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HOW TO EAT FOR CHEAP AT A PRICEY RESTAURANT

Dining out doesn't have to break the bank.

Your out-of-town BFF is here for the weekend? A vina wants to catch up after work? On a friends trip and you’re starved? The obvious solution in all of these scenarios is to head to a restaurant. Constantly dining out with your gal pals can get pricey, especially when their pockets are deeper than yours. So for those of you with bougie besties, here are some ways to eat for cheap no matter how many stars the restaurant has:

DRINK WISELY

Avoid ordering drinks if you can, whether that be a soda or an alcoholic beverage, because there’s no better way to rack up a tab. Ask for a lemon with your water to make for a more refreshing (and free) drink to sip on. If you know you want to drink alcohol, invite your vinas over for cocktails beforehand, and each have one or two. That way you won’t end up having to order as many at your meal.

GO HALFSIES

Think about how many times you go to a restaurant and end up taking almost half of your meal home, just for it to sit on the refrigerator shelf. If you and your bestie have a hankering for the same dish, just split it. There may be a small split charge, but it will surely be significantly less than each buying your own.

APPS ALL THE WAY

Much like splitting the cost of an entrée, ordering an appetizer can save you big bucks. Often, appetizers are cheaper than full meals, but because they are meant to serve multiple people, they’re usually filling enough for one person. Main dishes that double as hors d’oeuvres on many menus are sliders, quesadillas, and flatbreads. Yum!

LUNCH IT

A friend is wanting to grab a bite after work? Suggest squeezing it in during work. The prices on lunch menus are lower than those on the dinner menu. Added bonus: restaurants are usually busiest during the dinner hour, so enjoy a quieter, lower-cost meal with your vina during your lunch break instead.

SPOT THE SPECIALS

Taco Tuesday, anyone? Listen closely to the specials spiel the waiter gives right after you and your friends are seated. Many restaurants offer daily specials for the same high-quality food at a discounted price, which will make for a satisfied stomach and a fuller wallet.

TWO’S A PARTY

If you can, dine out in parties less than five or six. It’s common now for restaurants to automatically slap on 18% gratuity to your tab if you have a larger group. Although this can be convenient at times, it can bump up your bill more than you want it to. Perhaps the service wasn’t worthy of an 18% tip, or you’re usually a 15% tipper. Dining out with one or two of your closest friends is the way to do it.

Tell us in the comments how you save money even at the swankiest of places.

(Featured image via weheartit.com)

Californian stuck in the Midwest for undergrad. Editorial Intern for VINA. Hiker. Writer. Eater. Nothing beats a well-made sandwich or a well-crafted sentence. You can reach me at annamarie.higley@gmail.com.

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