How to Save Money On Restaurants

How to Save Money On RestaurantsFor harried singles and families, dining out has become a lifestyle necessity. Drive-through fast food and counter service eliminate food shopping and preparation time by providing hot and tasty, if sometimes unhealthy, ready-to-eat meals for people on the go.

But for those on a tight budget, eating out can be costly. And if you are dining in, the time factor may cut into other scheduled activities. Due to high-calorie menu choices and the cost of eating prepared foods, many people are trying to reduce their excursions to fast food and family dining restaurants. Here are a few tips that can help:

Cut Back

You may be surprised to find out the number of meals you eat at restaurants each week. Include coffee stops and purchased snacks. Set a goal to reduce your total prepared food or meal count by a certain amount. For example, if you dine out twice a week, try to cut back to once weekly. You will soon notice significant savings in your budget if you eat at home more often.

Stick To Your Entertainment Budget

When you calculate money spent on food when tied to other activities, like bowling and video rentals, food costs can skyrocket. Look for cheaper ways to have fun and bring a packed lunch that can be fun and nutritious instead of settling for fast food, which, let’s face it, is often greasy and gross. You can also attach restaurant spending to the grocery budget. Set a specific monthly amount for eating out, whether you consider it entertainment or an auxiliary expense to leisure activities, and don’t go over the limit. You’ll appreciate newfound control over food and money, two indispensable commodities.

Exchange Dine-In For Takeout

Sit-down dining often leads to the temptation of ordering beverages, appetizers, and dessert, along with tax and tip, running up a sizable tab. Instead, make a run to the supermarket for rotisserie chicken or pizza. Eat at home with homemade salad and ice tea as you savor the hefty cost saved by skipping the restaurant.

Eat Light Occasionally

Rather than eating out, make it a veggie and dip night with a fun dessert or pack a cooler with sandwiches and lemonade for a picnic. Get frozen custard afterward for a special treat. Soup, chili, and casseroles with tasty bread are more great light meals to enjoy.

Share Meals

Most entrees these days are large enough for two, so share a meal by dividing food in half or ordering two different sides while sharing the main item. You can also use this method with the help of coupons that you can find online at sites like Groupon or at some restaurants’ websites. Use a coupon and split the remaining cost with a friend or family member. You can also share a huge appetizer with bread or a side and skip the large entree to cut the cost.

Eating out doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Try tips like these to continue dining out while reducing the cost of prepared food and perhaps some calories, as well.

Why Digital Options Are So Great for Beginners

Although digital options may remain a secret to much of the world, investors have known about them for the better part of the last decade. Still, despite their largely positive reputation, many people shy away from starting with them because they lack investment experience. The truth, though, is that digital options are for beginners. While other investment vehicles have their advantages, digital options are phenomenal for people who want to start seeing returns immediately.

Low-Barrier of Entry

If you want to make money with stocks, you’re going to need thousands of dollars, at the very least. Even then, most beginners won’t make it past a bad turn or two. The same goes for bonds, which also have turnaround times that make them impractical for beginners who want to see results in the near future.

Digital options are for beginners because you don’t need a lot of money to get started. You could begin right now for $100 and, if nothing else, get a serious feel for what this kind of trading entails. While there are no guarantees, it’s also very likely you could begin seeing some impressive profits, too.

You See Quick Results

We just touched on this a bit, but it’s definitely worth expanding on a little more. Investing in digital options isn’t like stocks and bonds where it usually takes years before you know whether or not you made the right decisions.

That’s not necessarily a reason keep your money away from those vehicles altogether, but if you’re a completely beginner to investing, it will make a big difference if you’re able to learn your lessons ASAP.

Nothing compares to investing in digital options when it comes to feedback. You could make multiple trades in the span of a single day and see where you went wrong and what decisions were spot-on. This is a huge advantage where learning the ropes is concerned.

There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Market

If you know anything about investing in digital options, you know that one reason so many people love it is because you can make money no matter what the market is doing. For those who invest in stocks, the market needs to be moving in a positive direction or they’re often better off selling and moving into bonds. The opposite is usually true, too.

