Making Dining Out Affordable

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Choose Restaurants with Kid-Specific Deals

Pick a restaurant where the kids can eat for free, or at least for very cheap. The restaurants listed are chain restaurants, so the specials should be the same for each location. There are many, many more than those listed here, so call ahead and ask when there is a kids' special. Almost every restaurant has one.

Applebee's: 1 kid meal with every adult meal and any additional kids eat for $1.00;

Boston Market: Kids eat for $0.99 cents with 1 adult meal purchase;

Denny's: Between 4 and 10 p.m., 2 kid meals free per 1 adult meal purchase;

Hooter's: Kids eat free during the afternoon and evenings;

IHOP: Monday through Thursday between 4 and 8 p.m., kids eat free (under 12 years) per 1 adult meal purchased;

Shoney's: Kids eat free; and

TGIFriday's: Kids 3 and under eat for free.

Avoid Eating Out Altogether

Try take-out if you don't have the time to cook. You will save on the service fee and it will be easier to supplement the main dish with sides, drinks and desserts from home. More and more restaurants now offer online ordering, so you can peruse the menu at your leisure. If you really just need to get out of the house you can pick up the meal and take it somewhere picturesque. Try a beach, park, or even in the car overlooking a pretty scene while the sun goes down.