Miami Herald Business writer Elaine Walker had some great "Tips for Trimming Your Tab" on the front page of Miami Herald's June 1st Sunday edition.
"Have a drink at home or find out what the corkage fee is if you bring your wine"
"Skip soda or iced tea. Order water and bring your own flavor packets."
"Order an appetizer as an entree."
"Consider memberships in dining discount cards."
"Look for coupons in the newspaper or online."
I'd like to add my own tips...
1. Bolt. Right before the check comes, pretend you're going to the bathroom, then head straight out the door into your waiting car (have your dining companion leave first to get the motor running). This works especially well in fine dining places where it is least expected, as opposed to say, Denny's, where they will send a cook running after you with a big knife and call the police. Also works great in hotel dining rooms where the bathrooms may actually be on the way out, like in the lobby. If caught, simply say to your dining companion, in shock, "Oh my God! I thought you were paying the tab!" Then laugh......
2. Tipping is for suckers. If a service charge for the help has been added to your bill, ask to have it taken off. Complain loudly, even if the service was great, then stiff the server. Which leads to...
3. Bitch and moan about everything in the hopes they will buy you dessert or take an item off your bill.
4. Only eat a few bites of each dish, sending it back because it is over/under-cooked; "not what you ordered"; "not what you expected"; "too fishy", etc. Walk out in a huff.
5. Get drunk before you go out, so everything tastes better-don't worry about drinking and driving. If you get stopped, just tell the officer that "the Herald said it was okay". Or...
6. Get stoned before dinner (see above). Only bring $20. Do not bring your credit cards!
7. Do a dime bag of blow before dinner; you won't want to eat at all!
8. Start taking some shifts on Biscayne Blvd, preferably near a restaurant, where you can turn your tricks into dinner!
9. Carry a flask. Order tap water-when no one's looking, spill out half and fill with cheap vodka.
11. Ask what the corkage fee is on a jug of Gallo
12. Two word-stay home. If you can't afford to go out to a restaurant, instead of eliminating restaurant visits completely, cook frugally at home. You may go out less, but you'll enjoy it more.
Nothing is quite as comforting or soul-soothing as a good meal eaten in the company of friends in a nice restaurant. Especially if you follow my tips. Feel free to add your favorite money-saving tip below....Good thieving!