Complete Guide On How To Eat Out For Cheap

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Eating out is something we specifically ensure we include in our budget every month. It’s what we call a ‘non negotiable‘ because I would honestly give my arm and a leg to go out and have someone else cook and bring me my food to the table even just once a month. So today I’m sharing with your my tips on how to eat out for cheap in the UK if you’re on a budget because we all need a treat now and then!

Dining Out On a Budget

Cheap Take Out Dinner Ideas

We ensure every week we budget for a takeaway. We spend no more than £20 for a family of 4 sometimes less. We could probably spend even less and do so often using the tips and tricks below but again it’s something we’ve specifically included in our budget because Friday night is takeaway night so what we do save on is a Bruc-y bonus!

JustEat Discount Vouchers

Be sure to sign up for JustEat where you will regularly get emails through especially nearing the weekend or special events with a discount code. They do add a little bit on as a surcharge but it can still work out cheaper than not using it.

screenshot of just eat offer/email 'don't miss out on your 20% off voucher'

If you haven’t already signed up for TopCashBack or QuidCo too you can sometimes get your takeaway super cheap because you are not only using a discount code through JustEat but you can also get cash back through a cashback apps and save yourself some money on a takeaway that way too!

If you use my refer a friend specifically on QuidCo as a new customer, you could even end up with getting your takeaway for FREE!

Use Vouchers & SpEcial Offers

The first place we ever look at when we are eating out as a family (which is rare to be honest!) is Facebook pages, menus and just generally see what offers are on locally but don’t forget to check your receipts too!

Pub Grub Near Me

First port of call tends to be the pubs! If you preview a menu or just literally Google ‘pubs near me’; It will bring up your nearest local where you can see what offers they have on during each day, choosing which one suits you best:

  • Hungry Horse have certain deals on every day such as big plate Tuesday, Curry Wednesday and BOGOF burger Friday
  • Sizzling Pubs are offering 2 mains for just £8.50
  • Chef & Brewers offer a free starter or main when you sign up to their newsletter as well as having special meals on offer depending on the day of the week
  • Farmhouse Inns don’t tend to have many offers available but they do pop up every now and then specifically during half term, special events and holidays. At the time of writing kids are eating for just £1 and get a free scoop of Ice Cream.

I run a local Facebook group called Hull Foodie where people share deals, competitions and general good grub so I’m always looking for deals locally anyway but eating out as a family CAN get expensive so we do only tend to go to places that have offers on. Is there one in your local area?

A lot of vouchers are time-sensitive so while you can’t really plan in advance and print off voucher as we used to; as I’ve touched on above, by signing up to all and sundry local restaurants/chains you will soon know the places that you get the most from to your inbox that you can use.

I can tell you now that just this morning I’ve had an email from Frankie and Benny’s with 33% off, Giraffe telling that kids eat free this half term and Bella Italia showing their spooktacular deals this halloween (and a FREE dessert!)

MeerKat Meals

Purchase the cheapest insurance policy (likely to be around the £3 mark for travel insurance) from Compare the Market and get access to 2 for 1 on starters, mains and desserts across TONS of restaurants around the whole country. That’s certainly one place you can pretty much guarantee you can eat out for cheap everyday except Friday & Saturday!

screenshot of travel insurance quote from compare the market '£2.39 super saver'

Check the Restaurant’s apps!

In addition to signing up to newsletters to get deals straight to your inbox you can also download apps too!

A couple of my favourite restaurant app’s are TGI Fridays and Toby Carvery. Subway sometimes offer deals too.

Having the app’s are a lot easier than signing up to a mailing list because you can then head straight to the app and see what is in the ‘offers’ section without going searching high and low for emails or offers online.

screenshot of toby carver app 'kids eat for £1 monday to saturday until 2 November'

Check Your Receipts!

McDonalds are offering a a Big Mac and Fries for £1.99 at the time of writing for making up a code on a receipt and handing it in when you order.

Pizza Hut have BOGOF on their receipts too and TGI Fridays sometimes have free starter or dessert for completing a survey.

Fight Food Waste & Get The Leftovers!

Olio and Too Good To Go are two other apps that offer their users all the delicious, perfectly edible food that stores and restaurants have to throw out at the end of the day.

Toby Carvery is on one of them and although their timings can be a little late for dinner; if you are passing or fancy a Carvery to takeaway for lunch the following day then download it now!

Use Reward App’s

Reward app’s such as O2 priorities and Three Mobile’S Wuntu regularly offer discounts for restaurants. Although I personally aren’t on either, I know people that have pizzas from Pizza Hut and Dominoes too!

Free Drinks!

Eating out can get expensive if you also want to have a tipple after a hard day or week at work but be sure to check out some of your local pubs newsletters or sign up if you haven’t already. A few actually give you a drink or two to say thanks… for FREE!

Take advantage of Student Discount!

There are absolutely TONS of discounts available when eating out if you have a student card or rather are a student and have an AC email address.

TOTUM is the new NUS card. You do have to pay (Lite is free) but the discounts you can get are worth it if you are eligible.

TOTUM memberships are available to students aged 16 or over, studying full or part-time in Further or Higher Education in the UK.

If you are an apprentice you can also get discounts only it’s not through a TOTUM card it is through NUS Apprentice Extra.

go undercover as a mystery diner!

Mystery shopping/dining can bag you some free grub too if you find somewhere nearby that requires you to undertake an assignment and is a sure way to eat out for cheap.

Mystery dining guest assignments can include timing how long your food takes to come, the quality of the food/enviroment, sometimes you have to time how long it takes for someone to come and take your order.

Best bit you not only get part or all of your food reimbursed but you could potentially ALSO get paid for helping them out too!

Mystery shopping companies

MarketForce are one company I’m signed up to that send me over regular food assignments. Only a matter of days ago I received a job that would pay me £6.25 and reimburse me £8 for drinks!

Although you do have to look at whether it is going to cost you more in fuel to get to some places that offer such a small fee, if you were passing any way or it was your local then it’s a pretty good deal!

I do hope this has helped show that it doesn’t have to be expensive to treat yourself and eat out once in a while. There are tons of ways around not having to fork out a ton to have a lovely meal out and eat out for cheap… to be fair when you know you’ve not paid the full price I’m sure it actually tastes nicer! Don’t you think!?

Feel free to PIN to read again later!

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About The Money Saving Mum

About The Money Saving Mum

I've always been financially savvy but when the kids came along I needed to up my game! Our finances and priorities changed overnight and it felt like I was spending money as if it was going out of fashion! I needed to start earning extra money just to make ends meet and continuously make sure we got the most out of every single penny we had! Sound familiar? Keep reading... I'm sharing my story to help people like you!




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