Well, I didn't follow the menu plan last night as I was able to pick up a quick mystery shop. We were able to go out to a local casual restaurant for 37 cents! The shop picked up the rest of the meal. Even better, there was a playground right next to the shop, so after dinner, we walked over and the kids played for a good hour. Dinner and entertainment for cheap - yeah!
I know I've said it before, but you can go out to eat for very little money. Last night was one example (doing a mystery shop), but I'll give you another from last Sunday. It was lunchtime after church and my DH and I had been craving Mexican. We discovered that Don Pablo's has free kids meals on Sunday. So, armed with our rewards card (a free program Don Pablo's has - just ask the hostess), we headed to the restaurant. We split one meal for $9.99 (one of their sampler plates), ordered a kids meal for the kids to split, and for a treat, two Pablorita's ($2.99 deal). After our $10 award on the card, the free kids meal, our total with tip was $9.52. It would have just been a couple of dollars for tip if we hadn't splurged on the margaritas.
The deals are out there, you just have to look. A few ideas to get you started:
1. Split meals - portions are typically huge and this will cut your cost immediately (and help your waistline) You can always order more if you are still hungry.
2. Use coupons - the Entertainment book is a good source, the newspaper, online searches of your favorite restaurants may generate coupons, etc.
3. Go on special deal nights - i.e. some restaurants have a kids eat free night, an early bird menu or a "two can dine" night.
4. Just order an appetizer and dessert - or maybe just dessert and coffee - this is especially great for inexpensive "date nights"
5. Mystery shop - if you don't mind filling in the reports this is a great way to enjoy a free dinner out!
Any other ideas, please feel free to share - we try to keep our eating out to once/ maybe twice a week, but we do enjoy it and are always looking for a bargain!