Every guide to living cheap should have a section on dining out.
There are special occasions that require we go out. That doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg. Nothing irritates me more than to go into an overpriced restaurant with poor food. It rarely happens today… you can avoid this as well if you follow some advice.
Guide to living cheap rule number one
Avoid restaurants that cater to tourists
You can be assured if a restaurant does not have a local base of customers they advertise heavily to attract visitors and tourists. Any restaurant you see advertising in those slick “free newspapers” or tourist magazines should be avoided.
They have to recoup the advertising some way and guess who is going to pay. Look for restaurants the locals patronize. Here’s a great way to find a good cheap restaurant in a strange town.
Guide to cheap living rule number two
Look for pickups parked outside
As a rule construction workers and tradesmen look forward to lunchtime and a good meal. They are not going to pay too much and they want large portions. Let these hardworking men and women be your guide to picking a good cheap restaurant. This tip rarely has failed us… if it works for you, pass it on.
Guide to cheap living rule number three
Ask the locals where they eat
Find a local you can relate to and ask him or her where they like to eat. Now just use common sense. Don’t ask the dude filling up his Porsche. Instead ask the bartender/barmaid at the motel. Maybe the nice clerk where you are shopping.
You know who looks approachable…go ahead…tell him or her you are looking for a good local restaurant, where they eat, with no tourists. This tip also is very reliable, especially if you hear the same place mentioned more than once.
Guide to living cheap rule number four
If you eat dinner before 7PM your chances of finding a cheap good meal can increase. Lots of restaurants offer reduced menu prices from 4 PM to 6 or 7. It is good for them; it gets the kitchen going, good for you if you are a patron.
Another plus is if you dine early, you are likely driving home before dark. It is a sad fact that some drink and drive…better to be home when they are on the road.
Guide to living cheap rule number five
Look for local restaurants that advertise in local papers, the ones tossed on your driveway. Their target audience is the local populace not the tourists, see rule number one. They usually offer two for ones, sometimes early evening. Occasionally you will find something totally free. You can’t beat free.