Restaurant Tip Guide

This is never a pretty sight. Keeping the number lower can make it less painful, however.

It’s no secret that college kids lack financial resources. It’s hard to maintain a job and make money while attending school. However, we still want to do fun things despite the shortage of currency, such as going out to eat, buying beer, going bowling, hit the bars, etc. I’m going to talk about the first one, going out to eat.

Many students, like myself, avoid going out to eat due to the relatively high cost and the fact that a tip is expected. Others still go out to eat regardless because they dig the social atmosphere, want to get out of the house or just don’t feel like cooking altogether. I’m here to give those kinds of people a little speck of advice. There are many simple, yet effective ways to go to a restaurant and not end up paying over $15 or even $10 (depending on what you get).

Your bank account will thank you later.

One thing you can do to lower your bill at the end of the night is to order correctly. More often than not, restaurants will have a special on a given night. This can go for both food and drinks. For example, restaurants typically do a burger Monday type of deal, where you can get a burger with fries for five or six bucks. It varies among where you go and what kind of burger you get, but overall you’re getting a good buy. Look for those specials and take advantage of them. I’m not saying only get the specials, but you don’t need to order a full rack of ribs. Find something that you can be satisfied with that’s at a reasonable price.

This applies to drinks too, especially beer. Most restaurants do deals on tap beer, usually something like $3. Even if there isn’t a special on tap beer, you’re still better off to purchase that as opposed to bottled beer. You get more beer and the chances are the cost will be a little less. Bottles seem to be a slight rip off given the price and how much beer you actually get. I know it’s fancy and is more fun to sip out of, but make the right choice there.

There are many simple, yet effective ways to go to a restaurant and not end up paying over $15 or even $10.

Another really effective way to reduce cost is to drink water. Water is free on tap at any and all restaurants that I know of. Substituting this for soda or beer can really help keep your bill low. I know lots of you like soda with your meal, and who doesn’t? You might even be thinking: “Getting soda is like $3 and you get free refills, so it won’t even matter.” While that may be slightly true for someone paying for themselves, think about it from a family standpoint. Say you’re a parent and you’re taking your spouse and four kids out to eat. They all order soda (or chocolate milk, apple juice or whatever drink kids order that costs money) and you and your significant other order a beer. Everyone gets what they want, you finish and your bill comes. “Honey, it’s $75; that seems a bit high.” Let’s just say that number could have easily been cut to $60 if everyone gets water. It’s unbelievable how much your bill tallies up by simply ordering a soda. Get your water so the tab isn’t slaughtered.

I have one last piece of advice for saving money at restaurants. Now, I’m not going to tell you not to tip because you should give the server a tip every time. However, I will say doing both my first and second suggestions can reduce the amount you are expected to tip. They say you should tip at least 10 percent of your total bill. If you know how to do math at all, you would know that the lower your bill is, the less you have to tip. If you follow my first two steps, the third one just comes naturally.

With that, I encourage all of you to go out to eat. It’s fun, the atmosphere is nice and it’s a pleasant experience for everyone involved. Just keep in mind the things I mentioned before walking in there. I promise that at the end of the night when you’re at home stuffed and ready to go to bed, you’ll be glad to have gotten the restaurant experience and saved some money. Your bank account will thank you later.

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