As soon as the final pieces of party popper residue have been swept away after New Year’s Eve, people often feel deflated. The winter 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. 

Although many people identify winter as a low-spend season, this trend is beginning to change. Sales and deals characterise winter 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.  

Despite many feeling 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 winter blues  blues.

Discount cards

Restaurant discounts and memberships are a fantastic way of eating out cheaply. will be going the extra mile to increase footfall over this low-spend month, and that spells extra discounts for foodies! There are also apps available that offer huge savings such as half-price meals, 2 for 1 deals and free bottles of wine at great restaurants. In addition, because of such apps focussing on independent restaurants, not only will you be eating great food at great prices, but you’ll also be helping local businesses. 

Loyalty schemes

If you have a favourite restaurant, 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. 

Happy hours 

Happy hours are a saving grace with their two-for-one cocktails and reduced three-course meals. We all feel smug when we accidentally happen upon one, but during winter, plan ahead! Make a list of where and when all your local happy hours take place and craft a money-saving action plan. 

Student offers

Many students don’t utilise their 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.

A mystery diner

If you’re wanting to take cheap dining a step further, why not try 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 news offers

Try and catch good restaurant discounts by signing up to your favourite 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. 

Get hold of a doggy bag

If you’re usually 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!

The long winter months don’t have to be dull and boring. 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!

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