BOSTON (CBS) – Eating out is entertainment for Americans. $1.7 billion is spent in restaurants every day. Every Day. Over 50% of our food budget is for food prepared for us.

And I am as guilty as everyone else here. I love to eat out! The best things I make in the summer are reservations. So I am always on the lookout for coupons, early bird specials, two for the price of one specials, etc.

Early bird specials are not just for retirees or at 4 in the afternoon. We frequent a local restaurant, Devens Grill and the early bird specials go until 6 pm. We often go there with our granddaughter because she’s 6. And you can find a coupon in the local papers. So you can have a dinner for $10 and use your $5 coupon. A really good deal.

Look to the restaurants themselves and join their e-mail clubs and they will send you coupons. Every year Not Your Average Joe’s sends me a birthday present. A coupon for one free entree and one dessert big enough to share. Also Bertucci’s, Olive Garden, Pizzeria Uno, and Buca di Beppo send me coupons to use.

Try the Entertainment book that is published for the area you live in. There are discounts on eating out as well as entertainment, shopping and travel.

Try which is one of my favorite sites, where you can buy a dining certificate worth $10 for $4 or a $25 certificate for $10. Right now Turner Fisheries restaurant in Boston is available as is 3 different Irish pubs.

It will only be a good deal if you find some place you want to go. I had had the Stonehedge Inn in Tyngsboro on my short list so when I found a deal for it, I grabbed it, a $25 certificate that I paid $1 for. We had a wonderful dinner.

There is also Groupon, Living Social and Double Take Deals which are websites where discounts are offered. You do have to sign up and they send out a daily e-mail with other sales as well. And when that daily e-mail comes don’t get suckered into something because it sounds like a good deal. Impulse shopping can happen online just as easily as it does in a store. Perhaps easier.

Don’t want to get so many e-mails, try District Finds, which sorts through all of the websites that I have mentioned and more and sends you one e-mail each day, but it is later in the day.

And for something upscale try Gilt City. My sister-in-law loves it, for my niece lives in Boston and when she comes to visit her there is always something fun to do she tells me. They are going rock climbing on the next visit.


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