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Eating out without breaking the bank

Eating out without breaking the bank
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Sometimes it’s nice to go out for dinner as a special treat or even just because you don’t fancy cooking. But it can be expensive, especially if the kids are eating with you too. However, it is possible to dine out without breaking the bank, you just need to plan your outing before you set off.

Pub food

For those nights you just can’t face cooking or haven’t got the shopping in yet, pub food can be a godsend. Large chain pubs offer meals at decent prices. Though it probably won’t be the best meal you’ve ever had, it should be tasty and won’t cost over the odds. Alternatively, your local pub may well serve good old traditional pub meals, where you’ll get a generous portion for your money.

Look out for deals

There isn’t a day goes by where you can’t find a deal on a restaurant available from sites like Groupon or Itison. Keep an eye out for local eateries coming up and if you have a meal out planned then check what deals are about for that date. It’s also worth keeping your eye on supermarket and chain restaurant deals. Some do a ‘kids eat free’ offer when you’re buying an adult meal, which can seriously reduce the price of a family meal.

Go out for lunch

Most restaurants will have a lunch menu and a dinner menu and, while the lunch menu may be more limited, it is usually significantly cheaper than the evening menu. So rather than go out for dinner, enjoy having your lunch prepared for you. You’ll probably still be too full by teatime to eat much so won’t have to cook in the evening anyway.

BYOB

You may be surprised at the number of restaurants without an alcohol licence. This generally means customers are welcome to bring their own bottle to drink while they eat. You may be charged a corkage fee but this is usually lower than the price of a bottle of wine in a restaurant so taking your own alcohol along with you means you get to drink at supermarket rather than restaurant prices. Alternatively, stick to soft drinks. Many places offer free refills so a large chunk of your bill won’t be taken up with drinks.

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Eating out without breaking the bankMany people eating out find portion sizes a little overwhelming. If you fancy a three-course meal but don’t think you’ll manage to finish it all then consider sharing the starter and dessert. Dishes such as garlic bread or nachos are easy for you both to dip into and when it comes to pudding, just ask for an extra spoon. Side dishes like chips or salad can also be shared among you.

Examine kids’ menus

Children’s menus at restaurants can be limited to macaroni cheese, sausages or chicken nuggets. All served with chips, of course. If you know your child would rather have something else then don’t be afraid to ask your waiter. You could order an adult starter or a side dish each for the kids or even ask if they’ll do a smaller portion of one of the main meals. You may find that once all the crayons, boxes and sugary drinks are taken out of the equation, your kids’ meals end up cheaper.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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