and deals are available. This works out best of course when a restaurant you like happens to have a coupon or deal going on! Score! Other times, if a restaurant seems decent, you can try a new place. Also, remember to carry cash with you as some restaurants do offer cash discounts. It’s not very common, but I have seen it every now and then.
Proper tipping is required when the server does a good job! If the server doesn’t, then I don’t leave such a big tip. 10% is usually what I leave for bad servers so that they know they didn’t do well. For good service, I try to tip 20%. Another thing is to calculate tip from the subtotal. If you calculate it from the total, then you’re tipping on the tax also.
Save the takeout containers
Some restaurants use different containers depending on if you’re getting takeout or eating in. If you’re eating in, make sure to let them know so they can serve you using washable dishes. Otherwise, you’ll get a one time use takeout container. Sometimes it’s recyclable and sometimes not. Even if recyclable, you could go one extra step by not using it in the first place. Another thing you could do is bring your own container. I don’t like heating up my food in styrofoam and plastic anyway, so I usually transfer the food before doing so. Might as well save some resources and be earth-friendly.
Don’t take more than you need
If you’re using paper napkins and grabbing some plastic utensils, just grab what you need. If you don’t use it, then it just ends up in the trash.
My husband and I definitely don’t eat out as much as we used to and have saved tons of money this way. When we do eat out, we try to find good restaurants that have deals going on. I try to bring my own containers to help save a non-reusable container, but I definitely need to work a little harder on that one!
What do you do to save money and be earth-friendly when eating out?