Dining out is an unnecessary expense that`s often hard to cut out of a budget completely. Even if you plan for all your meals, an unexpected hiccup in your routine could have you and your family eating at a restaurant instead of at home. If you`re traveling or on vacation, dining out is usually necessary and eats into your travel budget.
If you want to dine out but spend as little as possible, consider using restaurant coupons. With the explosion of electronic media and marketing, restaurant coupons are easy to get online, via email and on your cell phone. Not only will you save money, but you can also use the savings to try new restaurants and to plan your meals while you`re on vacation or traveling for business.
Try checking the websites of restaurants you want to eat at first for coupons and deals. Some restaurants offer coupons if you subscribe to a mailing list, while other eateries have printable coupons on the website itself. If you`re looking for coupons for a trip, check the food and destination directories for the places you`re visiting for restaurant choices and website links.
Another good source of restaurant locations and coupons is the main tourism group or website for the location you want to find eatery deals in. Tourism bureaus often have popular restaurant lists and deals available to encourage travel to a specific area. You may be able to buy a coupon book from the main tourist bureau that has both restaurant and activity discounts.
Once you have your coupons, go over the fine print for each one. While restaurant coupons may offer some significant savings, you must read the limitations and restrictions before use. If you have a coupon that isn`t good on a certain day, for example, plan to use that coupon on another day.
For coupons with minimum purchase restrictions, such as `save $20 on a $100 food bill`, make sure you have enough people with you to hit that amount. Coupons with large minimum purchase amounts can be useful if you`re traveling with a large group or other friends and relatives. You can plan your dinners together with other people to qualify for the discount. Don`t spend extra money just to hit the minimum coupon amount, as this eats into your savings.
Take note of any coupon expiration dates, especially if you are collecting coupons for a trip. If the coupon doesn`t have a printed expiration date, call the issuing restaurant and ask how long the coupon is good for.
Check the menus for any new restaurants you`re planning to visit with a coupon. While you may find a restaurant offering excellent discounts, the savings won`t matter if you don`t like the food offered. Checking menus is especially important if you`re planning your meals for a vacation, since your itinerary and food budget will be affected if you have to find another restaurant at the last minute.