The cost of food is one thing that can quickly add up, and alarmingly so—especially if you have a large family. Recent statistics reveal that the average American family spends almost $8,000 annually on food, which includes grocery shopping, restaurant visits, fast food chains and take-out meals. However, most people spend much more than they need to, and there are simple solutions to drastically reduce the amount of money that you and your family spend on food.
Although careless grocery store shopping can lead to excessive food spending, eating out is often the culprit. The following are some ways to reduce the amount of money you spend on your next meal out:
Check your favorite restaurant’s website and social media profiles for any printable coupons that can save you on your next meal. Don’t forget about your newspaper, either—often there are money-saving restaurant coupons included on a weekly basis.
Take advantage of online deals
Various websites, such as Groupon, offer coupons and other deals for many different restaurants. Next time you’re about to go to your favorite restaurant, check to see if you can purchase one of these deals online first.
Purchase gift cards
Buy unused gift cards for certain restaurants from people and websites (try eBay or Amazon) at a reduced price.
Bring your leftovers home
Get your leftover food boxed up and bring it home for a future meal, whether for yourself or a family member. You will feel less guilty about dining out if you are able to really stretch the value of your meal.
Check out the new place that just opened up
If there’s a new restaurant that just opened up in your town, check it out next time you decide to dine out. Restaurants that just open tend to offer terrific specials while they’re trying to establish a customer base.
Find out if there’s an alternative menu
Oftentimes, people dine out because they want a night out on the town. Some upscale restaurants will offer alternate (read: cheaper) menus in their lounge or bar area, which can be great option if you just want a small snack and you’re on a tight budget.