Split Meals – DFA Tip of the Week – 3/2/2009

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There are many ways to reduce costs in our every day lives, so to help do just that each Monday I will post a money saving “Tip of the Week”.

This weeks tip offers frugal instruction on “going out to eat”.

My wife & I have progressively adopted a few strategies to help us save while dining out at restaurants.  Let me begin by reminding you that if you truly want to save more money, then you need to greatly limit the frequency of going out to eat.  However, when you do eat out there are several strategies to follow to help limit your spending.  I have listed several useful tips regarding eating out in past editions of our DFA Tip of the Week, but today would like to focus on 2 strategies involving how to order meals:

Split a meal

The average restaurant entree feeds you way more food than you need to sustain your energy levels.  This should come as no surprise to you and is something you are most likely aware of.  So why do you continue to purchase and eat huge portions when you know you do not need to?  Simple…because we have been trained to do just that by our culture and the marketing that bombards us every day!  Now is as good a time as ever for you to stop pigging out and paying for it!  Not only will this help your pocket-book, it will help your waistline!

Eat Half & Save Half

What happens if you & your significant other cannot agree on a meal to split?  Simply order two separate meals but plan on taking half of each meal home to have as leftovers the next day.  Certain meals lend themselves to being a good leftover meal candidate more so than others…so order accordingly.  For example, a hamburger & fries will not retain their deliciousness as well as a good stir fry.  My wife thinks I’m gross because I will save the 2nd half of my burger & fries for the next days meal, but I’ll eat just about anything.  She is a little more “selective” in what she will take home for leftovers, so she orders something that will store well and be just as yummy when warmed up the next day.

If you adopt this philosophy when dining out, both your wallet and your belly will thank you.  It forces you to think frugally, and requires you to stop eating when you should and allows you the opportunity to enjoy your delicious meal a 2nd time around.

Click here to see all our past DFA Tips of the Week.

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1 Bob

This is something my wife and I also do. Two points that I find when we do this however. First, I usually order a steak and will bring half back to cut up into a salad. So, I will order a larger steak since its usually just a dollar or two more so that I can get two full meals. The second point that I find is that when you bring it home…. you have to be sure you use it. I have found that the doggy bag/box I bring home can easily be pushed to the back of the fridge.

2 DebtFREEk!

Ha ha, great point Bob! Now that I think about it, how many times have each of us left the doggy bag sitting on the table!

Also to go along with Bob’s suggestion…if you are ordering 2 separate meals and plan on taking home leftovers, make a plan for your leftovers. If you order that big steak, do like Bob and make concrete plans to eat that steak on a salad the very next day.

The longer you leave your leftovers in the fridge, the less likely you are to eat them at all!

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