Frugal Friday Tip of the Week: Split a Meal

Yes, I know, eating out is a treat.  If you really wanted to save money, you just wouldn't eat out.  But DangerBear, Chickpea, and I love to go out to eat.  Perhaps it's because of my cooking...

Even just for the three of us, though, eating out can be expensive.  It was not unusual for us to blow nearly $50 eating at Red Lobster!  Each of us got an entree, Chickpea got the kid's crab legs (!), plus an appetizer.  If they'd brought us the bill before the food, we'd have lost our appetites.  (Maybe that's a good way to save money?)

The past couple of times we've eaten there, though, we tried something a little different.  DangerBear and I each got an entree (just not the super-expensive ones), and Chickpea shared off our plates.  No appetizer, because who needs it after salads and bread?  That got us down to about $30, including tip.  Next time, we might all share one larger entree and just get an extra salad.  (The only thing I would recommend here is to tell your server up front that you're only hungry enough for one entree, but you'll be tipping as if everyone got their own.  No point being cheap.)  We figure that would give us a very nice meal for less than half what we used to spend.  And you know what?  We enjoy it just as much!


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9 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Any time we go to a nice restaurant like Red Lobster, we always let our little one eat off our plates. Kids meals are just WAY too expensive these days!

  2. Kate Says:

    Absolutely. Eight dollars for a kid's meal? I don't think so! That's more than I like to spend for my own meal.

    Chickpea also likes Panera Bread, but I refuse to spend six or seven dollars for a peanut butter sandwich. Sheesh.

  3. Sherry Says:

    LOL! I just posted about something almost exactly the same before I read yours. :D Waste not, want not! :D

  4. Audra Krell Says:

    This is a great tip. You truly do have to make good use of the free bread, chips/salsa, whatever it is that is free. We have a family with three boys, we always have to go to the free appetizer places!

  5. Kate Says:

    It's true, Audra. Our money definitely seems to go further when we go to places that have free appetizers. Paying for an appetizer can set you back six or seven dollars, or even more if you splurge for one of the "assortment" ones. Then that adds to the tip.

    I remember once, as a young teenager, my family of six went to Olive Garden. We had lots of free salad and breadsticks and then dessert. It was so much fun! =)

  6. I *think* Panera has a "kids eat free" night... maybe it's Atlanta Bread House tho...
    My son isn't old enough to notice that he eats off our plates :)

  7. Kate Says:

    Hm, I don't remember seeing anything about a Kids Eat Free night at Panera Bread, but I don't know if I would pay attention to it if I had. The closest Panera Bread is over an hour away in a shopping mall, so we'd only go there on a weekend.

    Kids Eat Free is a great deal though. I wish Red Lobster had it. =)

  8. Anonymous Says:

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  9. Kate Says:


    Thank you very much for your comment! I've been taking a break from blogging, as things have been crazy here, but my plans are to start again in the next couple of weeks. I hope you'll keep reading. =)

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