6.29.2012

Eating Out - For Under $10

Face it! Everyone enjoys eating out sometimes, even if fast food is unhealthy. The temptation to forget cooking and splurge big time seems especially strong during the summer. How is eating out possible on the smallest of small budgets with multiple children? Here are some tips for obtaining a special treat now and then, without wreaking havoc with the budget. Hopefully they are arriving in time for some weekend fun.

  • Find out which eating establishments offer kids eat free nights or reduced children's meals. Way back when, when our family lived in a larger town, and my husband worked out of town during the week, my four children and I were able to eat out for a smidge under $5 by taking advantage of $.99 kid's meals.
  • The kids and I could also have pizza and pop for less than $7 by purchasing a $5 pizza offered on Wednesday nights only and filling a large refillable mug offered at the local quick stop to the rim without any ice. Refills were less than $1 and the large mug was the equivalent of an entire pitcher. We would take our goodies home enjoying the challenge of having eaten out for so much less.
  • Restaurants frequently offer coupons. Keep an eye open for coupons that work best for your personal situation. If you spend money you wouldn't normally spend to use a coupon you wouldn't normally use, then you have NOT saved money. You have merely spent it in a new and different place. Buy one, Get one coupons are particularly helpful, especially for a couple eating out.
  • Websites for eating establishments also offer special discounts and deals. Don't forget to include your favorite spots in your internet searches.
Even though the prices listed in the tips are from approx. 10 years ago, I have seen similar prices being offered currently. Another thing to remember is that our trips out on the town were not taken regularly. They were special, once-in-a-while events. Viewing treats such as these as something special instead of a normal occurence make even the simplest of meals fun.

Another benefit of our excursions was that our children learned early that an abundance of finances is not necessary for having a good time together. Our fourth and second graders were also able to hone their math skills by figuring out how much we could get for our money.

What a sense of accomplishment our fourth grader experienced when she gently, but firmly, inquired of a clerk why she was being charged more for a refill than her brother had been charged the week previously. She learned independence, responsibility, how to be respectful and sweet while conducting business. All of these traits have served her well.

As with all things, keep an ear and eye open for "out of the box" methods. The saying says "Where there is a will, there is a way." Often this is true. Rather than allowing a tight, practically non-existent budget to shut down summer fun, embrace the challenge of enjoying each day in every way possible.

Oh yes! Public libraries usually have classic movies available for checking out. Often they are available free of charge. What a great way to end a pizza and movie night! Eating Out - for under $10. Yes, it is possible.

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