When our family goes out to eat, we prefer to eat at expensive restaurants. Places with all-natural ingredients and gourmet menu items, all prepared by a real chef.
I have to admit that I'm actually kind of a restaurant snob. I expect flavorful, healthful, delicious plates of food in a clean, upbeat environment with excellent customer service.
You might wonder where I get such a "picky palate."
Well, I'll tell you. I'm picky because we almost always eat AT HOME. And food at home is just soooo much better. Fresh. Nutritious. Served with Love. With the added bonus that our kids can squeal, laugh, coo, and cry all that they want. I love eating in. It's cheaper and it tastes better.
So, the title of this post is a tad bit deceiving. The REAL way to save money is by eating IN - almost all of the time. Then, when you do go out (once in a blue moon), you can afford to eat at expensive restaurants.
But you won't want to eat at expensive places just because they're expensive. The truth is that fancier places tend to serve better food. Better food will fuel your body more appropriately and may even prevent illnesses down the road. For example, eating fast food may be cheaper in the short term, but - in the long run - your "bill" for being overweight or unhealthy will be higher. You'll have to buy gym memberships, weight loss programs, blood pressure monitors, medications, etc.
What I am trying to say is it pays to be picky. You don't have to go places that charge $20+/plate. But do stay away from the everything-is-fried-and-processed shops. Even if they do have a dollar menu. A dollar today maybe...but a thousand dollars tomorrow (or more)...
Most of all, remember that eating in is the way to go for optimal money savings...both now and in the future.
Image Credit: All three of the tantalizing dishes above are part of the menu at Blue Lemon Bistro, a restaurant in Utah that I bet I'd like quite a bit.