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Topic: Night Out on a Budget?

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Subject: Night Out on a Budget?
Date Posted: 12/21/2008 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2008
Posts: 1,050
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Do you have any tips or tricks for going out with friends or a date on a budget?

I have found that when I go out with friends, it is much easier for us all to order an appetizer as our main course, then we just share. An appetizer costs about six bucks..a dinner is closer to ten dollars. Every dollar counts! Also, if my DH and I go to a movie, we try to go right after work, before 6:00. Those movies only cost $3, and we don't have to contend with teenagers, cell phones, etc because we are usually the only ones there!

Date Posted: 12/21/2008 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 3/28/2006
Posts: 935
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Stick to water! it costs about $2 for a soda or tea, but water doesn’t cost a penny.

Split an entre.  The servings are so huge at most place that you can't eat it all yourself any way.  You end up getting a full meal at half the price.

 

Date Posted: 12/21/2008 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 798
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I'm a light eater, so DH and I will split an appetizer and I will order a small salad and nibble off of his entree. Kathryn is right....a lot of places have obscenely large entrees, especially pasta dishes. 

Some restaurants will let you order "lunch portions" that are a couple of dollars cheaper and a smaller portion size.  It never hurts to ask!

Date Posted: 12/21/2008 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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If you have children like we do, watch for places that offer kids eat free. It saves us $4-5 per kiddo on average. We also order water . . . I'm not a soda drinker and paying $2-$2.50 for a soda really adds up.

Date Posted: 12/21/2008 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2007
Posts: 3,398
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Try restaurant.com - they offer great deals. Right now you can get $25 gift certificates for restaurants for $10. Sure, it's probably $25 off on a dinner of $40 or more, but it's still a great deal.

Date Posted: 12/21/2008 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2007
Posts: 3,398
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Further!

 

Right now, until I think December 22, the promo code SANTA will get you 80 percent off on all purchases at restaurant.com. The 10 dollar certificates are .60 each, and the 25 dollar ones are 2 bucks. They all have caveats - they are different for every restaurant - like the 25 dollar one I got stipulates that you must spend 35 bucks and/or purchase 2 entrees. But that's not bad, considering there is 25 bucks of free in there.

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 6:27 AM ET
Member Since: 6/18/2008
Posts: 1,050
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Rebecca, I have tried that website before. It pops up a list of restaurants in my area, then quickly cycles to another page saying there are no restaurants in my area. I'll give them another try. And $25 off a $35 dinner is a great deal, because it is getting harder and harder to go anywhere for dinner for less than $35!

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2007
Posts: 3,398
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I bought two coupons off them earlier this month and had no problem. Maybe it was a glitch?

Subject: coupons
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 5
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We try to use coupons for both dinner and a movie.  We can get discount movie tickets at costco or thru the entertainment book.  For dinner, we save coupons from the mail or entertainment book - either a buy one get one free or free appetizer.  When we take the kids, we only go on kids eat free nights.

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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If I cannot get away with sharing a dish with someone, I will then order a larger meal so I can save the rest for another meal and then its not so expensive.  When I go out with my girl friends we try to order something hubby will like and that way I can bring it home while still rather fresh and he too gets a nice meal.  Grab the bread or left over salad too.  At olive garden I get a pasta dish, I can only ever eat half so I take home the breadsticks and left over pasta for the next dinner.

Chinese food, get the boiled rice, steamed vegies and another dish, that way if you have left overs you can fried them up the next night to make fried rice :).

Water, I have found alot of places serving bottled water rather then glasses of water so you have to pay for it. Make sure to ask for non bottled water.

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
Posts: 188
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Also check the website of your favorite places, they often have discounts, coupons etc. For example, I work at Red Lobster and if you register on our website (for free) you get coupons for 3 or 4 dollars off 2 meals every so often and on your birthday you will get a coupon for a free appetizer or dessert. We also own Olive Garden, Longhorn steakhouse, Capital Bar and Grill, Bahama Breeze and Smoky Bones(if there are any still open!) so I imagine they may have similar deals. My BFF is signed up for a five dollar movie club ( Kerasotes?) that I am pretty sure was a free sign up on their website.

Date Posted: 12/23/2008 8:40 AM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,287
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If you are a Triple A (AAA) member they offer many discounts such as movie passes, museum passes, etc. 

Check your local library for passes to nearby places too.  Many will let you get in free or for a reduced rate.

If dining out try to go and eat earlier.  Not only will it be less crowded but often they have an 'early-bird'special.  Or, if you are going with another couple why not have a 'pot-luck' meal first and then go out for the entertainment?

 

Date Posted: 12/23/2008 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,175
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Maybe you can go in with a friend on an Entertainment book (www.entertainment.com). Right now, they're dropping in price as the year comes to a close. Most of the food is bogo so at a restaurant, it doesn't really pay if you go by yourself. Whereas with a friend, you pretty much get 50% off your check if you split it.

Date Posted: 12/24/2008 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,537
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I rarely go out to dinner.  Last time I did, I took the extra home with me and it was still enough for lunch for 2 days.  Not bad to get 3 full meals out of one entree.

Date Posted: 12/24/2008 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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Last Edited on: 1/13/14 12:40 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2006
Posts: 1,069
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Like AAA that has already been mentioned, various restaurants will give discounts to AARP members also.  And if you are a senior citizen,  many restaurants will give you a discount , specials menu selections or free items.

Date Posted: 1/9/2009 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 56
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Go to a restaurant that is BYOB, and bring your own.

Six dollars for an appetizer & ten dollars for an entree is a pretty good price, in my opinion.

 

Date Posted: 1/9/2009 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
Posts: 497
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Brandi -- wow $3 for a movie?!!! I haven't seen those prices in years. We pay $8 for a matinee.

My biggest movie saver is anything to not have a babysiter. So, when my folks come to visit we go out. Or, we'll go out to lunch instead of dinner, or meet for an early drink before picking up our son.

I also use some of my credit card points for restaurant gift cards.

Date Posted: 1/10/2009 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2006
Posts: 3,201
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One other thing is that  if you are going someplace you know they serve large portions and you are like me and have a child that does not eat much....

Order whatever you are going to order and just ask for an extra plate for the child. One Mexican place we go to has huge portions. I will share with my daughter and still have some to bring home. Our favorite Thai place also has big portions so I will order an entree with some extra rice and share that with her.

I hardly ever order her her own meal because she does not eat much at one time.

Date Posted: 1/10/2009 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2006
Posts: 3,201
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oh yeah, wanted to mention that IHOP does kids eat free every night. We went there one night not knowing that and were pleasantly surprised.