Making Dining Out Affordable

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So, either don't wait until late to get to the restaurant or bring your own snacks for them to munch before the meal. A small Ziploc bag of carrots and celery will keep them occupied and won't fill them up so much that they will want to skip the whole reason you left the house.

Lose the Brews

Brews like iced tea can cost up to $3.00 per person at a restaurant. This can also include sodas, hot chocolate, milk, juice, and the list goes on. Some can be refilled for free, some cannot. Just order water for free and save your wallet and your waistlines some problems.

Stretch One Meal

There are two ways you can do this. One, you could suggest that everybody try eating only 1/2 their meal. If your kids aren't starving, they will probably do this anyway, due to the large portion sizes prevalent in most restaurants. Now the $5 that you spent on one kid meal has turned into two meals at $2.50 each. That sounds a lot more palatable. This is also a good suggestion for you, as many a restaurant meal tips the scales at 1,000 calories or more, dependent upon your food choices.

Another way you can turn one meal into two is to try ordering one plate and sharing. If you can get your kids to agree on one option, this will probably adequately fill them up and then leave enough room for a small ice cream cone on the way home (if they behaved themselves at the restaurant, that is). Again, this suggestion is good for grown-ups too.

Going in on one plate together will allow your dining partner and yourself to save some money in case you would like a glass of wine or maybe an ice cream cone with the kids. If you don't think it will be enough food for you, try ordering an extra side salad or cup of soup, which are usually priced pretty low. Just be sure to check the restaurant's menu as some establishments do have "sharing" charges.