How To Eat Out For Less

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420x316-grad-lee Dee Lee
Dee Lee is a Certified Financial Planner who received a diploma in...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Eating out is one of America’s favorite past times. I like good food and particularly I like good food I don’t have to cook. But I am also cheap!

So no I am not going to tell you to stop eating out, just do it smarter. I am not going to cover all of the new websites out there like Groupon or CBS Local that offer you deals where you have to buy a certificate to get 30-50% off your dinner. We did that earlier in the month.

This is about coupons and cheap meals! They are often available in the Sunday papers or online. Type in “restaurant coupons in the Boston area” and all sorts of resources pop up.

Some of the restaurants have e-mail newsletters and if you sign up, they will send you coupons. I have a coupon from Not Your Average Joe’s for a free entrée and dessert for my birthday.

How about lunch out instead of dinner? Smaller portions with a smaller price tag. One of the best lunch deals I found was a three-course lunch for $3.21 with much larger portions than Weight Watchers suggests at The Fife and Drum restaurant at the North Eastern Correctional Center in Concord. It is open 4 days a week, Tuesday thru Friday, 11:30 to 12:30. (978-371-7941)

And yes, it is in a prison! They train inmates for jobs before they are released. Food is diner style and plentiful and I met many regulars from Concord who eat there several days a week. I have never been disappointed eating there.

I have several coupons from McDonald’s for smoothies, buy-one/get-one free. My granddaughter and I stop there frequently and we get two smoothies. Now I can get one free. Not a bad deal. Again, these are coupons; I have not paid anything to get them.

Try the website Mommy Saves Big. I found coupons and links to many chain restaurants. That’s where I got my McDonald’s coupons. Most require you to sign up for their newsletter to get the coupons and deals but if you eat at some restaurant regularly with the kids, you can get some good deals.

Try the early bird specials. I know, I can hear you saying that’s for the old folks and maybe it is but you can save money and you avoid the crowds. Eating at 5:30 is the trade-off and often you can get a three-course meal for what you would have spent on one entree.

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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