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Savvy savers – navigating budget friendly dining while in high school

Cade Lacy
Perhaps thinking about budget friendly dining, the author “watches” his money.

In today’s bustling high school world, where packed schedules are the norm and wallets often feel a bit light, dining out on a budget can feel like a daunting task. However, fear not budget-conscious foodies, with a dash of savvy and a sprinkle of resourcefulness, indulging in delicious meals without breaking the bank is entirely feasible.

Let’s uncover the secrets to dining out on a budget like a pro.

First, plan ahead. Just as a skilled journalist maps out their story, plan your dining adventure in advance. Research local places offering budget-friendly options, scout for deals and keep an eye out for happy hour specials or early bird discounts.

Next, embrace culinary diversity. Explore a variety of cuisines. Ethnic restaurants often offer authentic, flavorful dishes at wallet-friendly prices. Venture beyond familiar tastes to savor new flavors while sticking to your budget.

Sophomore Kate Daniels (‘26) said, “I like most kinds of food, so when I’m going out and don’t have much money, it’s not that hard to find something that I like because I like so much.”

Timing is key. Opt for lunch over dinner. Many restaurants offer discounted lunch menus featuring smaller portions of their dinner entrees at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, dining during off-peak hours can sometimes score you exclusive discounts or promotions.

Get tech savvy. Harness the power of technology. Utilize apps and websites like Yelp, Groupon or local restaurant guides to discover hidden gems and snag exclusive deals. Many establishments offer discounts or freebies to patrons who check-in on social media platforms.

Be willing to share and share alike. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to splitting the bill. Share appetizers, entrees or desserts with friends or family to divvy up costs while still enjoying a satisfying meal.

Chloe Cordero, another sophomore (‘26), said, “I always tend to choose a share size meal when out with my friends because it’s cheaper and we both still get full.”

Don’t forget beverages. Stay hydrated for less. Skip pricey beverages and opt for water instead. It’s not only budget-friendly but it’s also healthier. If you crave a little flavor, bring your own refillable bottle and add a slice of lemon or cucumber.

You can and should be a VIP. Sign up for loyalty programs or rewards cards offered by your favorite eateries. Many establishments provide perks such as discounts, freebies or birthday treats to loyal customers.

Get creative in the kitchen by recreating your favorite restaurant dishes at home. Experiment with recipes found online or in cookbooks to whip up budget-friendly versions of your go-to meals.

Lastly, be mindful of portion sizes and avoid over-ordering. Opt for appetizers or smaller plates if you have a smaller appetite or consider sharing larger portions.

A journey through the realm of budget-friendly dining, dining out on a budget, is not just about saving money, it’s about embracing creativity, exploring new flavors and savoring the moments shared with friends and loved ones.

By following these tips, you can navigate the culinary landscape with confidence, discovering affordable delights without compromising on taste or experience.

So go forth armed with your newfound knowledge and let your taste buds lead you on delicious adventures, one budget-friendly bite at a time.

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About the Contributor
Cade Lacy
Cade Lacy, Student Life Editor. Staff Writer

Cade Lacy, a sophomore, has been at CSD since kindergarten…and he did it twice. This is his first year doing journalism and he’s excited to learn how to interview. Outside of school he plays football as an outside linebacker and special teams. Both positions mean he can hit. 

Cade also goes to his youth group at his church and is a Life rank in Scouts. When he’s not doing any of his activities he hangs out with his friends, looks at cars, play video games, works out and sleeps.

“Climb mountains not so that the world can see you but so that you can see the world.” -David McCullough Jr.

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