Keeping with last week's theme of saving money at a restaurant, I have a few more tips.
Lunch out is a great way to meet up with friends and catch up without taking away family time. I'd love it if someone has a better idea than meeting to eat, but until then I'll still keep eating out at lunch a few days a week to keep in touch with friends.
I did meet K in the mall's food court one day and we both brought our lunches in, but it we weren't taking up any space that a paying customer would have taken because there were almost no people in the mall at all. I bet many of you can guess which mall that was.
Other money saving ideas.... You can skip dessert at the restaurant. Instead of paying $5 for one slice of cake you could purchase a whole cake in the bakery at the grocery store, or buy a half of one, or bake one yourself, or skip dessert altogether.
If ice cream is more your family's idea of a yummy ending to a meal instead of stopping at the ice cream shop you could buy a half gallon of Bluebell, and even at full price in the grocery store, you could save some serious cash.
Did you like how I mentioned dessert first? Me too. Life is uncertain and you need to know when you are going to get your next sweet fix, and how it's going to come around. On to other ideas...
Perhaps two people at the table are considering ordering the same thing from the menu. You could share the entree and ask for an extra plate. Not only will this save you some money it will also save you some serious calories. Have you noticed that the portion sizes on the meals they serve are gargantuan?
Another idea for saving money at a restaurant is to cut your meal in half as soon as your plate arrives. You can even ask for a to go box right away. You won't completely stuff yourself at the restaurant and you can eat the meal a second time in a few days and remind yourself how great it was.
I used this idea about 12 years ago when I was looking for a way to pay for my gym membership. I would eat out for lunch almost every day, and on Monday and Wednesday I would cut my lunch in half and take the other half back to the office. Then on Tuesday and Thursday I would go to the gym during my lunch break (there was a shower), and my lunch would be a repeat of the prior day.
So enjoy your meals out, if you take them, but consider saving a few dollars along the way.