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    Deal GURU rtebalt's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    outside Philadelphia, PA
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    Default 6 Easy Tricks to Trim Your Dining Out Bill

    Let’s face it: sometimes a night out as a family or a couple is a required, sanity-saving escape from the norm. But eating out can also be an eye popping experience once it comes time to settle up the bill. You don’t have to break the bank in order to enjoy a meal out, or skip it altogether. Leave your belly and wallet full using these tips and tricks:

    Divide and conquer! Many restaurants serve huge portions that are far more than any one person could (well, or at least should!) consume in a single sitting. Consider sharing a meal with someone at your table. Simply ask your waiter to have the meal divided onto two plates, or ask for an extra plate when the order comes.

    Nix the alcohol. Nothing can send your dining bill soaring like a few alcoholic drinks. Opting for a non-alcoholic beverage will ensure you don’t feel the pinch when it comes time to pay the check. Order tap water (always free!) or soda with free refills. If dinner out simply doesn’t feel right without a glass of wine, remind yourself this—a couple glasses of wine may be the difference between feeling fine about springing for dinner out, and feeling like it’s not an okay expense.

    The early bird gets the worm. Some eateries offer early bird specials. And no, they’re not only for “The Golden Girls.” Inquire with your favorite establishments to see if they offer lower prices for coming in early. Or, consider dining out for lunch instead of dinner. Most restaurants switch to a dinner menu after 4pm, which is often simply a higher priced version of the lunch menu.

    Kids eat free. Some restaurants offer kids nights where children eat for a reduced price (and sometimes for free!). Check out your favorite haunts to see if they offer such incentives. Or check out

    Clip coupons. Restaurant coupons abound online and in your Sunday newspaper. In fact, RedPlum has found great dining discounts in your area, posted in the column to the left. Thinking about traveling and wondering what deals are available? No problem – simply scroll to the top of the screen and select the button that says “change location”. Enter the zip code of your final destination and we’ll find restaurant offers to fit your needs.

    Go with a Gift Certificate. Now this is a really great deal! RedPlum offers a $25 e-gift certificates to literally thousands of great restaurants for only $10! And some restaurants offer even deeper discounts. In the left column of this page scroll down to the Gift Certificate section to see participating restaurants in your area. Follow the instructions for purchasing a gift certificate and print it out. Just be sure to read the fine print – some restaurants have restrictions, such as validity on certain nights of the week or minimum number of meals to be purchased.

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