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In the western world a lot of people don't have time to cook food at home; especially the working mothers. In the modern era the roles of a woman are changing and all members of household are expected to work. This all leads to eating outside and spending more money than you really need to.
Eating outside can cost a lot of money if you choose a "high-status" fine dining restaurant. You can easily save $30-$40 every time you go out to eat. Firstly, you need to decide if you are eating out for food or for a special occasion. If you are eating out regularly because you don't have time to cook, then avoid going to fine dining restaurants at all costs!
Fine dining restaurants have a lot of expenses such as the plates, table cloth, servers, etc. This is why fine dining restaurants can cost up to 3 times more than an ordinary restaurant. If you are going out to eat regularly choose a restaurant where there are no servers because the wages are one of the biggest restaurant expenses and if there are no wages to pay then food will be much cheaper. The quality of the food does not get affected and you won't need to give any tips which can add up to a large amount.
Self-serving restaurants such as McDonald's, Steak House, and most other fast food restaurants are mostly self-serving and that is why the food is much cheaper. You can always find a lot of items to satisfy your hunger in self-serving restaurants. But if you are going for a special occasion and would like to go to a place where you are served and have all the luxuries then it will definitely cost more, but you still have options. Most dining restaurants have discount rates and some will allow kids to eat for free because they make enough money from the adults.
Another type of restaurant you want to avoid is all you can eat buffet restaurant. Firstly, it is unhealthy and secondly it costs much more than average meals, especially if you don't eat for the money. Many people over eat at buffets because they paid for it and this causes bloating of the stomach, stomach ache, and even lower metabolism.
If you want to save money when eating out, you must avoid buffets at all costs! Think about it. Why would a restaurant allow you to eat more than you paid for? Buffet price is set at maximum standards; meaning that the price you pay is actually the price for the maximum amount of food an average human being can eat at one meal. You need to be really hungry and have a lot of capacity to actually eat more than the expense of the food.
This is the reason why many buffet restaurants continue to be in business and make a lot of profits. The food and service aren't the only ways to save money when going out. Another way to save money is to set a standard server tip. This means that whenever you leave tips for the server, give them a standard amount. Something like $5 is low, but still counts as a tip.
It may make you look cheap, but if you are tight financially then you need to save on tips. There is no reason to give $20-40 in tips when you cannot afford to. The servers get a salary so you aren't hurting them too much. But again, if you go to a self-serving restaurant you won't need to worry about all these things at all and save a lot of money.
In conclusion, the best way to save money is to avoid restaurants with luxuries other than food such as fast service, interior decoration, top notch furniture, etc. Your only priority should be the quality of the food which will not get affected if you avoid luxuries of a five star restaurant. So start looking for restaurants where you serve yourself, and don't have to waste money to help restaurant provide the luxuries.