Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite thing to do is to go out for a meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee (even though I don’t drink coffee) … you name it. I love the atmosphere, the food, and the fact that someone is serving me! We have gone out to eat as a family ever since our kids were born. If you love eating out as much as I do, a word to the wise is to start them young! If you take them out enough, they learn very quickly how to act in a restaurant and you won’t have to give up something you love because you are afraid of your child running into the waitress or climbing across the table.

Of course the downside is that going out to eat can get very pricey, especially when you add in kids’ meals, drinks, appetizers, and the tip. Since I am not willing to give up my only vice, I’ve had to find ways to dine for less. Here are a few of my favorites…

Go to All you do is type in your zip code, and all participating restaurants in your area will pop up. Then you can purchase $25 or $50 gift cards for as little as $10 or $15! Once you buy some, you will get on their email list and they will send you specials. Last yearI got a $25 gift card for Hutch & Harris for just $4.00!!! I got a $25 gift card for Prissy Polly’s for $4.00 as well. The only catch is that there is usually a minimum you need to spend at the restaurant to use the gift card. The one for Hutch & Harris, was a minimum of $35, which is no problem, but Prissy Polly’s minimum was $50, so we’ll probably use that next time we have friends over and get a bunch of BBQ to go! You print these gift certificates out from your computer at home. It is also a great way to try out some new restaurants that you normally would not visit.

Another online coupon site is It works similar to the website I described above and it also includes printable coupons for area attractions.

Another way I save is that I always buy an “Attractions” coupon book. You can pretty much buy these from any child in school because they are probably selling them for their school fundraiser or a sport they play. This book is full of buy one get one free coupons for many restaurants in your area as well as many stores and children’s venues. If you have somehow avoided getting harassed by your friends to buy one, you can also purchase one online here. Greensboro & High Point areas are in the Piedmont Triad Book, and W-S, Kernersville, Clemmons areas are in the Western Piedmont Book.

And last, but not least, always check our Moms on Main Kids Eat Free listings . There are plenty of places in the Triad where you can dine out, purchase an adult meal, and get your child’s meal either at a discount or for free. This blog is always accessible by clicking the “Food” category. Always call ahead first to make sure they are still honoring the Kids Eat Free night. If you find any that have changed, please leave a comment at the end of the blog.

So toss aside those oven mitts and spatulas tonight and take the family out! What tips do you have for Dining Out on a budget? Share them below!