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5 tips for making eating out cheaper: Including budget envelopes

It’s not easy to find the time, space and money to eat out. Before lockdown, we took it for granted that we could eat out. Now we are getting back into the swing of going out for our food, it is harder to be able to afford to do so. That’s why we have a few ideas for you to use, including our own printable budget envelopes to help make eating out easier despite the constraints on budgets.

It is becoming more and more important for restaurants to provide sufficient value to their customers when we do choose to eat out. We are ever more careful about where we spend out money.

Restaurants need to go that extra mile to win our business.

So what can you do to make dining out that little bit cheaper?

1. Use our budget envelopes to save for a meal out

It can be difficult to be disciplined enough to save for those times we are eating out. We can also go out without a plan, and that means we end up spending a lot more than we wanted to. Spontaneity might be fun, but it doesn’t help the bank balance. Not putting thought into that night out, can mean we spend more.

We’ve got ideas for you though.

Why not:

  • Decide on a budget for the meal you want,
  • Decide when you are going to go out,
  • Choose the restaurant and book it,
  • Choose how much you will save for your night out, and how often,
  • Print out one of our budget envelopes, and pop in the amount you decided at the intervals that you calculate you need to so you can reach your goal!


We have a number of different versions of these envelopes, so that you can decide how to save for those meals out.

You might decide to save for a specific kind of restaurant.

For example, 50% more people are eating in French restaurants since the pandemic, so perhaps you’d like to join them?

Alternatively, maybe you would like to save for a specific target, say £100 to eat out with your partner, or £150 for your family of six.

You can then label and save, ready to go out to your chosen restaurant when you have hit your target.

Our first three pages include the cover sheet, and then a couple of envelopes with designs on. One without a title, so you can decide how you save, either a genre, a specific restaurant, or a total budget.

For the other envelopes, we have no designs, so that you keep the printer ink costs down!

To get this resource – scroll down to the button a little lower after all our tips.

As you can see, the envelopes are easy to make. Just cut out the designs along the full line, and fold along the dotted ones. Leave the tops open, of course, so you can get the money in whenever you save it!

2. Combine our envelopes with a discount club

To further help with managing your budgets, why not sign up for a discount club, so that you get regular deals on your favourite restaurants?

A great example of this, is tastecard; this club offers some great deals and some of your favourite places to eat, including 2 for 1 offers at chains like Zizzi, Pizza Hut, Cafe Rouge, and Bella Italia. We have even managed to use the site to find restaurant deals near me with some of the best offers in the past.

tastecard members (£5.99 a month) save an average of £18.88 a meal, so eating out once a month means that you can save nearly £230 on eating out.

You can get the pleasure, without the pain! 😂

3. Check out your favourite restaurants midweek

Restaurants tend to have deals on in midweek, particularly outside of school holidays. This is simply good marketing because there is much more chance for them to be busy anyway at weekends.

They entice customers in when they are likely to have fewer inside anyway. Midweek deals are an obvious way to get more customers through the door when there is lower footfall anyway.

Watch out for the promotions from your favourite places. You might find that booking a Wednesday night in advance, and organising yourself a little more on a week night really pays off in terms of the savings that you can make.

4. Consider bring your own bottle restaurants too

When we eat out, we have a tendency to spend much more on the alcohol, whether that is being asked to sit at the bar for a bit while the table is being made ready, or just ordering a more expensive bottle of wine with the meal.

It might be worth considering some restaurants for your nights out that are bring your own bottles. This means that you are likely to spend a lot less on alcohol, as you can pick and choose what you drink, and by it at supermarket prices.

For example, a bottle of Prosecco in a restaurant might set you back £30, but buying one from Waitrose is about £7.99!

5. Order tap water

Finally, you could make that healthier decision when you are dining out, and just order tap water with the food.

Drinking water is an important part of staying healthy, with most recommendations that we should be aiming to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day.

Why not make it easier by sticking to tap water at the table when you go out?

We do hope that you like this resource – just click the button below to download it now:

If you are after more budgeting ideas on KiddyCharts, why not check these out too?

Budgeting content on KiddyCharts

Here are some other ideas about budgeting on our site - why not go and take a look?

There are other ideas here too:

Budgeting ideas from outside KiddyCharts

Here are some more ideas for budgeting that we hope that you will find useful.

If you like what you see here – why not sign up to our newsletter?

We’d love to see you on the site again soon – check out our shop as well – we have some great activities and ideas for the kids there too.

Take care,


This post is in conjunction with tastecard but all thoughts are our own.

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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