Making It Count: Saving Some Cash While Dining Out

4 October 2014


When you’re trying to maintain a tight budget, it takes some determination, discipline, and willpower to keep yourself from splurging on a night out on the town. There are many stores and restaurants that want you to spend your money, and when you combine that with some powerful marketing campaigns on television and in print, it can be a real challenge to strictly adhere to your budgetary needs every month.

Since we’re all human, it’s not too surprising that you’ll eventually want to go out every once in a while for a nice meal. When you’re used to a routine where you prepare all of your meals at home every single day, going out to a restaurant every once in a while can be a really enjoyable experience.

However, when you’re adhering to a financial plan, it’s important that you do this only when you can afford to do so – after all, you wouldn’t want to compromise your long term plans to save your money. When you’re planning to purchase a home, a vehicle, or even if you’re trying to save up for your child’s college fees, it can be done with a solid financial plan, but you need to stick to it.

That being said, there are several viable ways that you can have your cake – and eat it, too. Even though that cliché has been said hundreds of thousands of times, it really applies to the message I’m trying to convey here. There are some occasions where you can still spoil yourself while adhering to your budget, and I’m here to tell you that it’s possible.

Speaking from my personal experiences as a freelancer, there have been times when I’ve had exceptionally great cheques, and there’s been occasions where I’ve received payments that would barely cover my bills for the month.

Being a young 22-year-old when I just started to freelance, I wanted to continue hanging out with my friends and maintain a decent social life. It took some months to adjust and learn some crucial lessons about saving my money, but once I got there, I found the perfect balance.

It's nice to go out on occasion and enjoy a nice meal, but it's even nicer to be able to spend your money without regretting it. After all, according to Numbeo, the average three-course meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant costs $60. If you can save up that much without it hurting your budget, then it's time for you to go enjoy a nice meal that you don't have to prepare - or clean up!

At this time, I’m going to discuss some important tips that I still use to this day that help me save some cash while eating out. You can check them out below.

When planning out your budget, create an “entertainment fund”. While you’re embracing a frugal life, take some money out of your earnings and put it aside for entertainment-related purchases, like a night out at a nice restaurant. If you really want to squeeze that penny, try putting $10 of your earnings aside for each pay period. If that’s a stretch, try $5. Either way, it will grow faster than you think.

Reconsider some of your fringe purchases. If you feel that you really need to get that latest video game, movie, or book, reconsider your stance on the matter. Are there still any movies, books, or video games that you have that you haven’t even checked out yet? Rather than spending it on those forms of media, perhaps you should consider putting it into your entertainment fund. After all, those items won’t be going anywhere (and they may even be on sale by the time you decide to purchase them).

Do some research before you purchase your groceries. Check out online flyers before you do your weekly shop. Think about your actual necessities that you need to buy, and try to stay away from unnecessary snacks or frozen foods that you’ll probably try once then leave in your freezer forever – I know I used to do that constantly! In fact, you can find some great deals and coupons right here on Bargainmoose.  

Decide on three possible restaurants that you’d like to try out, then check out Bargainmoose to see if there’s any coupons that can help you save even more! You can find the latest deals and coupons for thousands of Canadian locations here on Bargainmoose. Best of all, we are constantly updating visitors with the latest and greatest bargains!

When you’ve saved up enough, enjoy your night out and remember that you can always save up for your next occasion! Everyone needs to figuratively let their hair down on occasion, and you just can’t go wrong with a night out – especially when you’ve worked so hard to earn that night out by saving your money!

In closing, I hope that these tips can help some of my readers. If you’d like to share any tips on saving some cash while eating out, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Photo credit: Patty O'Hearn Kickham


  • Sue
    Groupon, and other deal sites. Coupon books (ie. Entertainment Book)
  • Ivan C.
    Those also go a long way in helping you save money when you're dining out :)

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