As you may or may not know, I have committed to trying a new place every week, or 52 new places this year.
There’s definitely enough restaurants, bars and cafés in Dublin for me to try without me running out of places to go.
But the main issue is cost. I am, of course, on a limited budget and some places in Dublin which I’d like to try for the first time are understandably pretty expensive.
How can I afford to keep up my new lavish lifestyle and not go bankrupt at the same time?
Well here are some of the tricks I’ve been employing so far to try and save money.
1. Look for deals
Websites like Groupon have a constant supply of restaurant coupons which could conceivably cut your costs in half.
The only downside is these vouchers usually apply to two people or more so it can be annoying if you’re #goingsolo. They are also usually time-limited so make sure to use them before they go out of date.
2. Follow your favourite restaurants on social
Not every restaurant has a good social presence, but the ones that do will often advertise whatever deal they’re running, whether that’s half-price cocktails, a new set menu or a one-day only offer. Then you can take advantage of temporary offers by being the first to know.
3. Go for lunch
Because most people work Monday to Friday and often won’t take their full hour for lunch, restaurants will be quite quiet during this period.
As a result, they do some fantastic deals. Even on weekends the lunch menu will be much less expensive than at dinner. By eating earlier you can save a lot of money.
4. Eat family style
Chances are you aren’t really hungry enough to have a full three course meal.
What I often do with mates is get a starter and a dessert to share and our own mains, or even have one main, like a large pizza, to share.
5. Skip the cocktails
I love cocktails. But with the average cocktail price in Dublin coming in at about €11, having them all night can quickly rack up a huge final bill.
As a result, I try to save cocktails as an after-dinner treat or limit myself to two total.
6. Early birds are your friend
Early birds can limit the cost of your meal, and are the primary means to eat in really nice places without getting a bill at the end that makes your heart stop temporarily.
For example, Il Posto do a two-course early bird menu for €23. If you were to go al a carte, two courses could cost you up to €42. Pearl Brasserie have a two-course early bird menu for €28. The al a carte mains by themselves range from €25-€34 so two courses could bring you up to €53.
Add wine on top and not having a set menu could easily set you back over a hundred, especially if there are two or more people.
7. Get it to go
A lot of the deals and set menus that restaurants offer require you to have two or three courses. But often you’ll already feel pretty full after the starter.
If that’s the case, and half of your main course is still sitting there, you should ask to bring the rest home. It means less food is wasted and you have your lunch sorted for tomorrow. You’re saving money already.
Know any other tricks for saving money? Let us know in the comments below.
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