I do enjoy eating out (and I'm sure this has nothing at all to do with my poor cooking skills).

Either way, what I enjoy even more than eating out is eating out while saving money.

These five tips can help ensure you always have coupons on hand when you feel like eating out!

1. Restaurant.com

Restaurant.com should be your go-to resource to find deals and discounts for your favorite eateries—especially if you’re having difficulty finding them elsewhere.

Here are some of the ways to save:

  • Sign up for their email list to get discounts below even what the website offers.
  • Visit the "Specials" page for trending time-limited deals.
  • Be sure to read the fine print and call the restaurant (to verify they accept Restaurant.com coupons) before you buy.
  • Remember you can always exchange unused deals online. 

2. Groupon.com

Groupon is a simple, reliable tool you can use to score savings on eating out (and on many other sweet deals!).

Here is how to save:

  • Enter your email on the homepage.
  • Watch your "Daily Deals" as they enter your email inbox and nab the ones you like.
  • Be sure to read the fine print and any exclusions/restrictions before you purchase.
  • Check competitor sites like Living Social for additional deals.

 

3. Restaurant’s individual or franchise/chain websites

Just a few years ago, restaurateurs were still more concerned with PPH (price per head) and plate appeal than online marketing. Today, things have changed. In addition to being able to order online, now you can save just by visiting the restaurant's website in advance (a few examples are in the photos below).

Ways to save:

  • Join the email list.
  • Join the birthday club.
  • Ask about a frequent diner program.
  • Follow them on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram).
  • Sign up for the blog RSS feed.

4. Local events and festivals

Local events and festivals can be a great way to score freebies, discounts, coupons, gift certificates and more ways to save.

For example, "Restaurant Week" has become an annual nationwide event, bringing fixed-price menus to even the most expensive eateries in town and making them financially accessible places to dine.

Where I live, we also have several city and community festivals each year that feature a large gathering of local restaurants, many of which bring email sign-up lists, giveaways, freebies and coupons to market to local festival-goers. From food truck "all you can eat" events to downtown tastings night, keep an eye on your city's local events and festivals to score savings.

How to save:

  • Sign up for your city website's local events listings.
  • Watch your community bulletins in your neighborhood.
  • Read the finer print on announcements for local festivals and community events to see whether/which eateries are featured.

5. Alternative weekly papers

Finally, alternative weekly papers are a great source of both mainstream and "underground" intel about what's happening locally. In addition to picking up coupons and deals geared to local tastes, you can read reviews and decide where your money will be best spent.

Why take the time? The advertisement rates are typically lower in these papers than they are in the big city papers, and since often these papers are also distributed by zip code to specific regions, it makes them very attractive advertising media to local restaurants with limited ad budgets!

How to save:

  • Look past the headline and feature stories and look closer towards the back where the ads appear.
  • Snip out the great coupons, freebie announcements (like "free happy hour appetizer with drink purchase") and other deals you find there!