How to Make the Most of Kids Eat Free Dining

After a full day of cleaning out the garage on Saturday, neither the hubby nor I felt much like cooking. The girls begged to go out to dinner, and we would have loved to agree. The problem, of course, is that costs way too much to feed 3 girls with food allergies—especially at a restaurant where their safe items are typically charged a la carte.

And, so we embarked on a quick discussion about our budget with the girls—the one which leaves us with around $20-30 for extras this month.

Then, it hit me—with free kids meals at Steak ‘n Shake on weekends, we just might be able to make that work. Armed with coupons and thankful for kids eat free nights, we decided to reward the girls (and ourselves) for a job (mostly) well done. Total bill? $21.37—with our server’s tip, we were right on target.

Of course, spending all of our discretionary budget in the first weekend might not have been wise, but we have a 9-day vacation in the middle of the month so there won’t really be much time or need for other dining in October. (The vacation budget is a completely separate beast.)

Here are a few ideas for making the most of your dining budget:

  • Use your favorite kids eat free resource to find specials in your area.
  • Find out if free kids meal deals can be used with other coupons or specials (we were able to order adult meals with coupons & still get the kids’ meals for free).
  • Clip coupons for favorite restaurants & keep them easily accessible (if you tend to stop at the last minute, keep them in your car!).
  • Check out the Entertainment book or local savings booklets (we love Discover Indy here!).
  • Sign up for the daily Groupon and other collective coupon sites (we have an extensive list in the right sidebar!).
  • Buy Restaurant.com certificates for your family favorites or use the site to discover new locations. (These can usually not be used with other offers, but they are still a great way to lower the dining budget!)
  • Earn restaurant gift cards through rewards companies like MyPoints & Sunshine Rewards.
  • Buy discounted restaurant gift cards at Plastic Jungle.
  • Bonus tip—kids eat free deals occur most commonly on Tuesdays. Where are you dining tonight?

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