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10 Budget-Friendly Tips to Eating Out for Students

25th November 2013 Chris Clark Careers and Finance, London Life

After a long, hard day of lectures and seminars, the last thing you’ll probably want to do when you get home is slave over the dinner. The only problem is, yesterday you spent a fortune on the weekly shop. But dining out is a great way to socialise, kick back and relax, so we’ve compiled a list of handy tips to help you do so without breaking the bank. Therefore you won’t feel quite as guilty as you come home with a stomach almost as full as your cupboards.

Man pouring water in restaurant

1. Get your fill of freebies

Ok, so cramming 50 tomato ketchup sachets into your bag can be a little demeaning, but that’s not the only free thing most restaurants offer. By law, eateries in the UK have to serve tap water for free, which can be a great way of saving an essential couple of pounds when eating out.

2. Embrace pub grub

Eating out in a good old English pub is a lifelong British tradition that all students, local and international, should get their teeth into. Not only do pubs offer great, friendly atmospheres, but also a menu that can be much cheaper than other restaurant chains.

3. Dine out at lunch not dinner

After a few meals out, you’ll soon suss out the cheapest places to eat, but also the cheapest times to eat. Especially in London, you can save up to 60% on a meal just by ordering it at a different time of day. Eating out in the afternoon rather than the evening can save you cash and leave your evenings free for other essential student activities, like partying or relaxing.

4. Become a restaurant reviewer

This is a great option for those students who love putting pen to paper. Most student newspapers have a local section, talking about the best things to do and the best eat spots. Get involved, as most restaurants may be interested in providing you with a free meal in exchange for a glowing review.

5. Ask the locals

Get friendly with local students or other members of the community, as they will always know the best (and cheapest) places to eat out, and they’ll be more than happy to share the secrets of their amazing town with you.

6. Look for discount vouchers

Just by typing into Google something along the lines of ‘restaurant discount vouchers – London’ you can find a plethora of free voucher codes for hundreds of popular restaurants. They can range from anything from a free desert to 20% off the final bill, and all you have to do is print the voucher and present it to your server.

7. Sharing is caring

A great tip for your waist line as well as your wallet, order lots of small dishes between a group of your best mates and all dig in! Sharing food is a great conversation piece, especially whilst developing new friendships and can be a great way to try lots of different local dishes.

Tapas dishes

8. Go green

An option that will fill most carnivores with dread, but occasionally ordering the vegetarian option will not only save you cash as most veggie options are cheaper than the meat alternative, but will also open your taste buds up to a new world of flavours whilst being healthy too.

9. Bring your own bottle

Lots of restaurants (especially Indian ones) provide the option for you to bring your own drinks or alcohol. This is a good way to instantly save money as drinking out in restaurants is often much more expensive than if you were to purchase your drinks at a supermarket.

10. Sign up for restaurant deals

When eating out at lots of restaurant chains, you’ll be given the opportunity to give them your email in which you’ll be sent loads of offers and news from them. So don‘t be put off thinking you’ll get lots of spam in your inbox – a lot of the offers are really worthwhile and can save you cash.

Let us know your favourite money saving tips in the comments.

Chris Clark

Chris Clark

For more great posts from Urbanest about accomodation, London life, study tips and much more, visit the Student Journal.