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One way to save money is by eliminating or cutting down on dining out. My family of four has put a limit on dining out to once a week and even with that, we almost always use a gift card, a coupon, or dine at a place where kids eat free.

Where do the gift cards come from?


  • Mostly from doing surveys! I would say that I get about one restaurant gift card valued between $10-$20 each month or every two months. While that doesn’t seem like much, it really does help cut down the cost of eating out.

Where do the coupons come from?


  • The local paper is a great source for coupons. My favorite Mexican restaurant puts Buy One Get One Free coupons in the Friday entertainment section.

  • Both MoneyMailer & Valpak have printable local restaurant coupons

  • Check your favorite restaurant's Facebook Fan page or Website for coupons. You may surprise yourself with what you will find.

  • Go to Groupon to see if there is a restaurant deal in your area that you might want to take advantage of.

  • Entertainment Book. My child’s school sells these every year (so I pay full price), but right now you can get them for 50% off! They are a great source for BOGO coupons

  • You can even purchase Gift Certificates for your favorite restaurants for 50% off or more at Restaurant.com

Which restaurants let kids eat for FREE? Here is a list of restaurants to check out!

Here are some additional tips to help you save money while dining out:


  • Look at the menu carefully (before you go to the restaurant would be great) and pay attention to the cost of appetizers, soups & salad. Do you really need a full meal? If the restaurant gives free bread & you enjoy eating it, you probably could do without a heavy meal!

  • Skip appetizers & dessert. You really don’t need it.

  • Drink water! Do you realize that you are spending around $2-$3 for a soda or tea? Multiply that by 4 and that is the cost of an additional meal!

  • If you have a small child, then you should not have to buy them a meal! Kids don’t eat much & you can easily split one adult entrée with a small child.

  • If you have more than one child, consider splitting a meal between two of them. Often one adult meal is less than two kids meals. Preschoolers can even share a kids meal (just order one extra side).

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