Senior Resources » 8 Thrifty Tips for Seniors to Save Money When Eating Out

8 Thrifty Tips for Seniors to Save Money When Eating Out

Senior couple eating out and enjoying a nice meal in nature.

Eating out is a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family. Not to mention, you get to sit back, relax, and let somebody else prepare your meal! But did you know the average American household spends over $3,000 eating out every year? That’s nearly $300 per month! It goes without saying that eating out is pricey. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make it a little less extravagant. Here are 8 thrifty tips to save money when eating out.


1. Use coupons.

Coupons for eating out.

Coupons. Far too many people underestimate these little guys. Or, more specifically, all the money they could be saving you. In fact, studies show that effective couponing could save your household up to $1,000 per year. Talk about savings! So, next time you have a coupon for your favorite restaurant, don’t just throw it away. Use it! Saving 5 dollars on a salad or steak might not seem like much, but you’ll be glad for those coupons at the end of the year.

Check out THIS website to find printable coupons!


2. Split meals.

Friends splitting a pizza while eating out.

Most restaurants give their customers a lot of food. And while you can rest assured you’re always getting your money’s worth, there’s a thrifty solution. Next time you order a big meal, split it with your dining companion! Not only will you save money, but you won’t run the risk of feeling overstuffed afterward. It’s a win-win for both you and your wallet!

3. Don’t order appetizers.

Senior couple enjoying coffee and sandwiches while eating out.

Appetizers are yummy, and they’re a delicious segue into a meal. However, the average price of appetizers in restaurants throughout the US is $7.10. And while that might not seem like too much, $7.10 can add up quickly if you’re always ordering appetizers with every meal. So, the next time you’re tempted to order some egg rolls or spinach artichoke dip, resist the urge. Your stomach might not be too happy with you, but your bank account certainly will be!

4. Use gift cards.

Gift cards are the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. Most of us receive a gift card or two from relatives around the holidays. While it can be easy to tuck them away in a drawer and forget all about them, don’t let them sit around and collect dust! Instead, bring them with you next time you go to your favorite restaurant or coffee shop and enjoy the savings.

5. Order specials.

Most restaurants offer daily specials, and many times, these specials are actually cheaper than other items on the menu. Of course, this isn’t the only kind of special that might save you money! Oftentimes, restaurants offer early bird specials. According to SocialTables, these discounts typically offer 10-25% off the standard pricing. Sure, this means that you’ll have to eat a little earlier than normal, but we happen to think the savings are worth it!


6. Try buffets.

Who doesn’t enjoy a good all-you-can-eat buffet? From crafting your own custom salad to finishing off your meal with a swirl of soft-serve straight from the ice cream machine, there’s a lot to love about buffets. Another plus of buffets? They’re often cheap and affordable! You can get a drink, a nice entrée, a salad, and a dessert. Make sure that you’re not getting too much of one thing, so you can really get your money’s worth!

7. Only eat out on special occasions.

Most of us eat out at least once a week. This could mean grabbing a coffee from our local Starbucks or swinging by McDonalds to get a burger for lunch. And while it’s okay to occasionally indulge, eating out can really start to add up fast. If you’re a senior living on a fixed income, it’s important to budget and spend your money wisely. Rather than eating out once or even several times a week, make it a point to eat out only on special occasions. Yes, this will be a sacrifice and a huge adjustment, but when you balance your checkbook at the end the month, you’ll celebrate your resolve.

8. Eat out for lunch instead of dinner.

Did you know that lunch portions are often slightly cheaper than their dinner counterparts? That’s right—you can get the same meal for less. Make sure that you check menus before you visit the restaurant to make sure they offer lunch specials. And if they do, take advantage of it! Your wallet will thank you.

Looking for more Thrifty Tips?

If you’re looking for more thrifty tips, then check out these articles:

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Originally published April 04, 2023

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