Dining Out on a Budget
Going out for a date night dinner at the new Italian hotspot, catching up with friends at the trendy cafe, or a bonding with the family for a meal at the local pub is a great way to get together for food and fun without having to do the dishes. Eating out is a way to explore different cuisines, be tended to, and not have to worry about burning the casserole.
While it's an enjoyable experience, dining out will cost you, and the bill adds up even in at the restaurants which claim to be budget-friendly. This doesn't mean you can't go out to eat every now and then, as long as you pay attention to money matters.
Don't go broke over a bowl of spaghetti Bolognese. You can dine out on a budget and still have a wonderful experience. Don't worry, we're not sending you through the fast food drive through and calling it gourmet dining.
1. Split Some Apps
Rather than jumping right to the entrée section of the menu, peruse the array of appetizers. Not to start the meal, but to be your meal. Apps are always tempting and notably cheaper than the main course selections.
As per U.S. News & World Report, "If an appetizer will fill you up, skip the entree. Your wallet, and possibly health, will benefit."
You can order a variety of apps for the table to share. Those along with the free bread, are sure to be enough to eat. If you're still looking for a little something extra, get a side salad or a cup of soup. Viola…
2. Head Out for Happy Hour
Start the evening early and go out during happy hour. Drinks will be half off or be offered at a savings, as will select apps and dishes. Restaurants are looking for customers to come by at all hours, so they offer these deals to make the most of the night.
U.S. News & World Report recommends, "When you arrive, make sure you clarify with the staff whether you need to sit in the bar to take advantage of those deals."
Happy hour meals are casual, convenient, and cost-effective. Plus, you won't get home too late!
3. Hit Up Deal Sites
Before you select the restaurant you want to dine at, poke around on online deal sites and see which local restaurants are offering deals and coupons.
According to Cash Cow Couple, "You can immediately cut your food bill by around 50% by utilizing online group buy sites. Options like Restaurant.com, Groupon, Living Social and other related sites offer big discounts, often something like $20 of food for $10."
This is not only a great way to save, but to try new area restaurants you may not have gone to otherwise. With these coupons, you can put the savings towards your next meal out.
4. Ditch the Drinks
Yes, crafty cocktails and goblets of cabernet are enjoyable, but restaurants jack up the prices for liquor and wine tremendously. If you can go without the buzz, you'll save a ton of dough (and brain cells).
Opt for water (free), or go for a simple club soda or iced tea in lieu of the liquor. You'll save money and calories. If you really love a glass or two of wine with dinner, opt for a restaurant that has a BYOB policy and bring along a reasonably priced bottle of wine you can pick up at the liquor store on the way to eat. Or, wait until you get home and relax with a nightcap on the sofa. It's safer and cheaper.
It's time to eat! Go out and stress less when you savor your supper and your savings!
Every time payday rolls around, I’m on top of the world. Jeff Bezos-level rich - even though I’m anything but. And then somehow the very next day, rent is due.
The cycle continues. The next payday, bills for my apartment. I find myself without a surplus of savings since I just moved and newly-furnished my apartment completely.
Even more terrifying is the looming presence of the holiday season. Halloween’s officially over and before we know it, hello Thanksgiving…and then there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s. It’s insane.
I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.
Now that fall is officially here, the holidays will sweep in and I’ll have to contend with the fact that I won’t be spending them with my family in the UK. I went home to London earlier this year, so there’s not much left in my travel budget for another trip across the pond. A few domestic jaunts might be in my future, but the closest I’ll get to England this winter is watching Love Island and Love, Actually.
So in that spirit, I’ve been filling my days with content from my favorite Brits. I’m listening to all the old British rock bands I grew up listening to, patiently awaiting the new Arctic Monkeys album, and rewatching anything with Michaela Coel in it. I even shipped myself an order of British Baked Beans, so you know it’s dire.
I’ve also been watching British YouTubers like Grace Beverley — my favorite. Generally, I only go on YouTube to watch Vogue Beauty Secrets and AD Open Door videos. But I’m so glad I stumbled on Grace. Her content is a mix of London lifestyle (what lured me in), relatable entrepreneurship, and mindful productivity. I’m not a hustle-and-grind-girlboss, but as a creative person in a 9-to-5, I need all the help I can get to stay plugged in. So, the video “how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed” changed my approach to WFH.
