Restaurants can be a pricey indulgence. If you budget for dining out, get more bang for your buck with the "high-low" method.
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Yes, we know the best way to save money on food is making it at home. But some of us enjoy the experience of going out to eat, whether it's for date night, hanging out with friends, or enjoying a good meal. If you like the restaurant experience, but you want to get the most bang for your buck, try the "high-low" method, coined by restaurant critic Todd Kliman.
He suggests visiting cheap, hole-in-the-wall restaurants most of the time, then saving your splurges for a high-end, fancy meal. He advises avoiding anything that falls in the middle:
Most restaurants that call themselves bistros or cafes also come under this category. Any place that wants you to know that it exists to soothe your weary soul with "comfort food" belongs here. Some small, independent restaurants, the category beloved by the gastronomically adventurous, occupy this vast middle, too. Let's call these spots upper-middle.
The vast middle, in other words, is where most restaurants sit.
To put it more precisely: the restaurants that the vast majority of people think about when they thinking about going out to eat.
And you can probably guess by now what I'm going to advise you.
That's right: ignore them.
High-end establishments are easy enough to weed out, but here's what Kilman suggests for low-priced meals:
You'd slurp down a rich and aromatic bowl of pho... at one of the ubiquitous pho parlors in the area... Maybe a fasting platter at an Ethiopian restaurant is calling to you... Or maybe you're jonesing for the bright, fresh flavours of ceviche and tiradito... Not only do you give yourself a chance to explore the richness of the various cultures that make up the dining scene, which is its own reward, but with the $200-plus left over you can now splurge on a meal you might previously have deemed to be a save-for-special occasion expense.
Of course, your definition of a "high-end" restaurant might vary, and in fact, may fall under what Kilman refers to as "the vast middle". But it's your budget, so you can adjust your numbers accordingly. The point is, rather than enjoy six meals a month at mid-range prices, consider enjoying five cheaper meals, then use your savings to splurge on one fancy meal. With this method, you still get to dine out, but you might just get a richer experience. Check out the full post at the link below.
Follow This Simple Principle, and You May Never Eat a Mediocre Meal Again [The Washingtonian via Business Insider]