According to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the average American family spent more than $2,500 on dining out in 2010. If you cut a mere 30 percent of that cost, you'd save more than $750. That's significant savings. How can you accomplish this?
Stay home. But where's the fun in that? Everyone likes to dine out occasionally. There are some things you can do that will help to dramatically decrease the cost of eating out.
• Check restaurant.com. They have gift certificates, as well as sales year-round, and you can find huge savings there. Bear in mind, however, that the certificates are for dine-in only.
• Search online for coupons. You can find them at various sites all over the Web, including some that will save you 50 to 90 percent.
• Use "check in." If you've got a smartphone, you'll find that there are social networking apps that will give you free stuff and some fairly deep discounts for "checking in." Apps like Yelp, Foursquare, and SCVNGR are the most popular.
• Call ahead and ask about special occasion deals. Restaurants will often give you a discount when you have a large party. Some even have birthday or anniversary clubs that you can sign up for. You can also go out to eat on your birthday. There are lots of restaurants that offer a free meal on your birthday. Check out eatfreeonyourbirthday.com.
• Use social media. Follow your favorite restaurants on Twitter and friend them on Facebook. You'll be among the first to know about specials and discounted deals.