3 Unconventional Ways To Spend Less At Restaurants

3 unconvential ways to saving money at restaurantsI don’t know about you, but my wife and I always seem to use restaurants as a fall back when we can’t think of something good for dinner.

Using restaurants as a fall back dinner option can get expensive fast, especially if you frequent sit down restaurants or have a family.

Related: How Much Should You Tip At Sit Down Restaurants?

Instead of using restaurants as our fall back option, my wife and I hope to try some of the following unconventional ways to spend less at restaurants.

The whole goal of these ideas is to make dining out a conscious spending choice, not a decision because we can’t decide what to make at home.

Meal Planning

Meal planning is something we’ve done on a very basic level… sometimes. Our new goal is to work on making meal planning easier for us. I don’t know about you, but this is normally how our meal planning conversations go each week.

Tori: What do you want for dinner this week?

Me: I don’t know. What do you want?

Tori: I asked you first!

As you can see, we never get very far and just end up buying odds and ends. Recently, I came up with an idea to change that.

Rather than simply try to come up with meal ideas each week, I’m going to make a book of all of the meals we like to eat. We only tend to remember the things we’ve made most recently even though there are many more meals we enjoy.

Rather than getting stuck in a rut, we can go to the book of meals we like to see what we want. Hopefully this book will grow to be rather expansive over time so we never feel like we’re eating the same things over and over again.

Related: Store Brand vs Name Brand – Can You Tell Difference?

While we’re meal planning for a week or a month, we’ll also keep in mind the local sales fliers for grocery stores. These can both give us ideas for other meals and save us money at the same time.

Hopefully these couple of new ideas help make our meal planning process easier which should also reduce the number of times we go to a restaurant because we can’t decide what we want for dinner.

Individual Freezer Meal Portions

Another option we’re looking into is freezer meals. Basically, we plan to make extra portions of the easily freezable meals we cook.

Since we’ll just have to cook a little bit more than normal, there shouldn’t be any additional work for us to prepare these. All we have to do is set aside a couple of portions in freezable containers.

This should help us out on nights we don’t feel like cooking. Instead of going out to a restaurant, we’ll just have to thaw and warm up our meal for dinner.

It will probably take a bit of experimenting to see what freezes well versus what doesn’t, but some trial and error along with some research on the wonderful internet should be saving us money in no time.

Pre-Made Slow Cooker Recipes

Pre-made slow cooker recipes will take a bit more work, but sound like another good option for days we don’t feel like we’ll have enough time to cook.

All we’ll do is prepare a few freezable slower cooker recipes and pop them in our freezer until the day we plan to cook them. Then, we’ll just put them in the slow cooker in the morning, turn it on and our meal should be ready by dinner time.

Related: Don’t Buy Cheap When You Can Buy It For Life

These three ideas should definitely help us spend less of our money at restaurants. If we follow these three ideas then dining out should be of a more conscious activity rather than just a back up for when we can’t figure out what to cook or eat.

What do you do to try to cut down on those nights where you go out to eat just because it’s easier than cooking? Do you do your own meal planning? Do you ever make freezer meals or pre-made slow cooker recipes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo by: kimeke1 Text added by: Lance Cothern

What I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving

Hello Money Manifesto faithful! Only the most dedicated will be reading the blog today, and for that I wanted to say thanks! I'm super thankful for you for allowing my wife and I to share our financial story with you. Without you, I'd have no ...

Continue Reading...

I Bet You Never Thought Of Black Friday This Way Before

things to remember when black friday shopping

If you love getting deals, Black Friday is the perfect holiday made for you. Unfortunately, many people that work hard to master their finances throughout the year forget everything they've been working hard for on Black Friday. Of course, ...

Continue Reading...

Consumer Reports Made Shopping For Appliances Easier

we bought consumer reports for appliances

My wife and I have been shopping for kitchen appliances for a while now. If you've never shopped for appliances before, it is super frustrating! We decided to buy four separate appliances, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a microwave and a ...

Continue Reading...

No More Traditional Day Job – I’m Self Employed!


It's big news day here on Money Manifesto. Today is the first day I'm not going to my day job. In fact, Friday was my last day of traditional employment, for now at least. Instead of taking a traditional W-2 job, I've decided to venture out ...

Continue Reading...