5 Ways to Double Your Meals When Eating Out as a Family

Adriana Velez | Apr 21, 2015 Food & Party

family dinner
If eating out is supposed to be easy, why are we all doing it the hard way? And by hard, I mean we're all going broke from eating out. Ooh, too many jalapeno poppers, onion blossoms and cheesy bread sticks means too few Benjamins in the bank.

According to a study by Sun Trust Bank, a third of American households earning over $75,000 a year admit they're living paycheck to paycheck, unable to put money away in savings, because they're frittering away all their money at restaurants.

So okay, maybe we're not going broke broke. But it does look like we're living large at the expense of preparing for the future. And there will be no jalapeno poppers, onion blossoms, nor cheesy bread sticks in our old age if we aren't saving money now. So let's talk about how you can eat your chili cheeseburger and have it, too. It's all about extending one meal into two.

What are some of your favorite ways to save money eating out?

make two meals out of one

Image © Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock and © Eric Cote/Shutterstock 

  • Work the Salad Bar & Take Home the Rest

    1

    If you meal comes with unlimited access to a buffet salad bar, that's two meals. Fill up today on that salad bar food and take home the pasta dish (or whatever you ordered) as your main for tomorrow's dinner.

  • Divide & Set Aside From the Start

    2

    Most restaurants serve entrees way too generous for the average woman (sometimes man) or child to finish in one sitting. But by the time you finish eating, whatever's left on the plate looks too unappetizingly demolished to take home. So cut your burger in half and move half your fries to another plate at the beginning of your meal. That's lunch for tomorrow, and it's not too ugly to take home.

  • Share More on Date Night

    3

    If you and your spouse have overlapping tastes, ask for extra plates and order one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert and share each. You still get variety, but you're not paying for too much food that ends up getting wasted. Yes, this is something my S.O. and I do -- all the time. Because. Eating out in New York City is REALLY expensive.

    More from The Stir: 5 Simple Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store

  • Pay With a Rewards Card

    4

    Yes, you want to be responsible and pay off the full balance of your credit card every month instead of building up debt. However, it makes sense to use a credit card to pay for your meals if you're earning points you can use later on for something else (like another meal). Ain't no rewards program for paying with cash.

  • Order Family Style

    5

    That's where you order several dishes that everyone eats from. You can either order one or two fewer than you have eaters, or you could order one per person and plan to take a lot of home. Keep reheating options in mind while you're ordering, by the way. What will survive the microwave, and what will not?

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