Eating Out on a Budget

Every family needs a night out; even when the budget doesn’t necessarily allow for it. But, family time is a must; and sometimes we just need to get a little creative.


  • Kids meals are usually overpriced and one of the ways most restaurants gets away with it is to give big helpings that you kid probably will not finish.  If you have more than one child, see if they can agree on what dish and split it by asking for two dishes. Try to skip the grilled cheese and hot dog and seek out something healthier so at least you know you’re getting your money’s worth.
  • Find out about specials for kids. Many restaurants offer deals for kids during the week, when they’re slower. 99 Restaurant has kids eat free when the Red Sox win!
  • Order an appetizer as opposed to a whole meal. You and your spouse can either share some appetizers to keep the cost down, or at least one of you can choose an appetizer for your meal. If you find yourselves taking leftovers home on a regular basis, you should be ordering smaller portions.
  • Side dishes are another option for kids–they are usually healthier, too. Try a side of vegetables or potatoes if you’re lucky enough to have healthy eaters! Other options might include a side of macaroni and cheese of fruit. Whatever the case, the side dish will be cheaper than a kid’s meal.
  • Some restaurants do half portions. Find these restaurants! Or, simply ask. Local restaurants are generally more willing to accommodate this. This idea is also a much healthier option for kids (think of a turkey sandwich as a opposed to a grilled cheese).
  • Ask for for extra plates.  If you know your child will nibble off your plate, don’t bother ordering him a separate meal. Simply ask for another plate and pour in some pasta.
  • Go during happy hour! Usually there are deals on drinks and appetizers.
  • As usual, check for coupons and special prices for ‘members.’ For example, try: