Image courtesy of Laura Henderson
Image courtesy of Laura Henderson

It can be a lovely treat to eat out from time to time and maybe you get invited out sometimes as well. However, it can be expensive easting out, compared to cooking things yourself from scratch and once you add on drinks, puddings and coffees on top of the price of the main course, you can find that it can be rather difficult to afford. However, there are some ways that you can cut the cost, beyond making sure that you choose a cheap establishment to eat at.

The cost of soft drinks can be really expensive and so it can be wise to ask for a jug of tap water, which will be free. This will enable you to have drinks without paying for them. Some people may not like having plain water, so you could order some fruit juice and dilute it down. It is worth comparing the prices of the drinks as well. You may find that there are big differences between the price of fruit juice and cordials, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and lemonade and coke. Consider which drink you think offers the best value for money as you can usually get all of the drinks available from the supermarket at a fraction of the cost. You could even wait to have a drink until you have finished your meal.

Usually food on menus can vary a lot. The starters and sides will be a lot cheaper than the mains and there may be some meal deals, a lunch menu and children’s menu to choose from. If you like small portions and find restaurant meals difficult to manage or are having a pudding then consider a children’s meal. Some restaurants will not allow adults to eat these, but many will oblige and you will get a small version of an adults meal which will cost less. Alternatively you could have a starter and a side which might be cheaper. Sharing meals, starters and sides can be a good way to experience a variety of food without having to pay so much. It is likely that the vegetarian meals and lighter options will be cheaper so these should be considered as well. Skipping starters and having no sides will also have a significant effect on the price of the meal.

Puddings can be really expensive for what they are. Many restaurants will buy frozen puddings such as gateau and cheesecakes and then defrost them, slice them up, add ice cream or cream, a coulis or icing sugar and put a huge mark up on them. Think carefully before you order to decide whether it really is worth the money. It may be better to treat yourself to something like it at a supermarket on another occasion and save a lot of money.

Coffees are also usually really expensive when eating out. Tea is cheaper so worth considering as an alternative. Many people also go back home for coffee so that they can save money by not buying it at all.