Frugal Foodies: How to Save on Dining Out

Money is tight in our house, but despite how tight things are, there are just some times when you have to get out of the house and have someone else cook your meal!

In response to tight budgets, frugal advisers have recommended for some time now that we stay at home to save money. But such deprivation grows old fast, so maybe it’s time to consider these six tips to help you spread your dining wings without crash landing your budget.

  1. FourSquare Deals:  Members check-in to various locations on their mobile phones using this service, but did you know you can also receive offers for freebies and discounts simply by letting FourSquare know where you are? Check out a recent segment on FOX & Friends for a “how to” on using the app for restaurant savings.
  2. Track Daily Deals:  Restaurants are one of the most common frequenters of daily deal offerings, so it pays to keep an eye out for vouchers that can greatly reduce the cost of dining at a new or favored eatery. Just make sure you read the small print and are aware of expiration dates and exclusions. For example, most restaurant vouchers don’t include drinks.
  3. Get Happy:  Eating early isn’t just for our elders. Happy hour ad early bird deals have become more common as restaurants try to fill in slow-traffic times. For example, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill offers full-size appetizers for under $5 before 6 p.m., plus $3 drink specials.
  4. Split it Up:  American restaurants usually overload our plates — unless they’re into nuvo cuisine — so there’s often enough food for two in a single order. You can cut your costs down to around $20 by simply sharing an appetizer, entree and dessert with a friend or date.
  5. Gift Yourself:  We tend to think of gift cards in terms of what we can offer others, but they’re actually very useful for individual purchases. Sites like let you purchase gift cards for several restaurants at a discounted rate, yielding immediate savings of up to 50 percent.
  6. MatchPin:  If you live in one of nine major cities, you might download the free MatchPin app. Membership brings you offers, rewards, contests and announcements from a variety of local restaurants.

How many of you use FourSquare?  I love checking in places (and becoming the Mayor…yes I realize that makes me a HUGE dork!)…but one of the main reasons I like checking in is because I discovered that some places have deals after you’ve checked in so many times…and I love deals!

Be sure to leave me a comment telling me any other tips you have when eating out.  I’d love to hear them!

Disclaimer:  These tips are courtesy of Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money saving expert for Kinoli Inc.


  1. Great tips. I’ve signed up for FourSquare but never use it. I’m going to have to start now and get some of these great deals!

  2. i love the gift card idea.. is great!

  3. Groupon is also great with money savings in your area! Also if you have kids… kids eat free nights are great! Keep a list and have them be your go to places!

  4. Great tips, thank you 🙂

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