30 Ways To Eat For Cheap At The Most Popular Restaurants

At Chili’s, Outback, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and lots more. (And no, they didn’t pay us to write this.)

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

1. Go on Thursdays for $5 margaritas.

Call ahead because the type of margarita that goes for $5 will vary by day and location, but hey, can’t say no to a cheap marg in a glass that big!

2. Sign up for their Rewards program to get points every time you eat with them — then redeem those points for free food.


3. Bring an even number of people to dinner to take advantage of their 2 for $20 deal.

Basically, for $20, any two people get an appetizer to share, then their own entrée (that’s eligible for the deal). You can read about it here.

4. Go on your birthday and you might get free Molten Lava cake.

While their website says each store may have different birthday freebie policies, “most Chili’s offer a complimentary birthday dessert and a birthday song if requested.”

For even more restaurants that offer birthday freebies, go here.

5. Sign up for their newsletter to get a free appetizer or dessert next time you go (plus a free dessert on your birthday).


Plus easy to find notifications about their latest specials. Sign up here.

6. Pay attention to their specials to find out what items are discounted right now.

They change the specials every once in a while, probably to keep you comin’ back for more pasta. (The email list helps with this, and so does their Facebook page). Read about one family’s strategy for using the Tour of Italy special for budget dining out here.

7. And (classic), go before 4 p.m. to take advantage of their unlimited soup, salad, and BREADSTICKS for $6.99.

So much nom, so little money. Read more about the deal here.

8. Root for Kevin Harvick to finish in the top 10 of a NASCAR race, and when he does, go get a free Bloomin’ Onion.

Yep: “Any time Kevin Harvick®, driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet SS, finishes in the top 10 in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, you get a free Bloomin’ Onion® the Monday immediately following the race.” — literally Outback’s website.

9. Go on a Wednesday to take advantage of their 3-course $12.99 deal.

They have upgrades for extra $$, but if you stick to the basics (which, you can get some delicious sirloin!) the price stays low. Bonus: this counts for dinner, too. Read more about it here.

10. Bring your AARP card (or if you’re not quite of-age, bring your closest family member or friend who is) for 15% off your lunch or dinner.

Although this doesn’t include alcohol, boo. Learn more here.

11. Take advantage of THEIR unlimited soup, salad, and (the not-mentioned-but-still-part-of-every-Outback-experience) brown bread combo for $7.99 during lunch time.

Like Olive Garden, but with brown bread instead of breadsticks. And like, a dollar more (but they might have bigger portions). Read more about it here.

12. Check out their $4 drinks. Like, not “happy hour specials”; actual drinks.


Yes. See ‘em all (lol actually these two are it) here.

13. Get a free appetizer or dessert by signing up for their newsletter.

Sign up here. Plus there’s a “surprise birthday offer” and “special savings” if you stay subscribed to the newsletter itself.

14. Go anytime Monday through Thursday to get their Four-Course Feast for $15.99 (instead of the regular $21.99) — and like them on Facebook to find out about other deals like this.

That’s a choice of soup, a choice of salad, a choice of main, and the triple chocolate brownie a la mode (with other options for a few dollars extra). This deal seems to be only available on their Facebook page, and not on their main site.

15. On July 12th (that’s SO SOON), get a short stack of pancakes for 58 cents.

Another reason to sign up for their newsletter: they’re always running promotions, but they’re usually for a very limited time. This one’s only on their mobile site right now.

16. Through the end of July, get free refills on fries when you order a burger.

WHAT. Read more here.

17. Sign up for their email newsletter to get SO MANY FREE PANCAKES.


You get them as soon as you sign up, every year at the one year mark of joining the newsletter, and every year on your birthday. Free pancakes, guys. FREE. Sign up here.

18. Classic: Get their 2 for $20 deal.

That’s an appetizer to share plus two entrees for $20. See what you can get with it here.

19. Right now, you can get some of their “wood fired grill” salads for $8.99.

They say in this Facebook post that it’s for a limited time only, although it’s unclear what the usual prices on these salads are. And what exactly is wood fired about fried chicken on a salad? Maybe the bacon bits?

(FWIW, their Grilled Watermelon and Spicy Chicken Salad is also part of this deal, and it seems like a more appropriate “wood fired” fit.)

20. If you’re there late at night, you can get 1/2 price appetizers.

Check out the menu here.

21. At some locations, get burgers for $5.99 or $6.99 on Monday nights.

Leigh Beisch / applebees.com

You have to call ahead and see if your location is participating in this offer (and if it’s $5.99 or $6.99). Find your location here.

22. Tuesday nights, kids can eat free or at deep discounts (depending on the location).

Again, you’ll have to call ahead and see if your local restaurant is participating in this deal. And to find out just how much they’re participating. (Again, you can find your location here.)

23. Sign up for their email rewards programs to get coupons.

Bonus if you’re a professional truck driver. Sign up here.

24. Kids eat free on Tuesdays at dinner time (enough said).

25. Also they have a 2,4,6,8 menu with a few really cheap items.

I’m sure the things you order don’t look *this good* IRL, but hey. TWO FREAKING DOLLARS. See the full menu here.

26. Get half-price bottles of wine on Thursdays.

Mmmhmm. Enter your age and state here to see what the prices will be on the wines.

27. Sign up for their emails to get a $5 coupon (plus other offers on occasion).

Sign up here.

28. Like them on Facebook for deals like $2 Bloody Marys and Mimosas at Brunch.

Also, that looks so yummy.

29. Sign up for their emails to learn about their deals and specials.

You can sign up here; you also put in your birthday, so you might get at least a discount for that day!

30. Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30 (so, again, SOON), all cheesecake slices are 50% off.

Only if you dine in, of course.

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