As much as I love cooking, I sure do love a great meal out. There’s something awesome about being able to grab a bite to eat at your favorite digs, and leave the cooking and the clean up to someone else. Heading out for a bite to eat is as close as this Chica is going to get to a personal chef, so I have to make every meal out count.
We all have vices, and mine happens to be restaurants. Remember, vices aren’t just for Miami. But ever since we’ve taken a ride on the kiddo-express, our dinner bill inches ever higher as my girls expand their palate and their appetite. So, how do we keep our inner foodie in line with our monthly budget? Well, I’ll show you!
How To Feed Your Inner Foodie on A Budget
Pack Snacks & Drinks When You Venture Out
Don’t spend your hard earned cash you’d rather spend on a killer meal out on a little snack and soda here and there. Make sure your dollars go to quality grub by restricting your spending on mediocre munchies.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a military discount….EVER. I save anywhere between 10-20% on meals out just by asking!
Know Your Local Kid’s Eat Free Restaurants
If you’re a savvy foodie, do your homework and scout out local restaurants with kids-eat-free-specials. Not only will you save money, you won’t find yourself banging your head against the table as you witness your child NOT eating the meal you were 99% sure that they’d actually eat. Might as well set your money on fire…flush it down the toilet…give it away…blow your nose with dollar bills…or blot your tears with wads of cash. Or maybe that’s just me.
Luckily there’s an app for that! Not to mention a website for that, too. Out To Eat With Kids is one of the coolest shmoolest searchable directory of restaurants on the interwebs. Plug in your zip, the distance you’re willing to travel and Tito Es Tu Tío(okay, that was a sad, sad attempt at a Spanish version of “Bob’s your uncle”), voilà ! You’ll get a list of local digs with kids eat free deals in your own backyard.
Opt for Water
Water is free ninety-nine. And I hear lemons are, too. So, when life gives you water and lemons, you’re 2/3 of the way there. Oooh, pass the sugar…cha-ching!
Seriously, water is free and non-water drinks are crazy expensive…okay, not crazy, but pricey. And if you’re a parent, do what I do. You get your kiddo’s fountain drink that comes with the kid’s meal and the kids get the water. Problem solved.
Lunch Is Sexy And Cheaper Than Dinner
Okay, so maybe sexy was a stretch, but I do love a good sexy lunch. The thing I love about lunch is that the portions are more in line with my appetite and I spend less for some of my favorite meals.
Split An Entrée
The more on my plate, the more I eat. So, to combat overeating and overspending, Homeskillet and I will split an entree with each other or with each of the girls. And another reason to split with the kids? Who doesn’t get tired of the mac-n-cheese, hotdog, hamburger, chicken nugget kid’s meal staples? Let your kids try new things without dishing big bucks for the adult portion size.
Use Social Coupons
Yes, yes. I raged against this machine in an earlier post, but if you read the fine print and know what you’re buying…caveat emptor and all that jazz, you can really scrounge up some great deals on meals. For reals. <made myself giggle>
Save Snazzy For Date Night
Sometimes it’s just not worth the headache to hit a snazzy restaurant with the kiddos in tow. I’ve learned this lesson in large part compliments of La Rubia. I love her, but when that mood strikes her, you’d be crazycakes to opt to dine out with her. Rather than waste the money on a total wash of a meal, not to mention the stress headache that comes when your child launches her fork clear across the dining room, just stay home. It will save you heartache and money.
Tapas image from WordRidden‘s Flickr stream.
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