ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - One of the biggest budget-busting expenses we have is eating out. On average we spend more than $230 a month eating out. Annually, that's nearly $3,000. That's a lot. Now add in your spouse. It's more. So this is a good place to cut back by reducing your dinner tab - a little here, a little there. I'll show you how to cut that bill in half.
First, before you head out, eat an apple. Apples will make you feel full. And it's good for you. When you get to the restaurant often freebies that come your way. Eat them. The chips. The bread. Now that you're no longer starving, look at the appetizer menu for smaller and less expensive choices. If the lunch menu is available at dinner, try that.
Alcohol is where they really get you. A bottle of wine might be $10, but that's also what they charge you for a glass. See if you can bring your own bottle. It's worth asking.
Or, here's another way to cut alcohol costs. Let's say you like two glasses of wine at dinner. Get one and a side of club soda. Thin your wine out a bit with bubbles and get two drinks for one.
But here are three more ways to cut the cost of eating out. Split an entree or at least split with yourself and take the other half for lunch the next day. Skip dessert. Have ice cream when you get home. And speaking of ice cream split a large portion. It's cheaper to split a large into two dishes than it is to order two small cups.
In these examples, let's say your entree is $12, two glasses of wine are $16, and dessert is $6. That's $34. Now subtract dessert, and one glass of wine and get an app instead of an entree. You've now cut that bill in half, literally, in half.
And if you have time, get a restaurant gift card before you go. Here's where you can maybe get another $10 off. It's often, say $40 for a $50 card. That's ten bucks in savings.