The Best Budget-Friendly Ways to Eat Out!

Food plays a massive part of my enjoyment of life! I love eating out but sometimes it can be expensive and with a lot of demands on my purse, I can’t always afford to eat out regularly.

Check out our top tips below for the best ways to eat out on a budget:

Use your student discount - make sure that you join the National Union of Students (NUS) to get your Student Union Card which will get you loads of discounts on many things!  Loads of restaurants offer student discounts including large chains and independent restaurants.

Ditch the booze - alcohol can make a massive difference to the price of a meal so why not opt for a booze-free night and go for a soft drink or mocktail option.  Or keep an eye out for deals that have an alcoholic drink included

Use vouchers and special offers - the first thing you need to do is sign up to a voucher code app.  There are loads of apps out there but one of my favourites is VoucherCloud as this app has vouchers for food and drink, restaurants, travel and accommodation and days out.  Be aware that many of these vouchers are time-sensitive so make sure you use them before they run out.

NEVER pay for water! - If an eating establishment serves alcohol then it is legally obliged to serve you tap water free of charge.  Don’t be intimidated by staff to order bottled water, if you're self-conscious about appearing ‘cheap’ say that your principles won’t allow you to order bottled water because of the cost to the environment (not your wallet)!

Ask for a doggy bag - Don’t let your uneaten food go to waste, after all you’ve paid for it so you’re entitled to do what you want with any leftovers.  Don’t be embarrassed, asking for a doggy bag is a compliment to the chef and also great for the environment as food waste is a vastly overlooked driver of climate change.

Be a Mystery Diner - This is a great way to eat out for free.  The payback is that you’ll have to write a short report on a number of criteria such as staff friendliness, speed of service, quality of food and cleanliness. Check out how to become a mystery diner.

Become a ‘youthful’ Early Birder - Okay so Early Bird Specials tend to be for those more senior in years but don’t let this stop you, take advantage of some amazing early bird offers out there.  Early Bird times tend to be from 5.30-7pm and have a more limited menu option but think of it as lining your stomach before going out!

All You Can Eat Buffets - For those of you with a secret second stomach this is an ideal way of dining out.  Top tips here are wear baggy / elasticated trousers, avoid fizzy drinks and don’t overload your plate, remember you can go back numerous times!

Come Dine With Me - Or why not start a Come Dine With Me Club within your block.  You’ll have to cook once but you’ll get to eat out four more times and you’ll get to know your block mates in the process!

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