Going Out to Eat: If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em!

I’m ready to admit it. I’m pretty much a terrible PF blogger.


I still pay for TV service.

I pay for a gym membership every month.

I pay someone to clean my house.

I like to eat out.

There I said it. I LIKE TO GO OUT TO EAT!

As much as I’ve talked about how to cook for one and how to save on groceries, I still like to eat out even though I’m in debt (and apparently I’m not the only one).

Now don’t get me wrong. I like to cook and eat at home most of time, plus it can really save you a lot of money and make your meals healthier. But I still eat out probably 2 times each week with friends or family. The reason you haven’t heard a lot about this is that I don’t really budget for it with my FT job’s income (which is the only income I use in my budget reports). I pay for my eating out with my PT job or side hustle income.

Even though I like to eat out (and do so regularly), I do try to keep it as frugal as possible without ruining the enjoyment of it. Here are a few things I do to help cut down on eating out costs:

Go Out for Lunch

I try to go out to lunch rather than dinner with my girlfriends as often as possible. Lunch is so much cheaper! At my favorite restaurant, the portions on the lunch and supper menu are the same but the lunch menu is about 25% cheaper. If we absolutely can’t go to lunch and end up out for supper, I usually try to order something they have on special, or I politely ask if I order off the lunch menu. Sometimes they say yes and sometimes they don’t, but it doesn’t hurt to try!

Split Meals or Take Home Leftovers

One really good place to eat in my hometown is a locally owned coffee shop that also serves different dishes for lunch everyday. It’s delicious, moderately priced, locally owned, and filled with homemade food. The best part about this place is the portion size – they are huge! Usually I split a meal with my friend or I take 1/2 of my lunch home and eat it for supper that night. Two meals for the price of one!

Skip the Drinks

Another way I cut down on the cost of eating out is to skip drinks with my meals. At my lunch dates I don’t get pop. I just order water, which is complimentary.

Skipping alcoholic drinks will save you even more money than skipping the soda, but sometimes I splurge on one alcoholic drink with my meal. If I decide to do this I order mind fully. For instance, the mexican restaurant’s margaritas are $8.50 while their daiquiris are only $4.25 so I always get the daiquiri if I decide to order any alcohol. Skipping alcohol with my meal isn’t usually a problem because my friends and I will often go home and have some wine or homemade daiquiris or margaritas instead! 🙂

Do you like to eat out? How do you make it cheaper?

About Kayla

Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.


  1. I am also having a hard time to cut back on the eating out part – but I just try to make sure that I will be doing it as cheap as possible. What I like to do is to take advantage of happy hour prices. If you do your research, some places really have good cheap prices for their meals at a certain timeframe

    • That is a good point! I like to go to a certain bar and grill here in my town that has Taco Tuesday. $.75/taco and you can get a beer for $1! I don’t go every week, but it’s a pretty cheap meal.

  2. You know, there’s something to be said on going out with friends and enjoying their company. Sure, you can have a potluck or something like that occasionally, but there’s also different types of atmospheres depending on where you go. If you’re technically investing in relationships while eating out (and have the funds to do so), then enjoy it! It sounds like you’re keeping the cost in mind, which is the most important part.

  3. Giving up eating out is almost impossible for me, I feel! My fiance and I love going out to eat and trying new restaurants. We save by splitting our meals and finding coupons for everything.

    • I can’t give it up either! Glad you like to try and keep it cheaper though by using coupons and splitting meals. 🙂

  4. My friend and I have started buying daily deals to local restaurants to save on dinner or lunch. We scored on the last one — we each paid $15 (before taxes/tip) for a flight of three wines (each) and a shared tapas plate that had lots of yummy options and left us both full. I calculated the savings later based on the menu prices of everything we consumed and determined our wine flights were essentially free.

  5. I only eat out once every week, but I can actually save money by doing so. I always have a lot of leftovers and eat them for a few days, so that $8 curry from the Thai place might last me another 3 meals, meaning I only paid $2 per meal. I love my own cooking, but it’s nice to have something I typically wouldn’t make and to share a meal out with family or friends.

    • That sounds like a good reason to eat out to me! I like to eat out too, but my fave place is about $15-16 and I don’t get another meal out of it 🙁


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