Happy Frugal Friday! I have an extra special guest post today from Miss Monique from Food Snob. I love Monique and I had the priviledge to hang out with her not once but twice last year when I visited NYC. I am so happy I met her via the blogs since she is just all around fabulous and one of the blogs I have to check out every day! She is going to tell you all about her crafty ways to save money in the Big Apple!
I can’t exactly recall the moment when I discovered Ms. Shaka’s blog, but I know I became hooked immediately. I love her wit and cheery outlook on life. And who could resist a blog that has daily doses of cuteness with the adorable Lincoln? Seriously, who?
I met Tiffany last year in person and again a few months ago. We are two peas in the same pod. What’s not to love about this girl? When she asked me to guest blog, I was honored. Like, extremely and I sought out an opportunity to put a little bit of me and a little bit of her into one amazingly awesome blog post.
Her latest addition: Frugal Fridays, is turning into my favorite segment. I am, in no way, a bargainista. In the city that never sleeps (good ol’ NY, NY) saving isn’t as easy. But I have found ways of coping with the price tag that comes with dining out and having fun all while maintaining a breathable budget.
One thing that I have been doing as of late (and this is helpful to you single folk) is that prepare two new recipes per week and grocery shop ONLY for what I need to make those dishes. Sometimes, I purposely seek out recipes with 5 ingredients or fewer.
For instance, these skinny chimichangas (http://www.iarethefoodsnob.com/2010/09/skinny-chimichangas.html) I made last year were healthy, cheap, and freezable! Don’t want to eat the same thing all week? Portion the meals into single servings in separate containers and freeze them. On those days you can’t find the energy to cook, pop one of those babies in the micro for a homemade meal. (this comes in handy after happy hours!)
Another source which Tiffany is familiar with: Groupon! Deal Sites! I find many deals on great places to eat! I set a certain dollar amount in my mind and will not spend over that amount. When the deal comes along for that great hummus place I have been eyeing and is under my target I go for it. I recruit my best eater and we hit the restaurant together. And usually, as is the understanding my friends and I have, if I purchase the deal, the guest pays the difference. But this is not a recommended method with people you have just met or people that you aren’t very close to.
Lastly, I have discovered an amazing resource to feed my restaurant addiction. Restaurants.com. It’s a website that sells discount gift cards to restaurants. More times than not, the restaurants offering these gift cards are likely to be a little less than successful and use the gift certificates to reel in more patrons.
I found my local sushi joint on restaurants.com offering a $25 gift card for a mere $10. The catch is you have to spend $35 to get the deal and if done right, you can have a huge dinner for less than $20. On some days, I find promo codes that bring the price for the gift cards down to $1. ONE DOLLAR for $25 worth of sushi??? Yes please.
I called my friend Bunz and told her about my deal and the next thing I knew, we were sitting in the quaint sushi joint and presenting our gift card. One word of advice: call ahead to ask if they still honor the gift cards.
Since we were getting a great deal we decided to order the sushi love boat. It’s a $30 platter of sushi meant to be shared and even when I have Japanese I never order the boat because it’s a bit pricey. But there was no time like the present to try something new.
Everything was amazing. And it was nice to try sushi that wasn’t salmon or tuna. The fish was fresh. Bunz, who only just recently started loving sushi, was equally impressed.
We rubbed our bellies and asked for the check. After the deduction our of $25 ($1) gift card, our total was a whopping $20 (we ordered an appetizer).
And if you break it down, split it in two, that’s $10 each for a sushi boat.
Not a bad deal! Not a bad deal at all.
I hope I haven’t bored any of you to death and hope that if you took anything away from this, that you know you CAN enjoy dining out on a dime!