Tips for Eating Out on a Budget

There’s no greater pleasure in life than getting together with friends and family for delicious food and drinks at your favourite restaurant. We’d all like to do this more often, but it can be costly. The good news is, there are ways we can keep dining out without breaking the bank.

Check out these tips for eating out on a budget so you don’t have to sacrifice your love of great food and drinks!

Time Savings

Happy hour, cheap Tuesday and other weekly meal deals provide the perfect excuse to go out for drinks and food. You’ll be spending less, but still treating yourself. To find the best weekly deals or Happy hour specials in your area, do a quick search online. Apps like The Happiest Hour can help with this, so the only thing left to do is invite your friends and drink up.

Online Specials

Dining out on a budget has never been easier as long as you’ve got an internet connection. A simple Google search for online restaurant specials and coupons will provide you with a huge range of websites bringing the best online specials straight to you.

Some of our favourites include Scoopon, Groupon and Eat Club – a world-first app that works with restaurants to promote last-minute specials in your local area when they’ve got empty tables.

Be Open to New Places

The convenience and reliability of dining at your favourite local haunts is always tempting. However, eating at your usual dining hot spots can sometimes mean you’ll be paying a premium for your meals. Why not try somewhere new? With a little adventure, you could find yourself chowing down on the most flavour-packed Saag Paneer you’ve ever tasted (and at a fraction of the cost of your usual Indian restaurant).


Love to wine and dine? Instead of paying for mark-ups on drinks, look for BYO venues to reduce costs without sacrificing a delicious pairing of French red wine with your Buoef Bourguignon.

Typically, the cost of wine can be marked up anywhere from 120% to a whopping 250% at a restaurant, so there’s no doubt you’ll save some serious cash the next time you BYO.

Ditch the Soft Drink

Trading your soft drink for water is another great way to save money while eating out on a budget. A glass of Coca-Cola can end up costing you another $5.00 on top of your meal, so swap this for water and you’ll find that after 3 or so meals, you will have saved enough money to treat yourself to another restaurant meal.

Do Breakfast or Lunch Instead of Dinner

Research indicates that restaurants face more intense competition for night diners, which means they’ll often have similar dishes available for lunch at a cheaper price the next day. This also applies to breakfast too, so instead of going out for dinner, do breakfast or lunch instead to save money.

Skip Dessert

If you have a sweet tooth, you may think it’s preposterous to skip dessert entirely. But hold that thought! Trade your $15 single-serve of tiramisu for a $5 takeaway ice cream instead so you can satisfy your cravings for a fraction of the cost.

Get Rewarded to Dine In

It really is possible to get rewarded for dining in. How? Apply for a credit or debit card that’s paired with a rewards account to put cash straight back in your pocket. For example, the American Express Platinum Edge credit card will give you 1 point per dollar spent, which is about 0.5% cashback on your restaurant bill.

As you can see, there are plenty of strategies out there to help you eat out on a budget, because life should always be full of good food, good wine and good times.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.