Dining Out Guide to Living Cheap...Tips you can use to save

The dining out guide to living cheap is a work in progress. These are some of the best tips we have used so far.

Let's face it when we are in unfamiliar places, and for whatever reason you want to eat out, what do you do?

Nothing irritates me more than to go to a restaurant and find out it is overpriced or has bad food. And it used to happen too often. It doesn't any more...

Dining out guide to living cheap...Rule number one

Avoid tourist restaurants

OK, how do you do that? Simply avoid what is advertised in the "free tourist guides" you find in souvenir shops.

You know, 'the summer guide to our area" type.

They are at the door when you leave, always free. Pick one up but avoid those establishments that advertise in them.

I ask you if they were any good why would they have to spend money on advertising to strangers?

What living on a boat taught us about dining out

We lived out of the country for 8 years in the Caribbean. We had 2 hard and fast rules in choosing a restaurant. These rules insured a cheap, fresh and delicious meal.

  • We had to be the only non locals in the restaurant...in the Caribbean this was easy, just be the only white folks in the restaurant, exceptions would be for other non locals we were with or people we recognized as working in the shops, bars, etc...this assures you there are no tourists there, tourist restaurants are too expensive...you see locals eating there you know it is good and cheap...you see tourists, run.

  • Our second rule was that the menu must be hand written on a chalk board...think about it, if it is written in chalk, they have it and its fresh...with a printed menu you order mahi mahi it may come from the freezer...you order mahi mahi or another fish that is on a chalkboard, that means they caught it that morning or last night. Tourists like a nice menu with a wine list...run.

Dining out guide to living cheap... Rule number two

When we lived on the boat we ate out much more frequently because it was so cheap to do so...

Here's what we do now in the United States if we want to eat in a strange town.

Look for pickup trucks parked outside

Example... the bride and I about 10 years ago were visiting Sedona, Arizona, home of the Red Rocks. It is also very expensive and touristy. Around 11:30 we wanted lunch and started driving. We found a restaurant on the outskirts of town with about 6 construction pickups outside.

You guessed it the place was noisy and full of construction dudes. The food was good, plentiful and cheap. I am sure one of the waitresses was named Flo...but I can't remember.

This tip works almost every time, use it and pass it on to your friends.

Dining out guide to living cheap... Rule number three Eat before 7PM

As we age we find that restaurants are full of younger folks after dark.

In order to get the kitchen warmed up lots of restaurants have special menus with special prices from say 4 to 7. The food is the same, its just a little cheaper. The restaurant is happy and you are happy.

You also avoid driving at night...it is a known fact that people drink and drive...usually at night, be smart and be home early. Its safer, cheaper and its healthier.

Dining out guide to living cheap... Rule number four

Look for coupons in the local papershim

This is different than the magazines you will find at a motel or shop. I mean a paper that is tossed on your driveway or one that you know is a local paper.

Mostly these are 2 for 1, not bad if you know the restaurant. But every other week you can usually find something totally free. Try as you might...free is hard to beat.

Hope you enjoyed this dining out guide to living cheap. If you like something, pass it on...especially the tip about the pickups parked outside...it never fails

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