11 Ways to Save Money When You Eat Out

Eating out can be expensive, and for the budget-conscious single person it can be downright cost prohibitive. What if you’re just looking for a quick lunch or an ultra-casual dinner? Should you really have to drain your wallet?

Here are 11 inexpensive food deals that will fill you up without breaking the bank. Quick caveat – most of these are not particularly healthy because most of them are fast food, but if you’re looking for a quick, cheap lunch on the go, they’ve got your back. You can always have a salad for dinner. 😉 Oh, one more caveat – the prices quoted are for my geographic area. In your area they may be slightly more or less.

  1. Wendy’s $5 Biggie Bag. This is a burger, 4-piece chicken nuggets, small fries and a small drink. Sounds kinda small, right? But it’s not! You get your choice of burger from a few selections, choice of dipping sauce for your nuggets, and choice of drink. And the “small” fries and “small” drink are really medium-sized, if you ask me. All for $5!
  2. Taco Tuesdays at Del Taco. You can get 3 value tacos for less than $1.69. Yes, the value tacos are smaller than a regular taco, but depending on how hungry you are, at less than $2 you can afford to go for 6! A meal for less than $4. Add a drink and you’re still doing lunch on the cheap.
  3. Subway 6” Sub of the Day. Every day of the week, Subway has a different sub “on sale” for $3.50. Add a ton of veggies and you’re bordering on healthy. Add chips and a drink and you’ll still be well under $10 for a full meal.
  4. “You Pick Two” at Panera. For $10. There are lots of selections here, from soups to salads to flatbreads to mac-n-cheese. There are even some healthy and low-cal choices. Plus, you get a side, so you’re really getting three things for your $10.
  5. SS&B at Olive Garden. That’s unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks for around $8. Unlimited! It’s really quite the deal. There are four delicious soups to choose from, that amazing salad dressing, and those warm, soft, buttery breadsticks. Is it lunchtime yet?
  6. BOGO boneless wings at BWW. That’s right, on Thursdays, boneless wings are buy-one-get-one at Buffalo Wild Wings. That’s a 50% discount. And with all those delicious sauce choices. Add some carrots&celery and a couple dipping sauces and you’ll still be under $10.
  7. $5 Fridays at Papa Murphy’s. Who doesn’t love pizza on a Friday? Papa Murphy’s deal is a large thin crust pizza with either pepperoni, sausage, or just plain cheese for $5. I add sliced mushrooms and a little extra cheese to mine. Unless you’re inclined to eat an entire large pizza, you’ve got at least two meals here. For $5. (offer not available all times of the year)
  8. Mexican restaurants. Most of them still give you free chips and salsa, and generous entrée portions. You can fill up on the bowl of chips and salsa, then take half your meal home for another time. Two meals for the price of one.
  9. Chinese and other buffets. Always an economical option, especially if you’re really hungry. You get to choose what you want, how much you want, and you pay one flat fee. You can even remain on your healthy eating plan if you’re careful about what you choose.
  10. Fast food dollar or value menus. You can find all sorts of great things on the dollar menu. In fact, after watching my favorite combo go up to almost $9 at McD’s, I decided to check out their value menu. I got a double cheeseburger, two small fries and a drink for around $6. Same amount of food as my “value combo,” but for way less money. They get you with those combo meals!
  11. Apps and rewards programs. Lots of restaurants have daily deals if you download their app. Beware, though, sometimes the deals are so good they have you going there every day. Rewards programs offer less savings, but usually you get every tenth meal free or you earn a free meal after you spend a certain amount of money. This could be good if you’re health conscious and go for the more-expensive salads and other healthy options.
Leslie Kaz, coach for single women

I help single women get from where they are to where they want to be by overcoming their sadness and starting to live their best lives through mindset and lifestyle changes. Contact me to learn how it’s possible to live a single, blissful life.

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