Dining out can be a fun family activity; it can also be a huge drain on the budget. In our family, eating away from home is reserved for special occasions. The days are gone when sharing a plate between two people was the only way to save money. T
Thankfully, there are now many ways to save money while enjoying a meal out on the town:
- Most restaurants serve lunch specials until 4:30 in the afternoon and also offer discounts on "early bird" dinners. Taking advantage of these specials can save as much as half off the bill.
- Many family-friendly restaurants have a night per week when up to two children per paying adult can eat free.
- Coupons for dining out can be found not only in the Sunday paper and on websites such as Groupon and Living Social, but also by signing up for e-mails with favorite chain restaurants. These restaurants often send e-mails containing valuable coupons for birthdays and anniversaries and during special promotions.
- Check restaurant.com for participating restaurants in your area. Coupons often go on sale for as little as $1 for a $25 coupon. I've used them several times with no difficulty, though you'll want to be sure and read the fine print.
By planning ahead, restaurant dining does not have to be a bottomless pit for your pocketbook.
- Planning a wedding? Here are 12 Things Your Wedding Can Do Without.
- Hamburger is a staple in the modern diet. Try this trick to save time and money when the family wants to know: "What's for dinner?"
- Have some great ideas to share? Submit your article ideas for Molly Green Magazine.
- "Find" money with these yard sale tips and tricks!
- Midge is in the kitchen. And, she needs a new bain-marie. Find out what happened.
Saving At Home - Benefits of Eating In
The alternative to eating out is, of course, eating at home. But, the benefits extend far past the money you can save. Passive Family Income shares 8 Benefits of Eating at Home - Other than Money.
| Peanut Butter Cookies
One of my favorite money-saving tricks while eating out is to skip dessert. These Peanut Butter Cookies from my cookbook In the Kitchen With Molly: 12 Weeks of Frugal Meals are sure to tame the sweetest tooth frugally.
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Additional granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the granulated and brown sugars, butter, and peanut butter until well-mixed.
- Beat in the honey and the egg until well-blended.
- Combine the remaining ingredients and mix them in, beating until a soft dough forms.
- Shape the dough into small balls about 1¼ inches in diameter. Place the balls about 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Flatten the dough balls with a fork in a crisscross pattern. Dip your fork into the additional sugar before flattening.
- Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and cool for one minute before removing the cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.
You can find many more delicious recipes in my cookbook In the Kitchen With Molly at the Schoolhouse Store.
|The April Issue is HERE!
Dear Molly Members,
I sure hope you've all visited your Member Pages and logged in to download the new April Digest. We're very proud of the new look and hope you enjoy it as well. (Just click the "Magazines" link and you'll find it at the top of the list.)
If you're not a member, we'd love to have you join us. For only $3.85/mo. you receive each new magazine as it hits the shelf (retail price $4.95), as well as all my back issues. Plus, you'll find a surprise E-book in your account after every 60 days of membership!
The Art of Dining
Teaching table manners begins with learning not to throw our food. And, often there it stagnates. The art of dining has been lost in the modern age to the convenience of eating. Rediscover dinner this week using these tips:
- Make home made place mats to teach basic place settings to children.
- Table manners are made easy with these non-negotiables.
The Coupon Craze
The wait is finally over! Molly Green Magazine is here.This inaugural issue is filled with loads of couponing strategies and money-saving tips. You'll be able to find this issue in our new store (or your member pages, if you're a member).
- Repurpose a cork board in to "Coupon Central."
- Feed a family of four to six for less than $20.
- Teach your children to coupon.
- Create your own in-home spa.
- Discover home pet care for less.
- Learn how to shop the big-box stores.
Grab this issue up or save money and subscribe.
Dining Out Disaster
The last time my husband and I went out to eat, it was a disaster. On our way to a nice restaurant, the baby fell asleep in the car. We took her into the restaurant in her car seat and were relieved to find a short wait. What we didn't know was that there was a bridal party in the back of the restaurant and the flu had sickened two of the employees for the evening.
We waited for a seat for 15 minutes, and then it took over an hour to get our food. All of the booths were full, so they put us at a table for two in the middle of the room. Sarah, my sweet daughter, woke up by this time and was hungry. Not wanting to feed Sarah in the middle of the restaurant, we ended up getting our food to go and eating in our car while I nursed.
The bill for the evening out was about $40 plus tip. I kept thinking about how much money we wasted. I could have nursed Sarah at home and eaten a quiet dinner with my husband for a lot less money and stress!
We determined that our next date night was going to be different. Before we had Sarah, we could afford to go out twice a month to a nice restaurant. But now, we knew that paying $40 to $50 for an occasional night out was going to be tough.
- Find and save coupons to our favorite restaurants; I heard www.groupon.com is a great place to start looking!
- Share a meal, save the expense.
- Enlist my mother-in-law to watch Sarah.
Molly, I truly treasure every moment with Sarah, but having one-on-one time with my husband is a gift I am looking forward to! Have you ever had a dining-out moment like our night? What did you do when disaster struck and you were out with the husband and kids? How do you save money when going out to a nice restaurant?
Thanks for all of your help!
Watch Econobusters.com this week to read Molly's reply. To hear more from Midge, be sure and visit us at every Thursday!