Grace outlines her own productivity method: the to-do table. Instead of making a simple to-do list, she divides her tasks into a table that anyone can follow. As someone who’s survived with to-do lists for years, I recently implemented Grace’s method, and it’s revolutionized my workdays.
how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmedwww.youtube.com
I follow her routine to a tee. Here’s how it works:
Essentially, she divides her daily responsibilities into four categories: quick ticks, tasks, projects, and non-negotiables.
- Quick Ticks: Actions that take less than 5-minutes
- Tasks: To-do’s that take up to 30-minutes. Probably don’t take too much brain energy.
- Projects: Long-term list items. These help guide your priorities, even if you’re not crossing them off in one day.
- Non-negotiables: Pick 3 things each day that you must get done. This is how you’ll truly measure success.
With everything written down and sorted, next address your schedule. Meetings, deadlines, and time blocks — whatever works best for you. Write it down. Then make a pact with yourself to stick to them.
This way of categorization provides a roadmap for prioritizing your day — making you far more productive. Have you ever spent the entire day on small tasks and then suddenly realized you hadn’t moved the needle on any task? Or do you spend way too much time on tasks that aren’t a priority? No more. With your non-negotiables laid out, you know what to laser-focus on and what to dedicate energy towards.
Also, it pays to know your working style. I’m not a morning person. Yet, I have to be up and at ‘em super early. So, first thing in the morning, I march through my Quick Ticks to warm me up. I set a time limit, so I can knock out some easy wins which is totally inspiring. Then I move on to bigger things without lingering on emails or admin. For others, it might be more helpful to tackle the big things with all that early-in-the-day brain power earlier.
Grace has great tips on avoiding overwhelm and burnout. My favorite is taking more intentional breaks rather than scrolling through social media. I call this scrolling “productive” because I’m “coming up with pitches.” Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s more productive in the long run to giving my brain a break with non-screen related stimuli.
Grace’s solution? Set a timer to read a real, an actual book. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a genius way to check off some books on my TBR and kickstart my creativity. After reading a good book, I’m completely inspired to write. So having books near my desk helps me step away from the computer during my lunch break for an actual reset. (And yes, the current books I’m reading are by British authors: Assembly by Natasha Brown, and Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalolu.)
In my pursuit of switching out my WFH set-up and getting my life together, I’ve engineered my workstation for success. With my new WFH essentials and Grace’s productivity technique, I’m revitalized for work — despite the fall blues and my melancholy about the pending holidays.
Here are the things getting me hyped for work and helping me crush my Grace Beverley-inspired to-do tables — no lists in sight:
Pack your bags — Southwest Airlines is having a major sale! Fares are as low as $59 one-way if you book by October 3rd.
This end-of-summer super sale is a game-changer for your travel plans through the end of the year. Summertime travel gets all the glory. But why not take advantage of your long weekends, holidays, and PTO this fall. You’ll be surprised at how much travel you can fit in. Keep the fall/winter season exciting with domestic trips that give you all the excitement without breaking the bank. All thanks to Southwest.
Here’s the breakdown:
Where can you go?
You’ll find discounted tickets to and from most airports. Sale fares apply to cross country travel, and even Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean! Whether you’re visiting a new city or revisiting your last beach vacation, this sale has fares to make your travel dreams come true.
What do the fares cover?
Southwest Airlines has multiple fare tiers, each with various benefits. Wanna Get Away fares start at $59, while Wanna Get Away Plus fares start at $89. You can also find great deals on Anytime fares, which offer priority boarding and express lanes. Then there’s Business Select tickets for a luxe experience at an affordable price point.
Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member?
You may think these sale fares are too good to be true. Is there a catch? Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member to access them? You’re in luck — anyone can attain these fares for a limited time.
But, insider tip, you should consider signing up for Southwest Rapid Rewards. With a free sign up, you earn points and miles with each trip you take. And with this sale, each dollar you spend on these discounted tix can stretch super far until you eventually earn free travel. The only thing better than a sale is free stuff.
I’ve been browsing the Southwest Airlines site, checking out flights and dreaming.