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Surprising Ways to Save Money Every Day

Save Money on Eating Out

Mike Allen, founder of, explains how you can save money by eating out more—really!

  • Call restaurants before you visit to find out if there are any discounts, weekly specials, or deals like "kids eat free." Arriving between 4 and 6 p.m. may qualify you for an "early-bird discount." Some eateries also offer "happy hour," with reduced prices on certain items.
  • Get coupons designed for tourists. Stop by the welcome center or visitors bureau and pick up the local coupon publications. They're often full of restaurant specials, meal coupons, buy-one-get-one-free specials, free menu items, and other savings. Go to restaurant websites and check for printable coupons. While you're there, sign up for promotional e-mail newsletters to get alerts of specials. Follow them on Twitter or become a Facebook fan and you may be offered other benefits as well.
  • Buy a dining certificate. More than 15,000 restaurants participate in's "$25 Restaurant Gift Certificates for only $10" program. There are often coupon codes that can bring the $10 certificate cost down to just $2 or $3!


Originally published in the March 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.