Tipid Tips: 8 small ways to make you save BIG when dining out
Eating out is one of the most rewarding things you can treat yourself to -- after a sad day, getting a raise, celebrating something special, or just because you're hungry and don't want to cook (or can't cook to save your life). Our current millennial situation of foodies everywhere we go, snapping those #foodporn, and sharing everything they ate is really adding more fuel to the fire, our appetites raring to leave the confines of our homes and office space to explore delicious territories.
But hold up -- input of grub means output of cash. And while appetites can grow bigger by the minute (really, all the food photos aren't helping), our wallets can't always keep up with the pace of spending. As with eating, spending your budget should be balanced well, and saving up for something bigger in the future is more rewarding. With some patience, research, and resourcefulness, though, you can still be a true foodie while making 'tipid.' Yes, it's possible to save big and still eat well. Hungry and ready to save? Here are small things you could do that would make you a pro in saving money when you plan on eating out.
1. Split the bill.Generous souls who tend to forever treat everyone they're having a meal with should know that it's completely fine to split the bill. It's called Going Dutch, and the fact that there's a term for paying for your part of the restaurant bill should reassure the hungry that they need not go broke in order to enjoy dinner with friends. Pro tip: there are apps to help you split the bill accordingly if you're allergic to math and counting.
2. Order set meals.Set meals are an awesome way to taste a little bit of everything without having to cash out a lot of money. Fast food outlets have these, and even more luxe restaurants offer these meals as an 'executive meal' or 'prix fixe' where different dishes and food are individually portioned, then set together at a fixed price. Diners save in this case, as ordering each item a la carte would be more costly. Perfect option for lunch and dinner meetings, and even dates, these set meals are also upgraded when you're dining as a big group -- check out your favorite restaurant's family or barkada meals to get good bargains for a bundle of different dishes.
3. Skip the drinks.
When hunger is priority, then food is what must be ordered first and foremost: drinks can easily cost you P100 per order, and imagine how much you spend in a week if for every meal you had to get a glass of soda when their complimentary glasses of ice cold water will quench your thirst just as well? Yup, that's quite a lot. So remember to save the special beverages for special occasions.
4. Check group buying sites.
Everyone loves a good deal, and for huge ones, just log on to the popular group buying sites that regularly offer big discounts on dining destinations. Go online to visit sites like metrodeal.com, ensogo.com.ph, cashcashpinoy.com, or dealgrocer.com to browse through their many offerings -- just remember to note the locations and promo periods of every enticing offer so you can plan ahead when and how to get there.
5. Pick the right time.
Some restaurants, especially those offering buffet, have special prices on certain hours of the day. Eat-all-you-cans are cheaper during lunch than dinner, and for some establishments, 'slow hours' which is the period in between lunch and dinner is their time to offer promotions such as discounts on food or 2-for-1 specials. For example, Sambokojin has a beat the clock promo wherein you pay for only P499 (regular price, P649) if you finish before 12:30PM on weekdays! And for baked goods, some cafes and other bakeries offer their treats at a good price just before closing time so they can unload surplus and bake fresh batches for the following day. Ask your favorite bakery about these promos.
6. Join a loyalty program.
Customer loyalty is rewarded by restaurant frequency diner cards. For some restaurants, certain number of visits gets you a drink, dessert, or even a meal--absolutely free! Keep all your loyalty and frequency cards tucked safely in your wallet, and keep in mind the proximity of these restaurants to where you're most often located (your neighborhood or office area). Prioritize these places especially when on a tight budget, since they also prioritize you!
7. Read before you dine.
Do your research! With restaurants sharing all important information about them across many websites and mobile apps, there's really no excuse to being uninformed about an establishment's price range, menu items, and customer reviews. This way, you can plan ahead what looks interesting to order that will fit within your dining allowance for the day.
8. Follow restaurants on social media.
Follow your favorite restaurants on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so that you will get first dibs on exclusive deals and promos. Some establishments post promos that are social media exclusives rather than in-store, such as a re-gram Instagram promo or saying secret codes to your server to get a treat -- these insider tips aren't promoted in-store, so stay connected with your favorite restaurants through your social media accounts.