EATING OUT ON A BUDGET WITH 3 KIDS!

One of the hardest things to do while being a mom is taking the kids out to eat! I don’t know about you but I’d rather be able to step out with my family of 5 including the hubs and I to a restaurant and eat. For once! It was always a horrible experience when it was just 4 of us.

Now that we have our 2-year-old it’s 10 times worse. I mean it, she makes it so much harder all on her own. Picture it, 8 and 5-year-old seated and arguing about who gets to touch the straws first, and how the 5-year-old rubbed against the 8-year-old. 2-year-old is now having a tantrum because she wants to “walk”. We are seated trying to enjoy a nice meal and she wants to “walk”? The next 40 minutes to an hour are filled with giving the older two stern talking’s and the mom eye, while trying to control the 2-year old’s urges to walk! Sympathy and OMG looks from the people who are trying to have a nice meal, no thanks!

Why do we want to spend a good amount of money on meals we won’t get to enjoy?! We don’t. Through our years of being parents we have come to realize that the only way to eat out with our tribe is to eat out at family dining/buffet style restaurants. They are inexpensive, and taste great! It makes spending the money to go out and eat that less of a blow! And for some reason they behave better in this kind of atmosphere then at a restaurant like Red Lobster or Olive Garden.

Family Dining Restaurants

This is beneficial because you are able to order three items and share among each other! Have you ever been to a family dining style restaurant? When we lived in Washington our favorite place to dine like this was Buca Di Beppo. Buca Di Beppo is a family Italian restaurant with amazing dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, baked ziti and of course Fettuccine Alfredo. You order by size; the menu will let you know how many people can be served off of each size. Not only is it cheaper to eat like this but if you choose the right place it can be delicious! Here are a few family style dining restaurants for you to check out:

  • Buca Di Beppo
  • Bob Evans – family meals starting at just $19.99!I recently found out that they offer family meals and was pleasantly happy! Bob Evans is great even if you don’t go for the family style dining. Kids meals are all $4.59, with side and beverage! If you dine in on Tuesdays kids eat free!
  • Cracker Barrel- my first time eating at one of these restaurants was after moving to Florida! Home style comfort food at amazing prices. Kids items begin at $3.49 with beverage and side.
  • Mezzalunas- This gem we found in a placed called the European village. It’s pizza! Need I say more? The kids love pizza, and while dining here we are able to sit outside and view. Order pizza by the slice for $5 bucks! That comes with 2 slices and soda, or order a whole 18” pizza for the family to munch on starting at $10.99!

Buffet Style Restaurants

First off, allowing your kids to plate their own food will most likely lead to empty plates and seconds! Buffets allow your family choose the foods they like, and my kids LOVE the buffet! I have noticed when we eat at a buffet, they are more excited and behave a lot better. They love to share why they picked what is on their plates and love to ask why my husband and I chose the items on our plates. The seconds always come, and we are all so busy enjoying our food that next thing we know it is time to go. Do not forget that buffets usually have a desert section. Desert is always an incentive for good behavior.Behave well, eat your food and you will get to pick from the smorgasbord of deserts!

  • Golden Corral- One of our favorite buffets to eat at. They serve absolutely everything! Fish, pastas, pizza, French fries,mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken of all types, meatloaf. And the kicker? It all tastes pretty darn good! This restaurant is pricier than the others, but still a steal at $13.99 per adult 3 and up pay $6.49 and 2 and under eat free! If you have this place close by and have been deciding on whether or not to try it out, DO IT! I have not found a desert selection like the one Golden Corral has,it is truly amazing!
  • Chinese buffets- This is no secret; Chinese buffets are in every town in multiple locations. Dinner prices often start at $9.99 but can be as much as $12.99 for adult, children range anywhere from $4-6, and usually little ones 2 and under eat free! Chinese food is my favorite, I love it. I love the rice, soups, and all the meat dishes. They also have great vegetable dishes, for those that do not eat meat. Inexpensive dinner and great food,there is no better.

I know that these restaurant choices won’t be as nice as going to a more expensive choice but the peace of mind you will have makes all the difference. Especially going to a buffet where dinner and desert is all included!

There are other things you could do, to avoid a riot while eating out. You could choose to order out and dine in. Doing this will avoid the hectic mess of getting your kids ready and having to stop multiple times while getting yourself ready, to tend to your kids! Hint, hint, this is all me.I swear I have not been able to get myself ready with out having to stop in between for the last 8 years! SO, I absolutely get not wanting to go out but not wanting to make dinner.

I am a true believer in take out. Take out, dine in kind of person! When it comes to this I still try and budget how we order. I look for coupons and I order family style. Even if the restaurant I am ordering from doesn’t offer it ha-ha! There are ways to do this, and I will make sure to share these tips on a different post.

Side Note: Crock pot meals, and casseroles are a great way to maker dinner and not have to stand around the kitchen while you cook! I made a salsa chicken casserole dish two days ago, and the next day used the leftovers for quick enchiladas. I made enough, because I knew I wanted quick delicious meals all weekend. Today we are having chicken soup with the last of the meat that was made. You can do this sort of thing too! Pinterest is your best friend! 

Do you have any tips you would like to share with me or anyone that reads this post? Please feel free to comment below! I am always ready to learn how to make things easier. I love sharing my thoughts and ideas with others, it makes me feel accomplished. If I can get just one person to say hey,that is a great idea, or that is an awesome post my heart is overjoyed! Thank you for reading and until next time, good-bye!!

P.S. Searching for stocking stuffer ideas? Please check out my 24 Stocking Stuffer ideas for under $20 post!

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