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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Going Out to Eat Without Breaking the Bank!

By Rachel H

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite thing to do is to go out for a meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee (even though I don’t drink coffee) … you name it. I love the atmosphere, the food, and the fact that someone is serving me! We have gone out to eat as a family ever since our kids were born. If you love eating out as much as I do, a word to the wise is to start them young! If you take them out enough, they learn very quickly how to act in a restaurant and you won’t have to give up something you love because you are afraid of your child running into the waitress or climbing across the table.

Of course the downside is that going out to eat can get very pricey, especially when you add in kids’ meals, drinks, appetizers, and the tip. Since I am not willing to give up my only vice, I’ve had to find ways to dine for less. Here are a few of my favorites…

Go to All you do is type in your zip code, and all participating restaurants in your area will pop up. Then you can purchase $25 or $50 gift cards for as little as $10 or $15! Once you buy some, you will get on their email list and they will send you specials. Last month I got a $25 gift card for Hutch & Harris for just $4.00!!! I got a $25 gift card for Prissy Polly’s for $4.00 as well. The only catch is that there is usually a minimum you need to spend at the restaurant to use the gift card. The one for Hutch & Harris, was a minimum of $35, which is no problem, but Prissy Polly’s minimum was $50, so we’ll probably use that next time we have friends over and get a bunch of BBQ to go! You print these gift certificates out from your computer at home. It is also a great way to try out some new restaurants that you normally would not visit.

Another online coupon site is It works similar to the website I described above and it also includes printable coupons for area attractions.

Another way I save is that I always buy an “Attractions” coupon book. You can pretty much buy these from any child in school because they are probably selling them for their school fundraiser or a sport they play. This book is full of buy one get one free coupons for many restaurants in your area as well as many stores and children’s venues. If you have somehow avoided getting harassed by your friends to buy one, you can also purchase one online here. Greensboro & High Point areas are in the Piedmont Triad Book, and W-S, Kernersville, Clemmons areas are in the Western Piedmont Book.

And last, but not least, always check TSP’s Kids Eat Free blog. There are plenty of places in the Triad where you can dine out, purchase an adult meal, and get your child’s meal either at a discount or for free. This blog is always accessible by clicking the “Most Popular Posts” pink button on the right of the website, or you can find it under the Categories on the left-hand side of the website. Click on Restaurants, Food, or Saving Your Wallet. Always call ahead first to make sure they are still honoring the Kids Eat Free night. If you find any that have changed, please leave a comment at the end of the blog.

So toss aside those oven mitts and spatulas tonight and take the family out! What tips do you have for Dining Out on a budget? Share them below!

Don't forget to register for our October Giveaway - a $250 package from Zoe Zen Photography. Click here to learn more about Zoe Zen and register.


Allison T said...

I reference the Kids Eat Free blog all of the time. Love that blog! Thanks Rachel - great sites.

Laura Renegar said...

Awesome. I love a good deal. :)

MissPriss, Sr. said...

This may be an obvious tip but if you have a favorite place that you go to often, sign up for their emails. They will often send out coupons.

Ashleigh said...

The Entertainment book rocks! Everyone should have one :)

Anonymous said...

The Attractions coupon book is the best for W-S. they are 25$ each but we keep track of how much we save and it's usually at least 300$. I have bought 2 books for the past 2 years!

Kelly G. said...

My kids are 2 and 4. One thing I like to do is to split one adult meal for them. Tonight, for example, we went to Arthur's for our anniversary (I know, we are swank, aren't we?) and the kids wanted fried shrimp, so I ordered an adult plate with coleslaw and fruit. They both had plenty and it was less than two kids' meals.

Another tip I have is that almost all places will substitute sides, even if a meal comes with standard sides. I always order fruit and a vegetable if I can, even if the meal comes with fries.

Andrea said...

This info ROCKS! Thank you. I have a friend coming to town today and I've already purchased two dining coupons! Fantastic!!

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