When the last Christmas card has been taken down from the mantlepiece, and the final pieces of party popper residue have been swept away after New Year’s Eve, people often feel deflated. The January blues can be difficult to beat, and with Blue Monday (the third Monday of the year) being the indisputable ‘saddest day’, it is clear that everyone feels a little low after the festivities.
Despite many people identifying January as a low-spend month, this trend is beginning to change. In early 2019, the overall quantity bought ncreased by 0.7% when compared with the previous three months. Sales and deals characterise January shopping and they are enticing customers to get back out there and enjoy themselves, despite their tightened purse strings. This might mean buying something new or enjoying a meal out with friends.
Although many can feel financially strained 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.
Restaurant discount memberships are a fantastic way of eating out cheaply in January (and the rest of the year!). Restaurants will be going the extra mile to increase footfall over this low-spend month, and that spells extra discounts for foodies! Apps such as Stevie offer huge savings such as half-price meals, 2 for 1 deals and free bottles of wine at great restaurants. Their focus on independent and local restaurants means you know you’ll not only be eating great food at great prices but will also be helping local businesses.
If there is a particular eatery that you just can’t get enough of, then you might as well make the most of any loyalty scheme that they offer! 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.
From two-for-one cocktails to reduced three-course meals, happy hours are a saving grace. 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.
It’s easy to forget to utilise your student discount, especially somewhere which doesn’t have in-your-face advertising aimed at students, but it is always worth an ask! 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.
Become a mystery diner
Want to take cheap dining a step further? How about free dining? That’s right, if you become a mystery diner you’ll be able to eat out at certain restaurants completely free of charge! It sounds too good to be true, but many restaurants are on the lookout for people to review them or mention them on a blog. As long as you give an honest review of your experience, the meal will be ‘on the house’!
Sign up for newsletters and stay up to date on social media
Never miss out on a discount again by signing up for your favorite restaurant’s newsletter or interacting with them on social media. 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 home a doggy bag
If you often find yourself stuffed to the brim and simply can’t soldier on through the meal anymore, do not fret! 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!
January doesn’t have to be a dull and boring month. You can be frugal while still eating well and enjoying a social life thanks to all of these options. So, what are you waiting for? Start eating out while saving money!