RacerX at “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Money” has posted the 6 ways he and his wife save money when they go out to eat. Following all of them would make for a noticeably different experience at your favorite restaurant—perhaps more than you’d like. But even adopting a couple of these tips could knock 10% or more off your next fancy meal with the significant other.
Have cocktails at home — He says to have one at home to avoid the restaurant’s crazy cocktail markup. We’re not sure if he means before you go out to eat, and if so, the whole driving-around-with-scotch-on-your-breath approach might not be the wisest choice. There are plenty of ways to enjoy an aperitif or the cocktail hour before leaving your home, however.
Have appetizers at home — “We plan out those dining nights and there is a great little Harry and David store here that has amazing appetizers (Stuffed Bacon Brie! mmm) that just has to be heated up. I will pick it up on the way home the night before, Mrs. X pops it in at the right time and with the drink above and we are half way through dinner before we leave!”
Try the specials — You’ll get to try new things as well as take advantage of dishes the restaurant is trying out.
Drink water, or a single glass of wine, or bring your own bottle — You’ll likely have to pay a cork fee, and wine by the glass is certainly expensive per ounce, but either route is cheaper than buying a full bottle at the restaurant’s high markup.
Pay cash — You’ll be more mindful of the total cost of the evening and stick to your budget.
Have dessert elsewhere — “Have it, but not at the restaurant! Find a great little bakery and pickup some neat little deserts there. Or even go for Ice Cream together! A third the price of having it at dinner!”