A couple of weeks ago, we talked about affording children and the art of feeding them on a budget. But, I must admit we are a family who likes to eat out. We’ve been asked how we can possibly eat out with so many children. The answer is:
(By the way, I was quite pleased the hear the Duggars like to eat out too, and they have 3x the number of children we have!)
Here are just a few of the ways we have been creative eating out:
*Groupon – I signed up several months back for Groupon in my area. Quite often, these Groupons are for restaurants and you can buy in on the deal for half the price of what the voucher is worth. For instance, one restaurant we like to eat at was offering a $20 voucher for $10, so we had $10 off our meal! The deals come to your inbox for whatever areas you sign up for, and you can easily pick and choose what deals you would like to buy in on. From there, they send you a link to print off your coupon. There is usually an expiration date on the voucher, but it is usually several months.
*Look online for places where kids eat free – The site I use the most is KidsEat4Free.com. It is easy to use. Simply look up the city or zip code you are eating in, and it lists where and what days children can eat for free or discounted. By the way, Tuesday is a VERY good day to eat out. I’ve also learned that many of the places where you can get 1 child’s meal for $.99 with each paying adult, actually means every child can get a $.99 meal because the restaurant computers are not able to separate it all out.
*Sign up for the Kid’s Club – Many restaurants have Kid’s Clubs where children can get free or discounted meals on their birthdays. Some even do Half-Birthday discounts and special deals along the way.
*Sign up for Pizza Hut’s Book It Program – Every year we do Book It under the homeschooling section. You set each child’s goal, when they meet that goal, you sign off on it and within a month of signing off, you head to Pizza Hut. The best part of this is that most Pizza Huts will allow you to trade in the mini-pan pizza listed on the certificate for the buffet instead!
*Share – Nearly everywhere we go it is considerably cheaper to buy an adult meal and let our 3 littles eat from that meal. It is plenty of food and much cheaper than buying 3 separate kid’s meals. Sometimes Ty and I will order a larger portion and split with another child. Sometimes we will order an appetizer and split it amongst children. Portions in restaurants tend to be outrageously large, so this makes them the “right” size and the “right” price!
*Do breakfast – Breakfast is often much cheaper and just as much fun!
*Check newspaper inserts, deal blogs, facebook, flyers, etc – Keep your eyes peeled for deals for restaurants you really like or ones you’d like to try. We were thrilled to see via a deal blog that Chipotle (a favorite of ours–and another place where we share meals!) that they had a buy one-get one for liking a facebook page! Sometimes we will see a special deal on a flyer that is in the store itself. The coupons in newspaper inserts are often for good prices as well.
*Order only water – This is one we do as well. It is a substantial savings!
*Feed the kids first – I thought this was a great idea…at least in theory. I plan to try it and see what happens. But, the idea is that you feed the kids first, then as you and your husband are enjoying a meal, you buy the kids dessert! Often, dessert is just as much as a kid’s meal, but I’d suggest you have them share or find a cheaper dessert.
*Use Credit Card Rewards – Jenn says, “The way we eat out for free (all of us) is by using our credit card. I know sounds crazy, but we are a very budget/frugal minded family & treat the CC just like cash. We charge everything we can & pay it off right away (no debt!) In turn, we rack up hundreds of dollars in cash back money. We could cash it out, but we choose to turn them in for gift cards to restaurants as the CC company adds on another $5-$10 ontop of the money we cash out for gift cards (still following me? lol) So this allows us to eat out at places like Red Lobster, Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden, etc. AND to make those gift cards stretch even further, I can use coupons with them.” Now THAT is creative!
*Use Restaurant.com – Coupons, deals and gift cards to local restaurants!
I know eating out with lots of kiddos isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for us it has been a great lesson in behavior in public, polite conversation, and other manners. We’ve also found it to be quite a testimony. Yes, we get a lot of stares, but we also get a lot of questions in which we always bring it back to the fact that children are a blessing!
Posts in this Series:
Have Kids, Will Shop…sort of
Have Kids, Will Eat Out – this post