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Eating out with 7 and still saving money!

Ah yes, the old dilemma of wanting to go out for dinner with the kids, and then having to either wait while they shove tables together or sitting at a table made for 12. When you don’t have the normal little family, you know--mom, dad, 2.5 kids (still trying to figure out how you have half a kid)--then you have issues with restaurants. And if you stop at a fast food joint like the golden arches, then you are really in trouble. Have you tried to convince your twins that it is fun to sit in a high chair when they are so not wanting to sit in it? No! You should really try it sometime. Make sure you have fries to throw first. It adds to the whole “boy have I got a story to tell” moments later in life.

Now on top of the seating “issues” there is also the matter of actually ordering the food in a timely manner and making sure the order is right. I advice if you are going to a restaurant that you go to often, ask for a copy of the menu so that you can decide on the way there what everyone wants. Once you have managed to sit down, gotten every one's order straight, be sure to really add on the charm and ask sweetly if the kids food can be brought out early so that they will have more time to eat. We all know that the parents will be done and waiting on the kids before the night is over if you don’t!

Now comes the bill. But if you have been really smart, then you have picked a night where kids eat free. Who ever came up with that deserves a huge kiss. Right on the smacker. Our kids are ages 4 up to 10, so we are still in the kids meal zone. Mainly. Our 10 year old has some nights when she wants to pretend to be grown up. Make sure you have read the guidelines carefully. This can save you even more. Some restaurants give you so many free kids per paying adult. Usually it is two. So we can go out, and only pay for one kid and the husband and myself. I can’t tell you how many times though that I have been brought the bill and only had one of the kids taken off. I will let the waitress know, ask her if they changed their policy, point out on the menu what it says, and then ask for her to speak with the manager about correcting it. Don’t be nutso about it. Just be normal and nice.

Dessert is another matter entirely. One on which I can only say...decide ahead if there will be any and hold to it. We rarely get dessert out. It is just too expensive. Especially when I can stop and pick up a carton of ice cream and voila dessert!

Dinner out with the kids is a special treat, and even though you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for the whole family to go out, you can still swing it. You just have to be creative with timing and be flexible when ordering off the menu. Enjoy your time out. Enjoy not having to clean up the french fries off the floor or washing the dishes.

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Comment by Brandi Best on March 29, 2011 at 8:49pm
Glad you found something helpful in it Heather! Congrats on your pregnancy! Really if you want the whole soup, salad, entree, dessert, then just make sure the kids food comes out early. It gives them plenty of time to eat and you can enjoy your meal if you know you aren't going to be waiting on around on them. We definitely still have fun when we go out. :)
Comment by Heather Woolley on March 29, 2011 at 8:37pm
I am only pregnant with my first child now, but you definitely offer some great advice. Although this will be our first I know we would like to hopefully have 3 children eventually.  My husband and I do not go out to eat all the time but we do tend to get all courses when we do get out.  I can see by what you are saying that this will probably change dramatically once kids enter the equation.  It is very smart to look for the kids eat free restaurants and special offers.  Thanks for the heads up!!!


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