How to Save on Dining This Summer

food, dining, restaurantSummertime means sunshine, laughter and good times with good people.  Often these good times include going out to eat with friends and family.  No one wants to miss out on a good meal, but dining out can get pricey if you’re not taking the right steps to stay on budget when you’re out with the gang.  Below is some money saving advice that will help you eat well and stay financially on track.

Buy low-priced gift cards.  Sites such as Restaurant.com offers gift cards for half-off or less.  Keep a few of these in your wallet and you’ll be ready to go eat whenever you’d like.  There are some drawbacks to the gift certificates however.  They are for dine-in only and they’re non-refundable, but as long as you’re smart about which gift cards you buy, you’ll be saving at your favorite eateries in no time.

Use online coupon sites.  Groupon and LivingSocial are two very popular online coupon sites, and for good reason too.  Both sites offer deals that could save you up to 90% at local restaurants.  Check for deals often and you’ll run across some significant savings.

Take advantage of your birthday.  Many restaurants have mailing lists you can sign up for to receive coupons and freebies on your birthday.  Who wouldn’t want to eat for free on their birthday?  Check around online or ask your server if the restaurant has a birthday program.

Follow restaurants on social media.  Following restaurants on Twitter, becoming their Facebook friend, and checking in on apps such as Yelp Check-ins and Foursquare can help you snag great deals.  Many restaurants will offer special deals just for their fans on social media.

Become a regular.  Building a relationship with the servers or owners of a restaurant can often get you little discounts and freebies just for being a great customer.

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