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Spending Shakedown – Dining, Bars & Cafes

Published on December 1, 2018 2:08 pm, by

Eating out is a popular past time for many people, but it can become very expensive, very quickly. This guide will help you keep a lid on the costs.

Subcategory – Restaurants & Dining

Eating out is lots of fun, and convenient. How good is it to eat without having to clean the kitchen and wash the dishes?

Having said that a break from eating out, can be good for your health – physical and financial. Think about downsizing eating out to take away, or even further to cooking at home.

If you eat out with friends and/or family, there are lots of fun (and cheaper) things you can do and still be social:

  • Progressive dinner – get together a group of friends and do a moving dinner party. Entrée at one person’s house, mains elsewhere & dessert at a third place. It spreads the cost, the mess and is incredibly fun.
  • Gourmet picnic in the park – stock up at the local deli or grocery story, pack an esky and go wild. Don’t forget your picnic blanket and something nice to drink!

For those who want some tips to spend less when still eating out, we have those covered for you too:

  • Eat less! Consider sharing entrees or desserts or even dropping a course. This is often an easy savings of at least $10 per person
  • Find BYO restaurants but be sure to check the corkage fee – if you only have one glass, it might not be worth taking your own bottle
  • Set a budget limit for the period & tally as you go. Once you hit your limit – no more eating out!
  • Look for discounts – there are so many sites where you can find discount at really nice restaurants. To name a few – The Entertainment Book, Groupon, Scoopon & the Fork

Subcategory – Bars & Pubs

Like other Lifestyle categories you have the option of taking a hiatus from Bars & Pubs. If that’s not you, the next best thing is going home with as much money as you can. Here are our top tips to avoid spending regret in the morning:

  • Don’t be in a rush! Check out the menu prices before you purchase and see if it’s less expensive to buy a bottle of wine rather than 3 or 4 glasses.
  • Suss out Happy Hour. Lots of places have an hour or more where the drinks are cheap. Why not get there in time to have your first drink or 2 for sometimes half the price
  • Set yourself a limit for the night, bring cash & leave your card at home. When it’s all gone switch to water
  • Don’t get caught up in rounds. Make a choice early on – you’re either in or out. If there are more than a couple of people – we suggest out. Be proud, say you’re on a budget or saving for something, and you’ll buy your own tonight

Subcategory – Coffee Shops

For some people this category is 100% about take away coffees. For others it’s about sitting down and having a relaxing time that might include a yummy brunch or some coffee and cake.

As mentioned above, in this lifestyle category you can take a break and pocket the money, or you can find ways to spend less when you go.

Some food for thought:

  • Calculate the annual cost of your coffee habit – is purchasing a coffee machine for the home something you want to consider?
  • Can you cut down on 1 cup per day or a certain number per week? How much will that save you?
  • Is it time to check out a different coffee shops – in some places the price of coffee varies by up to $2 per cup (or $3 if you count 7-11)?
  • If you’re eating coffee and cake, check out vouchers in the Entertainment book and just general specials around the area
  • If you’re eating a meal, take a look at Groupon & Scoopon and see what is cheap in the area

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Peter is the CEO of MoneyBrilliant. He has over 20 years experience in banking, insurance and accounting. Peter has three sons, ranging in age from 16 to 3, is a sport and fitness fanatic and a volunteer firefighter. He is passionate about improving people's lives through making financial services more accessible.

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