Los Angeles, CA

5 Budgeting Tips for Eating Out in Los Angeles

Caroline at EatDrinkLA

An average dinner in Los Angeles at a popular restaurant like Bestia will cost you $50 per person before you even add in drinks! Just doing take-out from a fast-casual spot like Veggie Grill on your lunch break will also set you back at least $20 with drinks and sides. Not to mention the rate of inflation in this country is making a trip to the grocery store almost 8% higher, according to agweb. So how's a person supposed to eat anymore? Here are 5 budgeting tips for eating out in Los Angeles that will keep you from losing your lunch.

5. Hop on that Happy Hour

E.P. & L.P. in West Hollywood has one of the best rooftops in the city to enjoy some serious drinks and stellar views. They also charge over $20 for a cocktail. Lucky for you, they offer Happy Hour Monday to Friday from 4 to 6 p.m., during which a selection of said cocktails is only $10-$12! Happy Hour isn't just for drinks either...or just for weekdays. If you're not able to be chowing down at 4 p.m., scour the Weekend Happy Hour lists for one that fits your schedule and budget.

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Happy HourPhoto Credit: Pixabay

4. Cache that Coffee Cup

Fancy a frappuccino a couple of times a week? Well, imagine what would happen if you cached that coffee cup instead and became your own barista! Putting away $5.75 twice a week would net you almost $50 monthly. The key though is actually paying yourself when you rethink purchasing that coffee drink. At the end of the month, you can treat yourself to a nice meal out that lasts a lot longer than that coffee buzz.

3. Dine out with Dollars

Using only cash when you eat out is one of the best budgeting tools because it's literally impossible to spend what you don't have. This also works well at the grocery store. You can combine the two by starting your week with a cash-only food budget at the grocery store. If you have anything left over, spend only that cash on restaurant meals.

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Dine out with DollarsPhoto Credit: Pixabay

2. Reap the Rewards

Remember I mentioned that an average meal at Veggie Grill is around $20? Did you know you can spend HALF THAT if you visit between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays? You might if you were a rewards member. You'll also get $9 off every $99 you spend and weekly offers for members. This is just one of the thousands of Rewards Programs out there that are offered at fast-casual restaurants in Los Angeles. My favorites include Starbucks (where even Costco K-Cup purchases count toward free coffee), Burger King (that gives members FREE Fries every week with a purchase), and Ike's Love and Sandwiches, which gives $5 just for signing up and emails with weekly coupons.

1. Honor your Hourly when it comes to Splurge Meals

The best rule of thumb for not blowing your budget when dining out is to honor your hourly wage and not spend more than double what you make in an hour when you're eating for an hour. Let's say you make $15 per hour; that means you shouldn't spend more than $30 per hour on a nice meal out. This is reserved for "splurge meals" that happen once or twice a month, not the places you regular on your lunch hour. So for a nice 2-hour meal, you should be able to spend $60 and not be strapped for cash at the end of the month. Invite a friend or two and pool your resources for an even more decadent dining experience.

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5 Budgeting Tips for Eating Out in Los AngelesPhoto Credit: EatDrinkLA

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Specializing in the best of Los Angeles! I want to show you how to eat, drink, and live your best Los Angeles every day of the week. My favorite style of articles to share are listicles and "best of" roundups.

Los Angeles, CA
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