How do you save money eating out...or staying home and cooking?


Okay then…

I have a question. @chinchi’s post and @lmnopm’s Sprouts thread reminded me of other posts I’ve been curious about on this board - grocery store savings. @bulavinaka, @paranoidgarliclover, @ElsieDee, @President_Mochi and a few others seem really good at finding the good-stuff, but not at the same price the rest of us pay. How do you find out about day-of-the week specials, sandwiches specials, baskets of inexpensive little cheeses :relaxed:, etc.: keen-eye, asking manager, email or other?



You always go big. :slight_smile:


Thanks @boogiebaby!


I have to . I am 6’ 8" . :sunglasses:




I travel very light, so I never check bags. It complicates some things (see above) and simplifies others.


Yeah, Sam regularly cooked in his hotel room in DC. I’m guessing to not cost the nonprofit more money. But I never asked him about that.


And we always check bags. But we’re retired so never in that big a rush.


My only good “find” was the unlisted 1/2 sandwich at Gelson’s. I discovered it by sheer luck. I work next door to one, so the deli staff there knows me. I once mentioned in passing, “The full sandwich is so big,” and the employee said, “Oh, you can order a half.” What the what??? :wink:


See? I have a faulty, but long memory. I remembered something about you and a sandwich in a gourmet grocery store. I figured you for someone having magical, money saving, grocery store powers. :grin:


Seems like I go out more for lunch then dinner. . .I am a great cook and I have guilt issues at times when I go out thinking those $$ could go into my bank account vs. to a restaurant.

But when I’m on vacation, it’s balls to the wall on breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner…


I just don’t want to go out for every meal. It starts to feel like a job :slight_smile: I won’t be so bold as to say I’m a “great” cook but I know my way around the kitchen and enjoy cooking local foods. Probably mentioned above that I travel with a fair number of spices, flours, oils, etc. Just me.


I love going to farmers markets and local shops when traveling. I’ve been on trips when I had to buy a little luggage bag, because of the many neat items I’ve found. Always triple-bag your stinky cheeses, though. Otherwise everyone on the airplane will hate you. :smirk:


I put those things in a checked bag. Have you been to Barcelona? La Boqueria just made me wild :slight_smile:


Nice topic @catholiver. :slight_smile:

You mentioned it partially in the OP, but one tip if you want to save money eating out is:

  • Don’t order drinks. Drinks (non-alcoholic and alcoholic) are some of the biggest money makers for restaurants. Instead of a $5 - 7 soft drink / spritzed up juice (or $12 - 16 cocktail), we’d order their free (usually) filtered water.

Many LA restaurants’ “tap water” are filtered, and taste quite clean.

  • Skip any dishes that list “Truffle” that actually don’t have Truffles. Perhaps an obvious one, but we’ve seen many dishes at local restaurants that list, like “Truffle Fries” or “Truffle Burger” that aren’t actually using Truffles. They use Truffle Oil (which doesn’t use Truffles at all). And they use that as an excuse to mark up the dish another +25 - 50%. :expressionless:

  • Skip dessert. Unless it’s a special occasion or you’re faced with some amazing, “best bite of the year” dessert, you can save money by just skipping dessert. Like you said, satisfied and “just full” is far better than being stuffed / too full. :wink:

For eating at home:

  • If you have the time, consider cooking larger / cheaper cuts of meat: Slow roasting or stewing a Pork Shoulder (2 - 3 pounds) and enjoying it for a few meals is far cheaper than getting a fancier, small cut of Pork (like bone-in loin chop or pork tenderloin).

Or roasting a whole Chicken and getting 4 - 6 servings out of it at a far cheaper price than buying boneless / skinless Chicken Breast / Thighs and you get a lot more servings for the same price. :slight_smile:


I think the only way I save money when it comes to food is by going out in Oakland instead of San Francisco and by using leftovers creatively.

I save money by dressing like a hobo and by shopping around for the best prices on commodity products.


I look at circulars and sign up for daily/weekly emails. And I note prices for my regular buys, so I buy from the supermarket that has the best price on those particular items.


Unless the kids and grands are coming I just won’t pay $2.50 for an avocado (as an example). And I will rarely go to multiple stores unless I absolutely MUST have a particular ingredient. But we’re senior citizens so,generally except for meat, price isn’t a huge factor. Except things that are just SO out there like avo’s/artichokes/etc.


Hi -

[quote=“chinchi, post:57, topic:5453”]
sign up for daily/weekly emails.
[/quote]At grocery stores?

Paying more attention to finding what I want has taken precedence over how much it costs. But I have been making a conscious effort to check prices more. Now the trick is remembering the price in order to compare at other stores.

Does anyone use the gas points on the Ralphs or other market’s receipts?



I love avocados, so won’t stop buying them. But I don’t buy organic avocados. If I’m not eating the skin of a fruit/vedg then I don’t waste money buying organic. Also, I’ve found that organic avocados don’t ripen well :thinking:.

I do go to multiple stores - not to save money (which is a waste of gas), but to get particular items.