Thursday, 19 June 2014

Top Tips For Eating Out on a Budget.


I often get asked how I manage to eat out so often and not be bankrupt, so I thought I'd do a small guide on how I do it. Even when I lived off £10 a week for nine months whilst in University to raise money for charity, every so often I would treat myself and go to Pizza Express with a friend. Vouchers are your best friend when eating out. I've broken this down into price brackets, with tips on how to eat out for a bargain within those budgets, so let's start with the cheapest and work our way up!

How to eat out for under £10


Vouchers and a Tastecard (we'll cover the Tastecard in the next section). That's how you do it for under a tenner, and pubs are always good too. You can get vouchers for free on various affiliate websites, and you can even get them from the restaurants themselves. Sign up to the newsletters for places like Pizza Express, GBK, Prezzo, Giraffe etc, and every so often an email will pop up with a '2 for 1' deal on a main course. If you go along with a friend, you can each have a main course, and if you stick with tap water the bill should only come to around £8 each depending on what you both choose!

How to eat out for £10-£20


My Tastecard is my best friend. I've had one for years and always re-subscribe, as it saves me so much money. Within one or two meals I've got my money back. However, never ever pay the full price. They often have special offers where you can get a card for £29.99 - look out for these and nab one when you see it. There are thousands of restaurants signed up to Tastecard, including lots of Marco Pierre White ones. Wheeler's of St James is included, and the deal is 50% off the entire bill (including alcohol!!) for up to 6 people, even on weekends! I got my money back on this meal alone last year.

Set menus are also brilliant for eating out on the cheap. Kettner's in Soho do a really great set menu for under £20, as do many other fantastic restaurants all around London.

How to eat out for £20-£30


What a lot of people don't know is that many of the top restaurants, Michelin starred ones included, do set menus or pre-theatre menus just like the cheaper restaurants! A lot of these are £25 for two courses or £30 for three, it all depends on the restaurant. Two of my favourite pre-theatre menus are Le Caprice in Mayfair and The Savoy Grill (a Gordon Ramsay restaurant!) in Aldwych. Top food for a fraction of the price! Lunch menus are also a great way to try out top restaurants at a fraction of the cost, especially week day lunches. 

Extra Tip


Keep an eye out for any new restaurants launching, they often have a 'soft launch' where they offer 50% off all food in the first few weeks of opening. This is a great way to test out new more expensive restaurants to see if they're worth paying full whack for a special occasion!

I hope this has helped a bit, it always amazes me how people don't really know much about the set menus in top restaurants and soft launch offers. You can find more tips for living on a budget here. What's your favourite place to eat out when on a budget? 


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10 comments

  1. Great post, so handy, I will defo be trying the signing up thing and look into the tastecard, thanks :)
    catgirlblogs.wordpress.com

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    1. Definitely do, mine has saved me so much money!

      C x

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  2. This is a great post. Every weekend my friend and I are always eating out but with these tips I can involve the family too lol. I will definitely be signing up for a tastecard - the £29.99 one lol

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    1. Yes, take the family out for a bargain! I honestly don't know what I'd do without all of these set menus and offers!

      C x

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  3. I definitely agree, I love a soft launch for trying somewhere new and saving some money (if we don't don't nuts with the cocktails or wine instead). My other advice would be BYOs, most of the money on my restaurant bill tends to end up being a bottle of wine so places that do BYO (a lot of the curry places around me because they don't have a licence) are genius. Alternatively, places like Hawksmoor do £5 corkage on Mondays which is great if you fancy eating out early in the week.

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    1. Ooh that's great advice Lisa! I always forget about BYO places!

      C x

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  4. Great tips, I'm definitely going to look into getting a Tastecard now! I'll be heading back to uni in September and won't be able to keep my current lifestyle going :( xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua : Life in Italy

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    1. I'm not sure how I would have survived Uni without vouchers and my Tastecard haha! Although our Uni bar did do awesome nachos for only £3.50!

      C x

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  5. Really useful tips, thank you. I totally agree about tastecard and lunchtime menus to get the best deals. Also lots of pop up restaurants (including mine!!) are BYOB so that keeps costs down. I also let people take doggy bags with leftovers from my pop ups, when there are any, so hopefully they get 2 meals for the price of 1 :)

    Rosie
    www.alittlelusciousness.com

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  6. Great tips! I struggle to eat out on a student budget sometimes so we always use orange Wednesday 2 for 1 at Pizza Express x

    Gegsy Lifestyle & Fashion Blog

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