A few days ago, we found a deal on Cravor for a new downtown restaurant. The Bull Market is a stock-market inspired restaurant with a pretty neat menu and great location. Last night we checked it out. We enjoyed the sliders with tasty fries and a unique twist on quesadillas – chicken, goat cheese, and strawberry salsa. I had a blueberry margarita that was sweet and refreshing. We ended up getting $8 off the bill by using a Groupon that gave us $20 to use for only $12. Looking forward to trying more restaurants with deals. Keep you posted!
Restaurant deals are a great way to save money. Another dine-savvy tip is to sign up for rewards programs and earn points at participating restaurants. Over the weekend, we took a trip about three hours north to Cocoa Beach, FL. We searched for restaurants offering deals in the area and checked reviews. We decided on a sports bar for dinner called Sandbar Sports Grill. The restaurant is affiliated with a number of rewards programs, such as those offered by airlines and hotel chains. What a delicious decision. I had the gator tacos which were just amazing. I paid the check with my credit card linked to Free Spirit Dining and earned some valuable airline points! I definitely recommend signing up for dining rewards programs, especially if you eat out a lot. For foodies like us, it’s a no-brainer! Below is a photo of the entrance of this unique place. If we’re ever back that way, we’ll be visiting again!
Sometimes the hardest part about being on a food budget is going out to eat with friends. You don’t want dampen the mood by discussing how much you can spend (and then concluding that it will only get you half an appetizer and some ice water). So I discovered that this is one great time to use a restaurant deal. The benefits are twofold: you get to stay on budget and your friends get to save some money too!
Here’s an example from this week. Two friends and I decided to go out to lunch. We knew which area we wanted to go, so I checked out some nearby restaurant deals. I found a great sandwich place with a mouth-watering name – Daily Melt Grill – and a wallet-friendly deal! Pay $12 for $20 worth of sandwiches. Perfect for the three of us. Our total came to $21 (but we only paid $13), then we split the $13 three ways = $4.33/person… for delicious, melty, yummy goodness.
I could get used to dining for less. In fact, I’m going to find my next deal right now. Until next time…
So a few weeks ago I discovered how much I actually spend on food in a week, and I’ve done some brainstorming for ways to cut down on that.
Since the holidays crept up quickly after my last post – and involved traveling, dining out, and of course Christmas shopping – I decided it wasn’t the best time to start revamping my budget (excuse).
But now, like most of the country, I’m using the mantras: “no excuses” and “turning a new leaf”. I will cut down on food spending with a new year’s resolution. It won’t happen all at once, but I’ll do it in steps.
First, I’ll tackle dining out expenses. I think the best way is to use restaurant deals, which are plentiful around the web (but not always accessible when you search alone). That’s why websites like Cravor help by aggregating all the deals near your location and listing them in one place. You won’t believe all the restaurants you know that have deals you didn’t know about!
So step one of my new years resolution to eat and dine for less is to utilize restaurant coupons any time I can. Check back for updates as I post the best deals and most delicious meals.
Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year!
After one week of documenting what I spent on supermarket trips, convenience store stops, restaurants and fast food meals, my one-week food expense journal is complete. Here’s my analysis chart:
In one week, I spent $159 on food. I spent the least amount of money on fast food (10%). I guess that’s a good thing because I’ve heard it’s not all that healthy (ha). It’s also cheap, so it makes sense that fast food comprises the smallest category of my spending.
Next came supermarket spending (23%). Going forward, I’d like to see a higher percent spent on cost-efficient supermarket shopping than on restaurants and convenience stores.
At convenience stores you pay for just that – convenience. I’m sure this category (25%) was made up of my least cost-efficient choices. Finally, restaurants take first place in my spending experiment at 42% of my weekly food food budget (or lack thereof)! This probably has a lot to do with the higher cost of restaurant meals in general, combined with the need to tip, and perhaps my frequenting them too often.
But what’s a foodie to do? I won’t give up dining out. Homemade is great, but it doesn’t eliminate the
need (ok, desire) for professionally prepared and served meals. Restaurant coupons and discounts are out there, but often hard to find right when you need them and where you need them. Websites like cravor.com make it easier. For instance, instead of paying full price two nights ago at Cheesecake Factory, I could have had Cravor search the web for deals at this chain.
So, that’s one of my goals: use more restaurant deals. Another goal is to cook more and become supermarket savvy. Over the next few weeks I’ll work on revamping my spending habits. I’ll check in with stories, recipes, and tips for dining for less. One thing I know is: I’m going to keep craving, but hopefully I’ll start saving! See you soon…
Checking in on day three of my food expense activity. Last night we made chicken quesadillas at home. I have to say they came out pretty well, and I’ll definitely add them to our dinner option list. Ta-da!
Today I made my usual stop for coffee on the way to work. I alternate between Einstein Bros, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Dunkin Donuts. Surprisingly (or not), all four are on my two-mile drive to work. Starbucks, the most expensive of the group, is the one I visit the least. I’d like to say that’s due to the cost, but the parking lot is also hard to turn into from my direction. McDonalds, while not my favorite coffee, is the fastest and I tend to leave home with just enough time to start class (and college students quickly learn that they don’t have to show up on time if their instructor doesn’t).
Anyway, McDonalds made another few bucks off of me today. I do this thing where I plan to order a small coffee ($1) and grab a breakfast bar from my stash at work. But when the drive-through attendant asks for my order, I make this game-time decision to upgrade my coffee to a medium (+$0.49), add a sausage & egg burrito ($1), and sometimes – if I suppress the voice inside reminding me to eat healthily – a hash brown ($1). I know it’s pretty cheap, but it adds up day after day. It’s still no Starbucks “that-came-to-twelve-dollars?” at the register experience.
For lunch, I found a frozen meal I left in the faculty room freezer last week (score!) and dinner was dine-in again. Burgers. Tomorrow I told a friend I’d meet her out for dinner and drinks. I’ll check back in later this week and post my analysis at the end! I hope the results of this experiment are enlightening (and not just depressing), ha! Until next time…
It’s day one of my food expense journal and I’ve already added a restaurant meal to the list. Since moving to South Florida last year, Brian and I have been looking for a good Pho place. A coworker of mine recommended a place in the beach area just north of us. We both had the beef noodle soup and agreed about the excellent quality. The broth was aromatic and quite tasty. The beef was tender and the rice noodles were perfectly cooked. The damage was $10 a person, which I felt was well worth it for a Saturday lunch. I marked it down in my expense journal, along with this morning’s homemade breakfast. Not bad for weekend day so far. Oh, and relaxing on the beach after lunch in December was priceless!