If you are on the road to learning how to rule your money instead of it ruling you, you might feel like it takes a lot of work, and a lot of saying no to things. You’re right. It does take a lot of work to get to where you want to be financially and then learn how to stay there. But you don’t have to loose out on all the fun things. For instance, dinners out. In comes today’s post: How To Eat Out For Two Under $20.
Greg and I originally had a budget of $30 for going out to eat but recently bumped it up to $50. This allows us to go out to eat about once a week. How? By following all these tips/rules in todays post. So in order to help you live a full life but not full of debt, I’ve put todays post together to help you enjoy those dinners out without breaking the bank!
How To Eat Out For Two Under $20
I know this may bring you back to your childhood when you had to split everything with your younger brother and I’m sorry to tell you this but, your mother was right. The typical restaurant gives you at least double the food you should actually be eating, sometimes more than that! I’m sure you’ve watched as plate after plate gets cleared with tons of food still on it. Or maybe that’s been your plate in the past?
Not only does sharing allow you to save half the money because you are only ordering one plate, it also helps you to not waste food! Greg and I share almost every meal and never leave the dinner still hungry, and occasionally we even take left overs home! (And trust me when I say it’s not because we have small appetites!) Since we always share we save money and it allows us to go out more often than if we ordered separately every time!
// FREE APPETIZERS
Go somewhere where they serve a free appetizer when you sit down. Whether it be chips and salsa, bread, or soup, find a place that serves you a little extra something before you order. It’s a little extra food without the extra price, and a nice way to curb your appetite. Between these appetizers and sharing our meal Greg and I are always stuffed leaving a restaurant!
// DRINK WATER
If you want to be able to go out to eat frequently without breaking the bank you have to cut out the drinks! The mark up prices on drinks is one of the number one ways that restaurants make money on you. The cost for the establishment to have that soda is practically nothing so even though it is only a couple bucks and cheaper than your overall meal, they are probably making the most money off of your beverage alone.
Besides those “couple bucks” add up over time. Although you might be under the impression that going out to eat includes getting a drink, get rid of that mind set. The drinks I guarantee will set you over every time! Water is not only better for you to drink with your meal, but it’s better on your wallet!
// NO DESSERT
I feel like this is a no brainer but lets talk about it anyways. I’m sure the dessert looks good, it’s dessert, it always looks good! They have the picture out on the table with the chocolate syrup staring at you, you’re full but you could eat a little, right? No. You are full! You will get the dessert and stuff yourself making you feel sick, or worse won’t finish it and have it go to waste.
I like to think of dessert as a separate date. If I’m out to eat I’m on a “out to eat date”. If I want dessert that is a separate date altogether that Greg and I can go on at a later time. Which we do, quite often, because we have a fund for that. We go out separately and have ice cream after having dinner at home. On the days we go out to eat we go home and have dessert. It allows more money for multiple dates when you don’t combine the two!
If it is a special occasion that you want to celebrate I understand, and then it is not just an average dinner out. In that case I say it’s okay to splurge a little. But first check with your waiter if they offer any complementary desserts for whatever you are celebrating. Sometimes for birthdays or anniversaries they’ll give out free treats to you! They might not always bring it up but it never hurts to ask!
// STILL TIP
I know I might step on a few toes with this one because some people have strong opinions on the topic of tipping. I’m not trying to sway you any which way but it wouldn’t be my post without sharing my view on things, so I’m going to share my view on tipping.
If you cannot afford to leave a tip you cannot afford to go out to eat. Tipping is apart of going out to dinner if you are going to a place where you will be served. For those who don’t believe in tipping or have heated opinions on the matter I will say this. Tipping or how much you tip says more about your character than it does the person serving you. I’ll leave my opinion at that. But I just wanted it to be known that we eat out for under $20 (usually only about $15) including tipping our waitress!
At first you might feel like some of these tips are a little constricting but I can promise you that if you go into dinner out with the right mind set you can accomplish this. If you turn your focus to the company and evening out, rather than eating and drinking whatever you want, you won’t even notice the difference. Until, of course, the end of the month when you’ve saved yourself a lot of money! :)
I’d encourage you to at least give these tips a try and see if you can eat out for two under $20. Once you’ve done that compare that dinner to your other dinners out and see if it really changes the experience that much. I find with the right mind set and focus, it won’t really change much.
However, in the end, if your goal is to be financially stable in your twenties, or save up some money, sacrifices do have to be made, sadly sometimes those sacrifices are smothered in chocolate syrup. ;)
Best of luck!