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How to eat out on a budget

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2023-08-16 00:00

Estimated reading time
3 min

In this article

  • Tips for eating out without blowing your budget
  • Helpful ways to have a cheap night out
  • How to budget for more nights out with friends

We’ve all been there – trying to save money but craving a meal or night out with friends. So how do you do it? How do you eat out on a budget?

Well, being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to be boring – you can still have fun and enjoy eating the things you love. It’s just about balance (and a little planning too!).  From finding el-cheapo options to sharing a meal (and the cost) with friends, here’s some helpful ways you can eat out on a budget (and still enjoy it).

Tips for eating out without blowing your budget

And no, we don’t mean just ordering a side salad.

• Find a pre-theatre meal deal

If you’re after a quick and cheaper meal, see if you can find a restaurant or bar that offers pre-theatre dining. This little dinner hack typically means a smaller portion, served quickly and often with a glass of something on the side. Give it a try – even if you’re not going to the theatre.

• Become a mystery diner

Love a surprise? Happy to leave dinner to the food Gods? Then mystery dining might be for you! Did you know you can sign up to receive food, in exchange for your opinion? This can be a fun way to try new foods or restaurants and save money. Who knows, it could even make a cute date night idea! Make sure you check out the terms and conditions before signing up, though.

• Pick up dessert from the supermarket

As tempting as that gooey chocolate brownie with extra cream and a pretty flower on top is, why not try making it yourself, at home, using (cheaper) ingredients from the supermarket? You really can’t go wrong with a good old packet mix. And if you want some inspiration for other cheap and easy recipes, click the link.

• Suss your member benefits

If you’ve got private health cover, a gym or other types of memberships, see if you can get a discount at affiliated foodie spots. Whether it’s a cake and coffee deal or a percentage off your total bill, every bit counts! This can be a great way to eat out as a family, too.

• Go to a ‘meal night’

Whether it’s a pot and parma night at the local pub or Taco Tuesdays at that new Mexican diner, meal deals are some of the best ways to get bang for your foodie buck. Suss the best offerings in your local area and enjoy! Alternatively, if you’re looking to save a few dollars, consider ordering an entrée or half-serve to start (sometimes the sizes are more than you would expect)– and you can always order more if you find you’re still hungry!

• Turn on notifications

And finally, if you want to keep abreast of which restaurant is offering what deal, there are plenty of apps and newsletters that can notify you of the best happy hours, cheap eats and value-for-money spots around town. Social media accounts of local foodies and influencers can also be a good source of information. Or if you want to go old school, flip through your local newspaper for a coupon deal!


And if you still need help budgeting or working on your financial wellbeing, we can help with that too! ANZ’s handy budgeting tools takes the guesswork out of saving , and can help you figure out how much to spend on eating out per month. Give them a go!

How to eat out on a budget
Financial Wellbeing Coach

Want it or need it?

If dining out is a must-have in your budget, then it might be time to take a look at your expenses and see where else you can trim the fat from your wants and needs to make room for it.

Plan your spend



The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations. You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.