When the Christmas tree finally comes down for another year, and the first few days of the New Year begin to set in, people often feel deflated. It can be hard to shake off the January Blues, and with Blue Monday allegedly being the ‘saddest day’, it’s clear to see that everyone feels a bit downtrodden after the festivities.
Though January is commonly seen as quite a low-spend month, trends are starting to shift. Retailers are quick to announce their post-Christmas sales and latest deals in a bid to entice customers back to the shops and enjoy themselves, at a time when they may feel reluctant to spend money. This could be anything from treating themselves to a new purchase or enjoying a meal out with friends or family.
Despite the fact that lots of people can feel the financial strain after Christmas, there are plenty of ways to eat out on the cheap, while still eating fantastic food. Read on to find out some budget-friendly life hacks that will satisfy your appetite and help fight the January blues.
Look Out for Happy Hour
From two-for-one cocktails to reduced three-course meals, the happy hour is the friend we didn’t know we had. We all feel smug when we accidentally happen upon one, but during January, plan ahead! Make a list of where and when all your local happy hours take place and craft a money-saving action plan.
Use Discount Cards
Making the most of restaurant discounts and memberships are a brilliant means of eating out for less this January and indeed the rest of 2020 for that matter. Restaurants will be going the extra mile to increase footfall over this low-spend month, and that spells extra discounts for foodies! There are also apps available that offer huge savings such as half-price meals, 2 for 1 deals and free bottles of wine at great restaurants. In addition, because of such apps focussing on independent restaurants, not only will you be eating great food at great prices, but you’ll also be helping local businesses.
Opt-in to Loyalty schemes
We all have a go-to place when it comes to eateries, so it’s a no-brainer to take advantage of any loyalty schemes that are available! Most cafes and coffee shop offer stamp cards which allow you to earn freebies. Every little helps over this cold and dreary month, so a free coffee goes a long way.
Ask about Student Discount (if eligible)
If you’re a student, it’s often easy to forget about your student discount, especially if you’re somewhere which doesn’t clearly advertise it, but it’s always worth checking! Many bars, restaurants, and cafés want to encourage younger customers, who might not have as much disposable cash, into their establishment — so student discounts are a win-win! Just make sure you always have your student card on you and watch the discounts roll in.
Sign Up to Newsletters and Follow Social Media
A simple way of keeping up to date with the latest discounts and offers is by signing up to your favourite restaurant’s newsletter and follow their social media channels. Many places run regular competitions, where you can win delicious freebies, so stay in the loop! During the post-Christmas slump, these competitions will likely become all the more frequent in order to increase footfall in restaurants.
Take a Doggy Bag Home
We often find ourselves full to the brim when we’re eating out, wondering if we’ll be able to finish our meal. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry! Avoid waste and get your money’s worth even when your stomach can’t handle it by taking home a doggy bag. If you’ve gone out for a pizza for example, but just can’t put it all away, save a few slices for lunch the next day — essentially two meals for the price of one!
Be a Mystery Diner
What could be better than a cheap dinner out? A free dinner out! Yes, you heard right. If you become a mystery diner you’ll be able to eat out at certain restaurants completely free of charge!
If you don’t want January to be boring and dull, then it doesn’t have to be! You can be frugal while still eating well and enjoying a social life thanks to all these options. So, what are you waiting for? Start eating out while saving money!
Written by Delilah Kealy-Roberts
Delilah Kealy-Roberts is a copywriter for Mediaworks, a digital marketing agency which creates quality content for a variety of sectors. An experienced and passionate writer, Delilah specialises in food, travel, and culture. After acquiring an undergraduate BA (Hons) degree in English Literature from the University of Leeds, she has gone on to write for many online and print publications across different sectors.