This makes things tough for beginners. If the market is stagnant or trending down, you’re stuck on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity to jump in. You may also start at the wrong time and see your investment budget get completely wiped out.

Digital options mean you can get started and begin learning no matter what the market is doing. Of course, as we mentioned, this is also a big help going forward as you continue making profits in the future.

They’re Fun

Sure, when you consider your options for making money, the level of fun involved may not play the biggest role, but this is a very underrated benefit of trading digital options. Beginners often get bored with other investment vehicles. Bonds are notoriously boring. Stocks can be fun, but most of the time, they involve a lot of analysis and very few trades. Furthermore, you’re sitting on each trade for months at a time (usually a lot longer).

As digital options mature so quickly, they involve more trading. The excitement and adrenaline rush are two of the best reasons – besides the money – to start trading digital options.

If you’re a beginner and have been thinking about digital options, don’t let your novice status hold you back. There are plenty of good reasons to get started with this option right away.

Why One Person Should Never Handle the Entire Household Budget

This is a guest post from Jennifer.

When my husband and I got married in 2011, we were combining two adult lives. We both already had children, jobs and debt. In my case, I’d never shared a bank account with another adult. In my husband’s case, he and his ex-wife had decided to maintain separate finances when married. We opened a joint checking account and start depositing our earnings there and spending from it too.

One of the first purchases my husband made was a $150+ trip to Target. I saw the debit on the account and nearly fell over. With just one small child before I got married, I had never spent that much on a single visit. I didn’t know if I should yell or ask “why.” But then when he arrived home, bags of groceries and household items in hand, I knew he hadn’t been irresponsible. He was just buying what he thought we needed and I wasn’t used to having so many people to feed, clothe and otherwise handle from a caring perspective. We did start talking about our finances more after that day but somehow, without an actual decision being made, I became the “money” person who was in charge of creating and maintaining our family budget.

I watched the accounts for deposits, made mobile deposits of checks, set up automatic withdrawals for bills and handled just about everything else. During the months when money was tight, I stressed. I bounced a check once at the grocery store and was too embarrassed to tell my husband. He later figured it out when he tried to write a check at the grocery store but we were unable to for six months because of the NSF. Even though earning and spending fell equally on both of us, I felt the burden of the budget. When my husband would ask why I was added more freelance work to my plate, I’d say because I liked the project. When we planned family vacations, I’d sock away cash for months and use coupons to make it happen. There was no reason to lie to him, or hide anything. But since the purse string management had landed in my lap, I felt that it was my responsibility to bear it.

That all changed a few years later when I finally asked my husband to handle grocery shopping. I hate doing it and wanted to pawn off at least one financial responsibility. There was a caveat: he had to stay within budget. So he started making meticulous lists and checking sales ads. He put “nice to have” items at the bottom that he’s buy only if he was within budget. He started meal planning. We stopped spending so much on going out to eat and random mid-week trips to the grocery store. We started to actually see more money in our account as a result, and it was such a relief for me.

It was then that I told him all of my financial angst. I explained that having to handle all the money made me anxious. It also made me feel guilty if we didn’t have enough money for something, even though it really wasn’t my fault. I told him I was tired of that responsibility. He apologized and told me he wished I’d spoken up sooner.

I still handle a decent amount of our family finances, from paying pills to savings, but he is an active participant in the process. He knows, for example, how much we spend on utilities in a month now. He knows what we are spending on gas and tolls. He knows to check our bank account and the monthly spreadsheet I’ve made before making any unusual purchases.

It’s made my life a lot easier since he started participating in and giving feedback on our budget. I feel less isolated and less at fault when it comes to saying no to non-essentials. I went to Vegas twice last year for separate girls-only occasions and we talked about how much I could spend gambling or carousing (I skipped gambling and went to see Elton John and Britney Spears instead). I realize now that  I should have never tried to handle the budget alone and that just like everything in marriage, family finances are a partnership.

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