15 Ways to Cut Your Fine Dining Bill in Half


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Tired of spending a fortune on fine dining? Check out 15 ways to make the experience more affordable.

You don’t have to keep wishing on a star that you’ll one day be able to afford fine dining establishments.

It’s usually one of the first expenses to take a hit when the spending plan comes into play, but the last thing that we actually want to part ways with. However, it is possible to enjoy the finer things in life, at least in the food category, without breaking the bank.

Let’s start with a short video called “Tips to Radically Reduce Restaurant Checks.” Then meet me on the other side for more details.

1. Daily special

Most fine dining establishments share their daily special online, in the waiting area or via the server once you are seated. Even if your mind is already made up about your meal of choice, don’t be afraid to expand your horizons and try something new. You may actually like it.

Also, inquire about specials offered throughout the day, such as half-priced wings after 5 p.m.

2. Lunch menu

Heading out for a hot date? Lunch may seem like the worst time to go, but can save you a nice chunk of change. The portions are often equivalent and come at a third, if not half, the cost. Just be sure to go online and view the menu before heading over.

3. Deal websites

If you can do so without going overboard, check out deal websites, such as Groupon or LivingSocial, for promotional offers at fine dining establishments in your local area. Just make sure that you will actually redeem your purchase because the vouchers are typically nonrefundable, and check for any restrictions that may apply.

4. Stick to the main course

There’s no point in fine dining if you don’t indulge in a full-course meal, correct? Well, not necessarily. The extras, including appetizers, alcoholic beverages and desserts, can sometimes cost more than your main course.

My suggestion: Skip the add-ons and go elsewhere for desserts or drinks. And if you must have a drink, stick to the most affordable items on the menu.

5. Discount by affiliation

Are you a senior citizen, member of the military or college student? Inquire about any special discounts that may be available to you.

6. Coupons

Peruse the restaurant’s website, Restaurant.com or the Entertainment book for coupons and promotional offers on cuisine at fine dining establishments. Also, check the Sunday newspaper.

7. Weekday dining

You can beat the crowds and take advantage of the specials offered during the slower periods to entice customers to come in. Besides, lunch specials typically aren’t available on the weekends.

8. Check in online

Select mobile applications, such as Foursquare, will allow you to retrieve a free drink or appetizer from the restaurant just for checking in. When I visit Chili’s, I always check in to receive an order of free chips and salsa. It’s more casual than fine dining, but still a good deal.

9. Culinary schools

Check with the culinary institutions in your area to find out if they have restaurants that are open to the public. In most cases, the three-course meals are offered at an extremely affordable rate, and prepared by students preparing to head into the culinary world as chefs.

10. Gift certificate promos

This is particularly popular during the holiday season, but some fine dining establishments run promotional offers on gift certificates. Also, try gift certificate resale sites, including Gift Card Granny and ABC Gift Cards, which offer secondhand gift cards at a steeply reduced rate.

11. Kids eat free

Want to bring the entire family along? Find out if they offer a special night when kids eat free during the week.

12. Split the meal

My favorite Italian restaurant offers such generous portions that I often split it with my dining partner. However, a fee may apply if you do this, so inquire with your server.

The two of you can enjoy a scrumptious meal together while cutting the bill in half. Besides, why  spend big bucks on two over-sized entrees just to take home leftovers that could possibly go to waste in the refrigerator?

13. Freebies

Does the restaurant of your choice offer freshly baked bread or some other unique freebie before the main course is served? If it’s an item that whets your appetite, fill up and order a smaller, less expensive meal.

And in some cases, you may score a free appetizer simply by signing up online for the restaurant’s loyal customer program.

14. Special occasion

Is it your birthday or anniversary? You could land a free meal at your favorite fine dining establishment. If they don’t offer this perk, there are plenty of others in your area that are willing to treat you on your special day.

I always head over to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse on those special occasions because being a member of their rewards program grants me a free meal.

15. Order takeout

If you’re more interested in the food than the actual restaurant experience, why not order takeout and enjoy the cuisine in the comfort of your own home. Want to spruce things up a bit? You can also head to the local park or sit on the patio and watch the sunset.

Either way, you will save money on drinks, appetizers, desserts and the tip. Sounds like the perfect date night to me.

Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 50 Ways to Make a Fast $50

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,001 more deals!