Dining out with the family is a great treat, but can really deplete the pocketbook. Here are some ways for you to plan ahead and get great restaurant meals on the cheap:
- Sign up for email alerts from your faves. Many times they will have exclusive coupons and deals for their subscribers. You can visit the websites of your top five favorites, or do what I do and sign up for all of them under a separate email account. Just don’t forget to check it!
- Take note of Kids Eat Free nights. Many restaurants offer a special evening where kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree. Ask to see if this offer can be combined with a coupon for even bigger savings.
- Restaurant.com. This site offers discounted vouchers to local restaurants. They are fully stocked with a variety of locations at the first of the month, and as the selection dwindles, the prices go down. Usually you can find a coupon code to get a $25 voucher for $2 near the end of the month. Personally, I buy my vouchers at the beginning of the month so I can get the best selection. Be sure to read the fine print for minimum purchase requirements.
- Daily deal sites. Eversave and Groupon are my two favorites for finding local deals. I check every day, and have accumulated a nice selection of vouchers for our summer outings. Be sure to take advantage of the refer-a-friend programs to earn yourself a freebie or two.
- Entertainment Book offers $10,000-$20,000 in local coupons for around $30-$35 (depending on your area). It’s a very handy book to own when you need to save but you still want to have fun!
- Survey sites. There are a few survey sites that I participate with just to get free restaurant gift cards. I can’t tell you how great it feels to walk into Olive Garden with five kids and not owe a dime at the end. It totally eliminates the dining-out guilt we mothers tend to have.
- Discounted gift cards. These can sometimes be found on Ebay by searching under the name of your favorite restaurant. Just be sure to buy from a reputable seller with a high feedback rating.
- Subscribe to Moms by Heart. Each Friday I put together a list of printable restaurant coupons, and if there is a hot mid-week deal or coupon you’ll find it here as well!