Monday, March 23, 2009

Eating out less, in more

AOL posted an article today from Wallet Pop on Restaurant Tricks.

It really made me think about eating out a lot less than I do.

The article mentioned things that restaurants do to save a buck. Things like, making soups 'brothier' with less ingredients; using less salad ingredients; using more inexpensive fillers in burritos, etc.; or reducing to ridiculously smaller quantities or portion sizes.

Even adding on bill surcharges; drink charges (ice tea/soda can be $2.79 ~ $3.10 or more which can really add up for a family of four); condiment charges or watered-down condiments; substituting expensive items with cheaper imitations; and using processed meat instead of real chicken or beef.

They also use fancy names like 'old fashioned' to get you to think you'll be getting a greater value.

Not to mention one restaurant where the owner would rescue customer's unused pickle slices from the trash and re-use them for the next customer, although, I can't imagine that happens too often, but WHO KNOWS??

Times are tough, and just like the consumer, every business is looking for ways to save a dime.

I, myself, have switched to ordering water at restaurants instead of ice tea, lemonade, etc. (And NO, I don't take my own kool-aid or make lemonade out of it, I drink only the water as it's served.. LOL!!) Yeah, it may sound cheap, but it helps, it even helps me to get my daily water in. I still allow my son to order whatever he wants, but since it really doesn't matter to me that I drink water, it's no big deal.

The biggest switch I've made recently (within the last 3 weeks or so) is just eating out LESS. I haven't been going out for breakfast or lunch (which I've done quite a bit in the past), I've been taking my own breakfast & lunch to work.... I know, I should just eat the breakfast at home, but who has that kind of time... LOL!!!

The article also mentioned that STARBUCKS is NOT supposed to charge for extra caramel in that Frapuccino, but they do as often as they can. (Sorry, Marty! Oh, Wait! Marty doesn't read my blog... LOL!!) Anyway, I have yet to verify if that's true or not, but I HAVE noticed often time, the barista will say... "Oh, I won't charge you for that!" but sometimes they just do.

Anyway, if you have anything that you do to save on your restaurant bill, will you share in a comment??

Have a great next meal!!



  1. I have made a point of eating what is around the house when I think that I am hungry. And it is so true that restaurant's are using words and portion control to save on money. Renaming something hides that they are giving you something less.

    And they also let the new name cover for the smaller portions they are serving!

  2. I'm am so spoiled by stopping for a breakfast sandwich on my way to work every morning...sometimes I do try to make and take my own, but most of the time I give in and buy it. I really think It costs the same for that. Otherwise I rarely eat out and just fix the easy things at home for myself. I love summer time because I do eat more fresh things that can be picked up reasonably. 'On Ya'-ma

  3. we use coupons a lot, Joann, buy one entree get another free, etc. Also, I justed signed up for Mimi's e-club (do you have a Mimi's where you live?) and I got a coupon for a free breakfast entree. what I also do if I'm somewhere where you can get your own refills and they don't charge for refills, I order a small coffee or small soft drink and then keep refilling it rather than get a large or medium size. I also order off of the value meal menus at fast food places rather than the combo; less food and cheaper

    thanks for sharing this! we too used to eat out a lot on weekends; now maybe Friday night or Saturday for breakfast


  4. LOL; I just read my comment "justed" not sure what that means, LOL!

    have a good day


  5. Hi Joann, I always ask for tap water now when eating out as if you don't specify they bring you bottled water at greatly inflated prices., Also often just have a starter rather than a full meal and find it quite enough usually.Also keep a look out for money off's etc.
    Good on you keep going..
    Love sybil xx

  6. I was sharing with my sister that everytime I eat out anymore I get sick at my stomach. This week, so far I've been cooking. I need to start bringing in my own breakfast, but do carry in a lunch. Lots of ways to save!

  7. Great post, Joann, and something for everyone to think about.

    Ken and I rarely eat out. We save our pennies for when we go on vacation. I make dinner most nights, and we were just talking the other night about how we haven't had a pizza delivered in we can't remember when!

    I can't begin to tell you how much money this saves us. Also, Ken takes his lunch to work--I usually make extra at dinner so that there are lunches for him--and when we got together, he got me to start taking mine, too. I probably went from spending $15-$20 a week on lunch to maybe $5.

    An extra bonus is that because we eat out so rarely, it's quite a treat when we do!

    Hugs, Beth

  8. Hi Joann, first of all, I always ate breakfast at home when I was working. And I always carried my lunch because my office was several blocks from the main hospital building and there wasn't enough time to walk over, stand in line, order lunch and walk back all in 30 minutes. 90% of the time when we go out to eat, we use the Entertainment Book for our area. They are available all over the U.S. for between $25-$35 a year. Full of buy one, get one free meal literally pay for one in one or two visits to a restaurant. When we go out for fast food (i.e. McDonald, etc) I always order a kids meal. They are cheaper and you get a burger, fries and a soft drink for usually under $4. Plenty of food for a mid-day meal. (I save the toys for my "FREE" box at my yearly garage sale.) When you think about the money you spend eating out, and then think about how much food you could buy at the grocery store ~ it's mind boggling. But, it is fun to go out once in awhile, we all love to do it. One thing you could do...with your group of girl friends is to have potlucks or take turns cooking dinner. That way, each of you get to go out to dinner several times before you have to cook for the others. Linda in cold & dreary Washington

  9. I too have resorted to checking out my own kitchen rather than just go out for a bite. I did go out this weekend to AREA 51 and ran into an old friend who said he hadn't had a bite for two days, so I bit him (groan).



  11. We don't eat out as often as we did ~ as the portions got so small ~ as someone else said it can be a rip off ~ Ally x

  12. one thing I do when I go get groceries for the house, is to EAT FIRST... don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry. When I shop on a full (and happy) stomach, I make smarter and better choices. I figured it out that since I'm a terrible cook, it's safer for me to eat at work. But I don't eat out like I used to. I'm forcing myself to eat more fruit as snacks to suppress my hunger. I've been on a red pear kick as of late. It helps me resist the urge to go out to eat on such a frequent basis.


  13. OH man.. I always eat first before I go to the market, otherwise, I buy every thing!! and none of it is ever really any good for me! Today I'm headed to Jenny Craig. I have to lose weight and what I am doing is NOT working. I'll be posting and updated my progress. hopefully in a timely manner!! Lisa (lisita15)

  14. Hey girl!

    Just wanted to let you know that you have an award waiting on my blog!

  15. Since Lou and I lost our jobs we have obviously cut back. One of the things we did do was share a coke. Not terribly ethical but neither is charging $1.50 for one. We have been know to share an entree also. Or split with the kids. I just found out that on food stamps you can buy Papa Murphy's take and bake pizza! Yea, that's what we just had for dinner!


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