You’re fresh out of college, you’ve got a boyfriend and you’re both paying off student loans. This means that unless it’s payday you’re probably feeling broke. But you miss dining out and having a good time, thanks to always running out of cash before payday. What’s the solution?
Dining out is one of the top three things gay men in America spend money on. That means, for those of us without control of our spending, it’s likely a leading reason we’re in debt. When we changed our dining out habits with some of these below tips, we got our spending under control.
Here are three tips on how to save money when dining out:
1. Split your meals.
With places like Chipotle, Garbanzos and Biju’s Little Curry Shop serving larger portions, it’s not hard to find dishes that, when paired with a side, become a meal for two.
Our fav is splitting a burrito bowl with guac and chips and two cups of fizzy water for $14. We find that splitting a meal and a side is filling enough, as these dishes average 1,500 to 2,000 calories. We keep our bottom line and our waistlines in check.
2. Only use cash.
The average person using a credit or debit card spends 12–18% more than if they used cash. When we only use cash, we can’t overspend. With credit or debit cards, if we only want to spend $25 and we see an appetizer and a main dish for $9 and $15 respectively, we’ll get both. This means we’ll spend $24 plus 20% to 25% on tax and tip. Now that $25 has blown to $30.
Do that five or six times a month, and you’ve already blown your budget by $30–$40. Do that all year and you’ve spent an additional $350 to $500 for just one person.
3. Order efficiently.
Finally, order efficiently. We rarely get chicken or spaghetti when we dine out. Like a salad that costs $15 at a restaurant, they’re too easy to prepare ourselves. There’s also no reason to pay a lot for low-calorie/low-nutrition food, like iceberg lettuce. Pasta with a jar of sauce costs $6 at the store and you can whip that up in 15 minutes. To save money when dining out, order efficiently and get your money’s worth.