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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Save Money on Eating Out

I love LOVE LOVE to eat out. It doesn't even have to be fancy, I just appreciate it when someone else cooks, so I'd eat out almost every day if I could! Unfortunately the budget doesn't allow for it, so last year we started using the envelope system for our monthly eating out. At the beginning of the month, I take out the allotted amount of cash for eating out (in tens) and put it in an envelope. Then when we go out to eat we grab a couple tens out of the envelope and put the change back. This has really caused us to reevaluate our eating out when we only have X amount of dollars left for the month. We also decide more carefully what we spend it on. I'd rather order water at a restaurant than pay $2 for a soda, when I can drink a much cheaper soda at home. We often eat dessert at home, too (though sometimes it is fun to splurge!). And when it's getting later in the month and money is dwindling, we might opt for 2 trips to Taco Bell over 1 trip to somewhere more expensive.

We usually buy an Entertainment book each year, but decided against it this year. So I was glad when I discovered that even if you haven't purchased an Entertainment book, you can still print off 3 coupons for free online! Go here and type in your email and zip code and you can choose 3 different coupons from your local Entertainment Book to print out and use--without paying a dime! They will send you an activation email, then log in and print your coupons! You have to print them within 2 weeks and then use them within 2 weeks of printing. It appears you can do this with more than one email address, if you want to spread out your savings.

I'm a reluctant convert, but I have to admit that menu planning has really saved us a lot of money on eating out, too. It used to come to the end of the day and I was fried and dinner wasn't ready so I'd ask (uh, beg!) hubby to pick something up on the way home. Now that I have a plan (that's flexible, mind you!), I'm not nearly as stressed and it's a lot easier to get dinner on the table.

And don't forget to sign up for Birthday Club Freebies so that you can enjoy free food on or around your birthday!


Leys said...

That's so funny you posted about this tonight.. becuase we just finally made good on a Free for Kids Tuesday at Green Mill. Seems like the one night that we are out of an important dinner ingredient never ends up on a Tuesday when all the resteraunts are giving out free kids meals! :o) We have a family allowance budget too.
Working on a grocery list now.. might have to try out your homemade yogurt this week!

Stephanie said...

Thank you for posting the Entertainment coupons. We didn't buy one this year as well,but we do like to go out to eat! I have scooped up a few deals through lately, and I will add these to my pile!

Brooke said...

we need to switch to the envelopes for this, but the hubs is big into the 2% cash back the credit card gives us on food purchases.

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