Yes, this gorgeous butternut squash, caramelised onion and goat's cheese pizza was all mine at Zizzi tonight :o)
Just like most people, I, too, enjoy eating out. The girls enjoy pizza restaurants the most (and McDonalds, of course), and we enjoy not having to cook and wash up! I don't need to tell you that eating out is mega-expensive, no matter what you pay. The markup on the food and drink is HUGE, but it's still fun to go out every now and then... and if I've budgeted for it. So, this evening we went out for our dinner to Zizzi.
A simple meal for a family of four can easily cost £40-£50 for two adult meals, two kids meals and drinks. So we cut corners without compromising the "fun" of going out. We may still be able to get away with only ordering one kid's meal, but that is becoming a thing of the past since our girls are getting older. Of course, we all know that the easiest ways to cut corners eating out is by not ordering appetizers and desserts, saving £4-£6 each. Simples.
A somewhat "harder" way of cutting corners is simply by asking for tap water instead of a beverage, saving you another £3-£4 per adult for soft drinks and £5-£7 per alcoholic beverage. Tonight Jeff and I asked for tap water and were brought a really pretty jug of water with ice! How fancy ;o) We asked the waiter how large the kid's glass of milk (50p) and he suggested splitting the glass between two cups... perfect. 50p for the girls drink.
So, how did we make this more affordable? With a 50% off main meals voucher code from the vouchercodes.co.uk app. We purposely chose to eat at Zizzi over other pizza restaurants in the area because we could save 50% on our main meal bill... food only, which is another reason why we didn't order drinks. This even includes the girls' meals.
I have two suggestions when it comes to using voucher codes at restaurants:
1) Always read the entire voucher, even the small print, before going to a restaurant. Make sure it's valid on the day and date that you go. Make sure it's valid at the restaurant you go to. Make sure it is valid on the food that you order.
2) Always mention the voucher code to the waiter before you order so that he/she can make sure that the food that you are ordering works with the voucher code, in case there are exclusions, like appetizers and desserts... which ours was.
AND there's one more way we saved money this evening... "seriously, Lauren?!"... yep. We bought a gift card for Zizzi from a website that sells gift vouchers at a reduced price called Zeek. There are actually quite a few of these kind of websites out there and I will definitely post on this later this week. Promise. So, we bought a £20 gift card for Zizzi from Zeek for £13. Our £37.95 bill with the 50% off came to £17.70. I know this doesn't quite add up. Well, the we were given a £4 credit on our bill because our girls didn't receive the starter that was supposed to come with their meals. We were asked whether they still wanted their starter when their pizzas arrived or credit on our bill; we chose the credit, since the girls were already interested in their pizzas. We used our £20 gift card that we paid £13 for and still have a balance of £2.30 towards our next visit. Our supper out for a family of four essentially cost £10.70 plus tip.
"Come on, Lauren, I know you like to save money, but you wouldn't be stingy with the tip, would you?" No, absolutely not. As long as we have had great service, which we did for the most part, the waiter earns his/her tip... oh, and I base this on the amount on the bill before any discounts.
I may as throw in one more tip while I'm at it. ALWAYS check your bill over before you pay. Make sure everything you consumed is on the bill and is the correct price. Make sure that you haven't been charged for something you haven't consumed. And speak up. If something isn't correct, like the £4 discount that was promised when our girls' starters weren't served, make sure the bill is corrected before you pay.
Although you are following a budget, doesn't mean you can't go out to a restaurant every now and then. With a little planning and a savvy spending, you can go out for pizza and eat it, too.