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Eating out at your favorite restaurants is always a fun way to treat yourself, but ooph – those prices can be crazy steep! Even if you opt for water over soda, a family of four can easily run up a tab of $50 or more (not including that tip, which should be 20%!)

Cooking at home every single day gets exhausting, though, even if you’ve made things easier by meal planning. So how do you walk that line to stay frugal but still feel free to visit your favorite eatery? Well you use the Internet, of course!

How to Eat Out on a Budget

Unless you value your cooking above everyone else’s, then you have other options to save on your next restaurant visit. A few clicks on your internet browser is all it takes to locate the best sites for dining deals.

Use Groupon to Save Money

Groupon saves you money on a wide variety of stores, hotels, and restaurants. Every Groupon exclusive discount can be accessed when you purchase a voucher.

These online vouchers can help you shave 80%, and more off your next restaurant visit. If you are not inclined to spend money on vouchers, then you’re free to search around their database for free deals from nationwide franchises.  

Browse Yelp for Deals

Many people read Yelp for reviews and directions. You can also use it to find out what discounts a restaurant is currently offering. Look for a green price tag icon next to the business’ name and click on it. This will reveal discounts and specials you would have to scour through newspapers to find.

These deals often are for whole dollar amount deductions or a free food item. Leaving honest feedback about your favorite restaurant might even nab you more perks tailor made for your return patronage.

How to eat out on a budget and save money when visiting your favorite restaurant

Save with Bite Hunter

Similar to Groupon, Bite Hunter is a deal aggregator site that specializes only in restaurants. No need to worry about checking for expiration dates.

Bite Hunter regularly updates their databases in real time to give you only the most recent deals. Every search can be narrowed down by categories such as happy hours, brunches, diners, all the way to four star establishments.     

Eat Local, Refer Local

When it comes to finding local restaurants, Refer Local concentrates all of your search efforts. Enter in some keywords, or the restaurant’s name, along with your zip code. From there, you’ll get dozens of results complete with their hours and menus.

Refer Local even hosts a regularly updated coupon stream. Joining their VIP club can unlock even more exclusive deals not listed on their stream.

Save with Credit Cards

Credit card users love being able to earn cash-back rewards. and are two programs that allow MasterCard and Discover users to save money and earn money.

Upromise by Sallie Mae rewards a full 12% on restaurant purchases with card, plus a 4% new enrollment bonus.

ShopDiscover has an online mall of bonuses available even to carriers with a no fee Discover card. Use ShopDiscover’s portal to purchase vouchers from Groupon or buy direct to get anywhere from 5%-15%.

Keep in mind, some of these deals may not apply for every day rewards. Cash-back bonuses are granted at participating locations and during designated business hours.

Going out to eat and sticking to a budget doesn’t have to be an either/or kind of situation! With the sites mentioned above, you can (literally) have your cake and eat it, too.

What’s your favorite place to eat out? Comment below and let me know!

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