Ideas for saving money on meals during family days out

If you're enjoying more days out during the summer, an extra expense is often the food and drinks you'll need to buy while you're out and about. Here are some ideas for saving money on meals when you're eating out - or even if you're staying in with a takeaway...

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Days out with the family during the school holidays can soon add up, especially with the cost of meals out on top of the activities you’re enjoying.

So, how can you save money on family days out and, in particular, eating out? Don’t worry – it IS possible to make savings, you just need to know where to look.

Opt for offers

I rarely ever eat out without checking for a special offer before I book. I think it’s the thrifty student in me coming out – I know that I can find somewhere lovely to eat without it breaking the bank if I just look around for those offers.

For example, when I was a student I used a tastecard to get money off and 2 for 1 deals at restaurants, along with discounted cinema tickets and days out. But it’s not just for students – anyone can get a trial of tastecard for just £1 and start saving money straight away.

As a student, I’ve had the pleasure of unearthing fantastic deals throughout Lancashire, and my quest for more exciting finds has not stopped there. With tastecard I’ve found restaurant offers in London to help me save money when travelling to the capital, which can often be an expensive trip without using those deals.

It’s easy to search for meal deals online before you set off for your day out with the family. All it takes is a little bit of pre-planning and you can cut the costs of your adventure massively. Plus, it gives you a little structure to your day if you know when and where you’re going to eat in advance, which prevents anyone from becoming hangry!

Take your own

If you’ve got a long day out planned and know that you’ll need food or drinks while you’re away from home, you could plan ahead and make your own packed lunch.

I often make little rolls for lunch and throw a banana in my bag if I think I’m going to get hungry while I’m out. Likewise with drinks – take a bottle of water with you and refill as needed throughout the day.

With hot drinks, I prefer to buy fresh tea and coffee while I’m out for the day (although I’ll always have a travel cup of tea with me in the car for the journey). That said, there are always offers to be had with hot drinks too – such as 25% off barista-made drinks with Coffee Club and Caffe Nero when using a tastecard.

Again, most offers are promoted online so check out what coffee shops are local to the place you’re visiting and have a browse on their websites to discover deals in advance that you can take advantage of.

Save on takeaways

Even if you’ve got a cupboard full of ingredients to make delicious low-cost recipes, sometimes you just want to eat a treat, right? I find that, when the weekend rolls around, I’m much more likely to order a takeaway and enjoy an evening away from the kitchen. Also, if you’ve been out for the day with the family, you’ll probably all be nicely tired out and just want to grab a bite to eat without having to cook

Again, this is a great opportunity to look for offers on your takeaway. There’s no need to pay full price if you can shop around to find a bargain on your evening treat. Plus, if you already have a tastecard for your meals out, you’ll also get 50% off pizza delivery, which is my favourite takeout meal!

Another tip – sometimes our eyes are bigger than our bellies so it might be worthwhile reducing the volume of your takeaway order. For example, a set menu from the Chinese takeaway might include more items than you would really want, so why not make up your own meal with just your favourite items?

This can also help to make your takeaway a little healthier. I’ve also found that, although a 15-inch pizza looks impressive, there’s no way that we are going to finish it as a family. So, I can save a few pounds on every pizza by ordering a 12- or 9-inch pizza instead, and nothing goes to waste.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for saving money on your meals out in the comments below. I’d love to hear your ideas for cutting the cost of family days out during the summer holidays too, so please share your hacks. Thanks! 🙂

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This article is a sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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