April 9, 2014
Desserts on the Cheap
Say to dessert and save with these frugal tips.
Sometimes we literally want to have our cake and eat it too.
Although the thought of desserts adding several dollars on top of the already
pricy dinner bill leads many of us to say “no thanks” and request the check
instead. But if you still have room after a meal, there are plenty of
inexpensive ways to satisfy your sweet tooth:
Ask for Specials
The first step to saving on desserts is asking your server
if the restaurant currently has any specials. Usually they’ll tell you before
you ask, but if they don’t mention anything it’s worth asking because there
might be something juicy that’s available but not on the regular menu. Many
restaurants have seasonal specials (pumpkin pie around November) or discounted
desserts when combined with certain meals (such as the increasingly popular
appetizer-entrée-dessert meal option).
If the restaurant you’re dining at isn’t offering specials
on desserts but you’re craving a small sweet treat, try asking your server if
you can order something from the kids’ dessert menu. It may feel a little odd
and some places may not let an adult order off the kids’ menu, but it could
save you quite a few dollars if it works, so it’s worth a shot.
Before heading out to dinner, check your local newspaper or
for restaurant coupons. Some
restaurants prefer to offer coupons for desserts rather than meals because all
customers order entrees but only a few stick around for desserts. The truly
frugal option would be to go without dessert, but it’s okay to splurge now and
If your birthday is coming up and you’re trying to decide
where to spend your special night, then look for places that offer a free meal
or dessert on your actual birthday. Keep in mind that some restaurants require a
form of identification to prove your birthdate (keeps people from scamming the
system). If you don’t mind a horde of servers singing “Happy Birthday” as they
present your dessert to you, then this could be a great way to save while
you’re out celebrating.
Frozen yogurt franchises have been wildly popular these past
few years, and no two franchises are exactly alike. Some places are self-serve,
allowing you to get as much yogurt and toppings as you want, then charge you by
the ounce. Other places serve yogurt for you in size-specific cups with one or
two toppings (extra charge). Generally, self-serve yogurt places are cheaper
and give you much more variety when it comes to building the perfect concoction
of yogurt and every topping you could possibly want. Yogurt shops also have
specials and may offer you a few ounces of free yogurt in exchange for your
business card or taking a customer satisfaction survey.
Kelly Kehoe is a staff writer for Money Street Smart and works with
, a site full coupons and coupon codes.