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Being frugal at Chili's?

Ziphen Central – Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

After worship this past Sunday, my mother suggested that we eat lunch at Chili’s. My sister had had a hankering for Chili’s chips, and we happened to have a coupon for free chips and queso, so this seemed ample reason to go there. I was skeptical, however. In my mind, Chili’s is one of those restaurants that are very proud of their food, and where you could easily spend $10 just to feed yourself—in other words, it is a place where it is very hard to be frugal, especially if you have a cheapskate conscience like mine.

But we did go, and after a bit of waiting we were seated at a booth, the three of us who were present since my dad is teaching/counseling at a Bible camp this week. We all asked for water (still free at this restaurant, thankfully) and when asked if we wanted an appetizer (she gave all sorts of suggestions) we brought forth our coupon and asked that she bring us some chips and queso. We had already gone over the menu, so we went ahead and ordered our entr茅e: a plate with eight of their new quesadillas. This proved to be enough for the three of us, and we enjoyed the spicy cheese sauce.

When we finished, we had eaten it all and were presented with a receipt showing the meal to be just over $10, before tip. I was quite impressed—after all, I could have gotten just a hamburger for that much. Granted, that $10 could have gone much farther if we had spent it one something else, like lentils and rice, but for three people eating at a sit-down restaurant, that was quite impressive.

So, the moral of the story, to those who are not accustomed to being frugal, is three-fold:

  • Use coupons to your advantage
  • Share meals whenever possible
  • Drink water, and abstain from dessert—you can always drink soft drinks and eat ice cream at home, much more cheaply

And, I might add, don’t go out to eat regularly. Our family considers it sacrilege to go out to eat twice in a week, and for us going out is very much a treat. When you do it often, the novelty is lost and you are simply paying more for a meal that could be much cheaper if you made it yourself. Think frugally!

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