Eating out is a favorite American tradition. Although dining out regularly can get pricey very quickly, it is possible to save money at the restaurant with the right tips. I’m excited to partner with Sears on this post and bring you my best money-saving ideas.From choosing fast casual fare to using the Sears Mastercard, I will be sharing various ways to get your money to stretch farther at restaurants.
1. Take it to go! When you dine at a restaurant, you are likely paying for drinks and possibly an appetizer. Let’s not forget the gratuity, which can be significant at fine dining establishments. When you take food to go, you can bypass many of those extra costs and keep more money in your pocket. You can always whip up a quick salad at home to go with your entree for a fraction of the cost.
2. Choose fast casual! If you’re really excited to eat out, choose a fast casual establishment. At these places, you typically order food at a counter, pick it up shortly after and then sit down at a table. Meals at fast casual restaurants are usually about $7-10 per plate. I have a few fast casual places in my area that I visit regularly.
Note: Fast casual is not to be confused with fast food.
3. Use a cash back credit card! When paying for your bill at the restaurant, use the Sears Mastercard to earn cash back. Eligible purchases made at grocery stores & restaurants offer an impressive 3% cash back. That’s money you can earn from making purchases you would have made anyway! Talk about convenience!
Using a cash back credit card like this is a no-brainer way to make your money go farther when eating out. Although I have several credit cards, I always reach for my cash back credit card! Did you know that the Sears Mastercard is powered by Citi Retail Services, which is one of the nation’s most reputable credit card issuers?
In fact, the Sears Mastercard lets consumers earn rewards points on all purchases they make everywhere they shop. Isn’t that fabulous? In addition to the cash back at restaurants & grocery stores, consumers can earn 5% back in points on eligible purchases made at gas stations, 2% back in points on eligible purchases made at Sears and Kmart, and 1% back in points on all other eligible purchases. Planning on doing any home renovations or making a big purchase? This credit card is perfect for sizable items such as kitchen appliances sold by Sears and Kmart. You can shop in-store, on the store’s website, or on ShopYourWay.com. By the way, these rewards points can also be used in combination with in-store promotions at Sears and Kmart, so your savings can be substantial!
*The Sears Mastercard from Citibank offers 5% and 3% back on the first $10,000 of combined eligible purchases made on gas, groceries and restaurants and 1% thereafter.
With the new Sears Mastercard, customers can earn more Shop Your Way points with no fee for 12 months from the date the account is open. Using a cash back credit card is such a smart way to combine spending money and saving money!
4. Skip dinner! Restaurants often offer time-sensitive savings. One of the most popular promotions is a lunch special. I often find a “lunch special” menu that offers an entree, along with a soup or salad, for a great price at many establishments. It’s usually only offered for 3-4 hours in the middle of the day, but the savings can be significant. Plus, if you’re willing to have an early dinner, you can sometimes still take advantage of the lunch prices around 4-5 pm. You can typically find the same meal offered at lunch (sometimes it’s called the “lunch size”) for a fraction of the cost of the dinner price. Even breakfast is a relatively affordable meal to enjoy at restaurants. A few days ago, I took my daughter out to breakfast before dropping her off at school.
5. Take advantage of birthday perks! Many restaurants offer birthday deals and discounts. To cash in on these perks, simply sign up on the restaurant’s website (this should be free). This is a rewards program that will usually offer a promotion around the time of your birthday. Sometimes the offer will be a free appetizer with entree. Sometimes it will be 20% off your complete bill. Either way, it’s great savings and it’s free!
6. Bring home leftovers! Many restaurants will serve more food than I can typically eat all at once. Rather than throwing away the extra, I usually take leftovers home. This grilled chicken wrap made an easy, tasty lunch for myself the next day.
7. Drink water to save! Did you know that the highest-margin items on many menus are the beverages? A basic soda can be almost $3. Even with free refills, that’s quite a lot for a drink. The prices go exponentially higher if you’re ordering fancier, alcoholic drinks, of course. That’s why I try to order water when I’m eating out. It’s healthy and free!
I hope these tips have helped you find ways to save on your next trip to the restaurant. With some basic planning and preparation, you can still enjoy the experience of dining at a restaurant, while still saving money along the way.
Learn more about the Sears Mastercard with Shop Your Way and start earning points on all of your purchases every day. Now, tell me: What is your best tip to save money at restaurants? Have you experienced the awesome perks of the Sears Mastercard?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sears. All opinions are mine alone.