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15 Hacks To Save Money When Eating Out With Your Kids

Eating out with your kids always seems like a good idea — not having to cook or clean up is enough to get any parent excited. But once you get to the restaurant chaos ensues and any dreams of a peaceful meal are put behind you (or at least that's how it works for my family.) Impatient kids with hungry tummies in small spaces doesn't usually bode well. Not to mention the cost of most restaurants is enough to put your paycheck to rest. However, if you're dead set on eating out, there are lots of hacks to save money when eating out with your kids that are definitely worth putting into practice.

My husband and I are huge fans of eating out, and actually eating in general. Before kids, you could find us at a new restaurant several times a week. But our new post-kids life put a halt to our foodie ways. However, we still enjoy taking our kids to the occasional restaurant, when our energy, time, and money allow, and these hacks have been lifesavers.

Eating out isn't cheap and with kids, the little things you do to save money here and there make a huge difference


Share Meals

It's kind of a no-brainer, but splitting meals splits the cost as well. Whether you and your partner share a meals and get the kids their own, or have the kids share a bigger meal, you'll save big time.


Go On Days When Kids Eat Free Or Cheap

Many restaurants have specific days of the week or times during the day when kids eat free. Take advantage and go during these times.


Eat During Happy Hour, But Not For The Drinks

If the restaurant has a happy hour, go during this time and order off the happy hour menu. Prices are usually much lower and there's usually a fairly wide selection to choose from.


Order From The Buffet Or Salad Bar

Even ordering an unlimited salad bar is cheaper than a full sized entree. Not to mention you'll most likely get more food for your money.


Order To-Go

Ordering to-go and eating at home saves you any extras you might order during your meal that you weren't planning on ordering (ie. dessert, appetizers, and drinks.)


Eat Earlier In The Day

Going during the dinner hours is almost always more expensive than eating out in the afternoon or early evening.


Take Advantage Of Birthday Freebies

Most restaurants have at least free dessert or even a free meal for birthdays. Take your kids, or enjoy a special treat on your own birthday.


Take Home Extras

Getting to-go boxes for anything you don't finish is basically like getting two meals for the cost of one.


Use Discount Sites Like Groupon

Discount sites like Groupon or Discount always have coupons for restaurants. Similarly, following restaurants you love on social media will give you a heads up about special promotions or discounts. Or simply bring coupons. Oftentimes you can get buy-one-get-one deals or other freebies.


Order Waters

Drinks can add substantially to your bill, even if it's just juice for your kids (unless they're included).


Stay Away On Weekends

Weekend prices are often more expensive, so eating midweek (especially at lunch) will be your cheapest option.


Eat A Snack Beforehand

Giving your kids, and yourself too, a little snack before eating will help you all from over-ordering and having eyes bigger than your stomach.


Buy Gift Cards And Save

According to The Penny Hoarder, you can buy discounted gift cards for restaurants online. So instead of paying full price, you can buy the gift card and save when the time comes.


Eat Appetizers And Sides For A Meal

Ordering a big appetizer or side dish (like a sampler platter) for a meal is usually much cheaper than order a full entree.


Order The Special

They're called special for a reason — they're oftentimes cheaper and might come with more food than a normal entreé.