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5 Ways to dine out on a budget

Eating out often can drain your bank account. But if trying new foods is your passion, you don’t have to give up restaurants entirely if you’re trying to spend less. Here are some ways to enjoy dining out if you’re living on the cheap.

Couple at a cafe

If you’re watching your money (perhaps paying your taxes has drained your bank account, so things are a lot leaner right now), you may have slashed your dining-out budget entirely. But if eating out is one of your favourite things to do, there are ways you can still do it, but in a much more affordable way. Foodies on a budget, you can breathe a sigh of relief: Try these strategies for dining out without shelling out as much money.

Dine out for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner

The first and midday meals of the day tend to be less expensive than supper. And often restaurants serve exactly the same dishes for lunch as they do during their dinner service (so it’s not as though you don’t get the same food experience).

Skip the alcoholic beverages

Alcohol is marked up at a high rate in the restaurant industry, so cutting this out of your dinner bill will reduce the cost of dining out significantly. If you truly want a glass of wine to enjoy with your meal, order one glass only. Otherwise, consider having a nightcap at home as a way to enjoy your favourite beverage at a significantly cheaper cost to you.

Buy group discount vouchers

Subscribe to sites such as Groupon and FabFind, and pay attention to the offers each day. That restaurant you’ve been dying to try may pop up as one of their deals, and you can slash your outlay of cash by a big percentage.

Participate in social media apps such as Foursquare and Twitter

When you check into certain restaurants on apps such as Foursquare, you may get a discount on your meal or a free appetizer when you order a main dish. When you follow restaurants on Twitter, you’ll be in the loop should they have any special nights, such as $1 oyster night.

Dine out during restaurant promotion nights

Hold off on eating out until it is Winterlicious or Summerlicious (a prix-fixe promotional program at participating restaurants in Toronto held twice a year) or during events such as Restaurant Week in New York City, when you can dine at some of the finest establishments in the city for a much more affordable rate.

More food tips

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Get to know chef Lynn Crawford
Dining out on a diet: What to order

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