10 Ways Thrifty People Dinner Date


10-ways-thrifty-people-dinner-dateHere are 10 ways my husband and I keep the cost of dinner dates within our budget.

1. Use Coupons

Coupons for various restaurants can be found in numerous places. My hubby and I  get ours from free magazines, local publications, e-mail clubs, and deals mentioned on Money Saving Mom.

2. Use Discounted Gift Cards

We frequent certain restaurants over and over again that offer great prices and coupons, I sweeten the savings by checking Cardpool and Plastic Jungle for gift cards at reduced prices for these restaurants.

3. Use Pointed Earned Gift Cards

I cash points from various point earning programs for $10 gift cards to restaurants we frequent.

4. Go For Breakfast or Lunch Instead

Dinner tends to be the most expensive meal to eat out. If it can be arranged try eating out for breakfast or lunch instead.

There are still great coupons out there for these meals too. If you decided to try breakfast dates be sure to sign up for Bob Evan’s email club as they send out 2 for 1 breakfast coupons frequently.

5. Order Water

Save yourself easily $5 or more and order water to drink.

6. Share an Entree

Most restaurants are very generous with their portion sizes, rather than let that generosity land on your hips share your meal. My husband and I do this often at a Mexican restaurant we love.

7. Use Daily Deal Sites

I follow at least half a dozen daily deal sites including Groupon. They often contain deals to restaurants in cities we frequent.

8. Eat At Home Without The Kids

Do a kids swap with friends and when it is your night off, go back to your empty home for dinner. Make it a simple dinner of meat on the grill, salad from the deli section, and store bought french bread.

9. Eat At Home With The Children (sort of)

This worked like a charm for us when our kids were ages 5 and up. We set up a movie in their room about an hour or so before their regular bedtime. We gave them a special snack and then told them Mommy and Daddy were having couple time downstairs and they were not to interrupt.

We then placed a row of quarters on the top step and if they did not interrupt they got to keep their quarters. Each time they interrupted for something silly they lost a quarter.  In the three or so years we did this no one ever lost a quarter.

We got an extended evening all to ourselves, in which we would enjoy either a simple home cooked meal or take out just the two of us. The children got the thrill of watching a movie in their room with snacks (something only done on Mommy and Daddy nights).

10. Try Out Restaurant.com

My husband and I have not had any luck with Restaurant.com for the restaurants we love but I know other thrifty couples who use it all the time so I thought I would mention it.

PLEASE NOTE:  Although my husband and I use all these tips to save money on eating out we always make sure to tip the servers according to what the meal would have cost full price with drinks. Be thrifty but don’t be stingy.


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  1. Thanks for the tips. I think that we have done every one of them except #3! My husband and I rarely order our own entree. Thankfully, we both like the same things so we order one entree and split – which is always plenty. God bless ~

  2. I love your idea about leaving the quarters on the stairs — cheaper than a babysitter, and more effective, I would say! And thanks also for the tip on tipping the servers on the full amount of the meal. My college aged daughter is a server making $2.20/hour, and she hates Living Social and Groupons because people will often only tip on their balance. It’s brought new generosity to my tipping, for sure!

  3. Good suggestions! Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Brilliant! I love the quarter idea.

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