My Story: Going to Restaurants with the Kids

contributed by JoAnn in NM

We found an economical way to enjoy a restaurant meal with our two children. This tip works especially well at Mexican restaurants.

Our children are in elementary school, so they not huge eaters. This tip will not work for the legendary appetites of teenage boys!

Previously, we would each order a two-item dinner at about $8 each, which worked out to about $32 for our family of four. There were always leftovers on the kids' plates, such as half-eaten enchiladas and mushed-up pinto beans. The leftovers really were not worth taking home.

One day, we got smart. I ordered the large three-item plate for $10 and my husband ordered the Super Grande Meal at $12. We shared among the whole family. Even when the restaurant charges for extra plates, we spend less at about $24 for the four of us.

We have never been denied "duplicates" on the three-item plate. For example, the menu might list your choice of taco, burrito, enchilada, or chimichanga in beef, cheese, or chicken.

I can order three chicken enchiladas on my three-item plate. Each child eats one enchilada and I get the third. My husband then shares an item or two from his Grande plate with me.

In other types of restaurants, we have also found that two larger dinners amply feed our family of four. For larger families, it might work out that three large dinners are needed for a family of six, but it still should save money over six regular dinners!

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by

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