It’s #FrugalFriday and we’re going to cover how to Pair Kid’s Meals and Coupons to Save while Dining Out! We use these tricks almost every time we eat out and we usually escape paying less than $20 to feed our family of 4. Here’s how! Before you dine out, you need to have a plan if you want to maximize your budget. Because we are savings nerds, we follow these steps pretty much any time we dine out and it works very well. One of the two biggest tips we can share is to 1. Use a Coupon and 2. Buy Kid’s Meals.
Using a Coupon
Using our Birthday Freebies and Coupon Directory, you can really snag some awesome deals around your birthday. Many places on our list will give you a FREE Entree coupon for your birthday!
Check your weekly newspaper for dining out coupons. We often find Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree coupons, $3 off Lunch, $4 off Dinner, Free Appetizer coupons, and more in our newspaper. I keep these organized IN OUR CAR (in a binder) so we can quickly decide where to dine out if needed.
Pairing a Kid’s Meal
So you found a great dining out coupon and know where you’re going to eat. The battle is half over!
You sit at the table and look at the menu. If you’re able, check out the menu online in advance so you have an idea of how to maximize your value. If we haven’t researched a menu in advance, we spend about 10 minutes “working the menu” as we call it, trying to find the best deal to pair with our coupon. It usually involves 1-2 Kid’s meals.
As an adult, don’t be afraid to eat a kid’s meal to maximize savings when eating out. Keep in mind that the menu may say it’s for kids 12 and under, so you can order a kid’s meal for each child dining with you. They don’t have to be the one eating it though! Since we have 2 kids, we typically order 2 Kids’s Meals + 1 Adult Entree. Then we get an extra plate and divide all the food when it arrives. Everyone gets a taste of everything and it’s plenty of food for us since most restaurant portion sizes are out of control anyway.
Most kid’s meals come with a drink, so Ryan and I typically take their soft drinks and the kids drink water. This saves us up to $6 on sodas alone! Some places even offer free desserts with kid’s meals! If you can get your family used to sharing meals while dining out, this works great. All you need to ask for is an extra plate!
We have a pricey restaurant called Houlihan’s. The cheapest adult entrees are about $17 each. A typical family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) eating their own individual meals (2 kid’s meals, 2 adult meals) without a coupon would easily spend $45 + tip.
We are on their email list, so Ryan and I each receive a Birthday Coupon for $15 off an adult entree (although we can only use 1 coupon at each visit).
What we order:
- 1 Adult Entree @ $16.99
- 2 Kid’s Meals at $4.99 each (they come with entree, side, drink, applesauce/carrots)
- 1 Extra plate
How we split it:
- 2 Adults take the kid’s meal drinks; kids drink water
- 1 Adult takes a kid’s meal entree to eat
- 2 Kids share the other kid’s meal, using the extra plate
- 1 Adult gets the adult entree, but shares some with both kids (and a bit with the other adult if needed)
- $16.99 Adult Entree – $15.00 (Birthday Coupon) = $1.99
- $4.99 Kid’s Meals x 2 = $9.98
- Total Bill: $11.97 + $3 Tip = $14.97
- We walk out of an expensive restaurant for less than $15 (including tip!) What’s better than that?!
We received a Free Entree Birthday Coupon at Zio’s Italian Kitchen. Tyke was in school, so we only had 1 kid with us.
What we order:
- 1 Adult Entree (Shrimp Scampi), which came with a side salad @ $11.99
- 1 Kid’s Meal (Pepperoni Pizza), which came with a drink @ $3.99
- 1 Extra Plate
- Italian Bread – Free
How we split it:
- Adults share kid’s soft drink; kid gets water
- 1 Adult shares Adult Entree with kid (Tink & I shared the shrimp and it was HUGE)
- 1 Adult eats the Kid’s Meal
- 1 Adult Entree @ $11.99 – $11.99 (Free Entree Birthday Coupon) = $0
- 1 Kid’s Meal @ $3.99
- Total Bill = $3.99 + $2.50 Tip = $6.49
- We left an expensive restaurant for less than $7 to feed 3 people and had a VERY filling lunch!
The birthday coupons are the best, so we always look forward to birthday month! The other coupons are also pretty good and should get you out the door paying $20 or less if you follow these frugal tips. Enjoy!