I remember back in my high school days, going out to restaurants with my friends seemed like the COOLEST thing ever. I had made some money from my part-time jobs-- waitressing at a retirement community, babysitting, working at the library (see why I'm obsessed with them?)--  and felt like such an adult being able to go to a restaurant and order food and pay with my own money for it.

 

I'm betting I wasn't the only one who felt that way. Restaurant spending is probably one of the highest expenses us 20-somethings have (no I don't have any actual research numbers to back that up, but it sounds legit, right?) and that kind of makes me sad.

 

I know some people REEEEALLY love going out to eat at restaurants and they prioritize it over other things. That's cool-- if you really love it that much, more power to ya. BUT, for those of you who are trying to cut down on your restaurant spending, here are 3 of my favorite tips:

 

1 // Choose your restaurant wisely

I get it- sometimes you're feelin' lazy and don't want to make your own dinner. Totally understand that; I have those days too. But do you really need to go to a fancy $15/meal restaurant? ORRRR can you go to Chipotle or Panera or someplace like that with cheaper prices?

I'm a big fan of places that DON'T have servers, too-- I'm perfectly capable of getting my own drinks, picking up my food from the counter, cleaning up after myself, and saving the 20% tip!

 

2 // Got a favorite restaurant? Become their biggest fan.

Well, not really. Just sign up for their email list, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They (probably / hopefully) will post occasional deals for their social media followers and you can totally take advantage of those! Mike and I have been going to a bar/restaurant near us the past few weekends that have a really good $5 slider deal and $2 beers. We know this because we stalk their website. Also I'm newly obsessed with Baja Fresh because they're always sending out $5 off $15 coupons.

 

3 // Stop buying lunch at work.

There's one thing I noticed about office workers who are always buying lunch during the work day-- they never appreciate it!! I think going to restaurants is a BIG FREAKING DEAL. You're spending money to have someone else prepare your food and serve it to you and clean up the dishes afterwards. It should be a TREAT and an experience you truly appreciate! But when you're buying lunch every.single.day at work... it starts to lose its luster. You start to get used to it. You stop appreciating the experience and just view the $5-$10/lunch as an annoying but necessary part of your day.

STOP DOING THAT!! (again, unless you really love it and bond with your coworkers and whatever other reasons you have for loving it) Making your own lunch is 23498234x cheaper (again, not a researched number, but it sounds about right) and healthier. Save your restaurant trips for times you are going to truly enjoy and appreciate it-- not in the middle of the workday.

 

 

How do YOU save money at restaurants?