Eating at fine restaurants every night can be a drain on your resources no matter what your personal financial situation is. Here are some tips to help you find good, inexpensive venues in your neighborhood.
No matter what your personal financial situation, eating at fine restaurants every night can be a drain on your resources. Most people, of course, do not eat out every night, and when they do get to go out and eat a nice meal, it is something of a luxury. Even then, however, it can be difficult to find the right balance between a place that offers great food without enormous prices. But it can be done. Here are some tips to help you find a good place in your neighborhood.
Spread Your Horizons
There are a number of chain restaurants across the country that offer decent food at reasonable prices. You generally know what you're going to get when you walk in the door. You're probably not going to be dissatisfied with your meal, you certainly won't leave hungry, and you don't need to spend a lot of money. At the same time, if you never venture beyond Friday's and Olive Garden, what fun is it? If you're ready to have an adventure, look for small, privately owned eateries. Will every new place be as good as the "safe" food at the local chain? Probably not, but you're guaranteed to have a new experience!
Read Your Paper
Most local papers have a food critic. If you're hometown paper doesn't, check out the one in the nearest metropolitan area, as they may cover your town as well. Many of these newspapers will archive their reviews online or in the Sunday edition. This gives you a chance to see what someone who knows about food is saying about the places in your area. Will you necessarily agree with all of the reviews? Probably not, but it's a good starting point when you're in search of a good restaurant.
Coupons are everywhere you look. The grocery store bulletin board, those little booklets you find on the counter at the hairdresser, online, and plenty of other places. Unless you're a certified "couponer," you probably pay very little mind to these money saving clips. You should. Not just because they can save you money, but they will also expose you to many a restaurant you might not have come across on your own. Look through the specials and try a new place based on what you find. You're guaranteed to get a deal, since you're holding a coupon in your hand!
Most communities have a "city page" on Facebook. Whether it's run by an individual or the Chamber of Commerce, it can be a great way to get a wide swath of recommendations and reviews from people in your community. Put up a post asking people to name their favorite restaurants and the only problem you'll have is getting them to shut up!