Even though it’s most advisable to cook your own meals when you’re on a budget, a dinner at a restaurant every now and then is hard to resist. It comes with the perks of bonding with your friends, being in a different atmosphere, and trying out unique dishes.
If you just can’t say no to a weekly dinner out, below are some tips and tricks to help you save money. You’d be surprised how much fun you can still have despite your limited budget.
1. Plan Early
Spontaneity is exciting, but not always budget-friendly. Schedule your dinner days ahead, so you can set aside a budget and check out inexpensive restaurants in Singapore or any other country you visit. Browse websites with authentic restaurant reviews so you can get a glimpse of other customers’ experiences in a restaurant that interests you. Doing this will give you an idea of what to expect; therefore, preventing disappointments. Planning ahead will also narrow down your options and keep you from being overwhelmed by the heaps of options along your way.
2. Take Advantage of Special Deals
Checking out restaurant review websites also enables you to see if there are establishments offering special deals or discounts. For example, free coupons for giving their Facebook page a Like, one free meal on your birth month, or early bird discounts. Explore amazing deals and take advantage of those so you won’t have to spend as much.
3. Skip Drinks and Desserts
Juices, liquors, sodas, and desserts will just add to the costs. Just opt for tap water so you won’t be charged extra. If you can’t resist those delectable desserts, splitting them with your friends won’t hurt. Besides saving money, skipping sugary drinks and desserts also benefits your health.
4. Get Creative With Your Order
The main entrees typically cost higher than appetisers, but the latter can be good enough to satisfy a small appetite. Consider selecting an appetiser as your main entree. If it isn’t enough to satisfy you, order a main entree dish but split it with your friends. You can save a few dollars, but not without a satisfied stomach.
5. Double Check the Bill
If you’re on a budget, being meticulous in checking receipts is a must. On some occasions, waiters can give the wrong bill, ending up with you paying much higher than what you should. That said, always double-check the bill when it arrives at your table.
6. Eat at Home
This is the most obvious and viable trick to save money on food, but even so, you may still be spending a lot if you aren’t wise. When you’re grocery shopping, make sure you’re only buying what you need in amounts you can consume. Since meal ingredients are perishable, they’ll only end up as wastes if not consumed within their shelf lives. Throwing them away is like discarding your money.
Avoid prepacked salads and buy the ingredients separately instead because those are cheaper. Wash the ingredients well and dry them out completely before putting them in the fridge to maximise their longevity. Buy spices and meat in reasonable amounts; having meat-free meals from time to time will not only save you money but will reduce your environmental footprint as well.
If your local grocery store has their own brand, select those because they’re usually cheaper. Consider healthy canned food such as beans, tuna, and salmon as well. They’re inexpensive and you can find a variety of recipes with them. If you love chicken, buy a whole one rather than a boneless and skinned one. Explore the produce section diligently and make mental math on how you can save on costs.
With these helpful hacks, you’ll be saving money without sacrificing good food. Reward yourself when you’ve reached a goal. You deserve the luxury after committing to your cause.