Save Money on Eating Out With These 6 Smartphone Apps
There are hundreds of dining apps that will help you find a place to eat, but which ones will save you money on the bill? The average American family forks over more than $2,500 a year to eat out, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you'd like to stick to a smaller budget, try downloading one of our favorite dining apps to find discounts. These free apps are available for iPhone, Android, and other mobile operating systems.
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1. Yelp.You may have already installed the popular Yelp app to take advantage of its millions of reviews, but don't overlook the coupons. When you research restaurants, keep an eye out for the occasional money-saving "announcement." The app also lets you to search at four different price levels, which comes in handy when you're feeling adventurous but want to stay within a certain price range.
2. Foursquare.Quick tips and check-in specials have made Foursquare a favorite. Checking into a restaurant often results in special discounts -- anything from 20 percent off the bill to a free appetizer. To make it even easier to find deals, the app lets you browse the specials in your neighborhood.
3. Scoutmob.This comparatively new app acts as a discovery tool for local restaurants. Scoutmob provides meal discounts in more than a dozen of the largest cities in the U.S. When your bill arrives, show the deal to your server, and you can easily save at least 50 percent on the meal. (The discount is typically capped at $20 or $25.) Foursquare incorporates specials powered by Scoutmob into its own results.
4. Groupon.The popular daily deal site Groupon also offers a popular app that can help you discover new affordable dining options in your area. Count on discounts of 50 percent or more at restaurants, bars, and even certain grocery stores. If you're out and about, try the Groupon Now feature, which highlights nearby deals available right then for a limited time.
5. HappyHours.In self-explanatory fashion, GoTime's Happy Hours app shows you the closest happy hour deals in terms of both location and time, providing menu views and maps. Use the app to search by cuisine, time, or feature (e.g., outdoor seating) and take advantage of half off appetizers, drink specials, and other deals.
6. Blackboard Eats.The Blackboard Eats app boasts a wide, well-curated selection of buzz-worthy spots and hole-in-the-wall gems. Specials and discounts pop up as they become available. Unfortunately this dining app covers only four cities so far.
With a cheap smartphone in hand, you can always find somewhere to save while dining. Just be sure you don't use the specials you encounter on these dining apps as an excuse to eat out. The surest place to save is in your own kitchen.