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Dine out for less

Everyone knows, dining out is fun, convenient and… expensive. The good news is there are ways to save when you eat out. The key is to recognizing hidden costs. 
Do your homework Ask the wait staff about any specials on food or drinks on for the day. For all you know it’s Mega Margarita Night! 
Do the math Consider a salad instead of an entrée - probably less expensive. Take advantage of less costly food items if you have children. Think about portion size… do you need to eat that huge platter or can you ask for an extra plate and share your meal with your child? And pay attention: a little subtle selling and before you know it you've added cajun shrimp to your salad and made your cocktail a double. 
Coupon The restaurant most likely has a website, and a Facebook page. On either or both if there are specials to be had, that’s where you will find them. Coupon books are another option; they can be purchased for $20.00-$50.00 depending what’s offered. Take note of the expiration dates for the coupons. Some restaurants allow you to use multiple coupons when dining out - as a result you can buy some of the more expensive items for a fraction of the original cost. Ask the wait staff if there are limit on the coupons such as only applicable weekdays, or not from 6:30-8:30pm, for example. 
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on budgeting tools, marketing, saving money, and social media.


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