Do You Split Meals At Restaurants?

posted by Andrea | 02/29/2012

{splitting a Chinese meal at our local mall}

Dave and I don’t go out to eat all that often — and when we do, we always try to use coupons and gift cards to reduce our out-of-pocket expense. We also have pretty inexpensive taste as Dave’s favorite restaurant is Culver’s and mine is either Fazoli’s or the Chinese place in our local mall!

Another thing we often do to reduce the expense of eating out is splitting one meal. We love going to places like T.G.I.Friday’s, Applebee’s, or Chili’s when they have their special 3-course meals because we’ll split the appetizer, main meal, and dessert. We both get plenty of food, we aren’t overly stuffed, we don’t have to worry about boxing up the leftovers, and we save a bunch of money.

And even though we ALWAYS tip the waitress based on the cost of two full meals, I still sometimes feel super cheap when we split a meal!

However, if we don’t split a meal, we both end up taking leftovers home and we both feel overly stuffed when we leave the restaurant. Plus we end up spending twice as much… it just doesn’t make sense.

I’m assuming Dave and I aren’t the only couple splitting meals at restaurants, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.

Do you regularly split meals when you eat out? Or do you each get your own meal and take leftovers home? Do you tip the waitress based on the cost of two meals? And do you have any other ways to save money while eating out?

What are your thoughts on splitting meals at restaurants?

Oh, and if you’re interested, here are a few more ways to save money at  restaurants.

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Filed under: Daily LifeFrugal LivingLife



  1. Barb


    My husband & I almost always split meals in nice restaurants when we do go out to eat. We both aren’t picky eaters so it’s easy for us to like what the other one does. Sometimes, we will order separately and then take “to go” boxes for leftovers, which are wonderful! We feel like it’s not wrong to split meals since it can be expensive and by the time you tip, it really adds up, but trying to eat all that food (if you order separately) is not healthy for you and the pounds like to add on.


  2. Dee@ Small House Life


    Hmmm.. well it depends on if we want to take the leftovers home.. because we definitely can’t eat a full meal ourselves.

    Sometimes we each have a salad and then split the entree.

    I don’t know that we actually aim to pay for two meals.. but we generally tip 25-30% unless it’s horrible service.. and then I like to tip 0-10% altho my husband insists we give about 12%



  3. Lana


    We’ve been splitting meals for at least the last 25 years! Long ago when my husband’s job moved us and our two small children to Denver and paid us per diem to eat out every meal for four months while we lived in a motel, we bought kids’ meals at nice restaurants plus entrees for us — a few times. We very soon realized we didn’t need that much food! And the “splitting” habit was born. We still split meals when we go out and even with our grown-up girls — and usually the little bitty granddaughters also eat off our plates! Son-in-law doesn’t share our interest for sharing meals, however.


  4. Meredith


    Not usually. If the case presents itself we do but that’s rare. The coupons we have in our area are typically Bogo or you have to buy two entrees to get the meal. If we do share, it has to be at a place where you can get a big plate of meat and veggies to go with rice…think thai or chinese. We used to share a lot and I noticed that I was always getting stuck with the smaller portion or eating one French fry at a time while my hubby was eating three to four at a time. I loved him too much not to complain and now we just go to places we all can afford!


  5. Heidi Gail


    We never split meals although we used to feed our toddlers off of our plates. It just seems too cheap (and many restaurants here charge an extra plate charge.) What we do is wait for the BOGO coupons in the mail or newspaper, then we take any extra food home.


  6. Tina


    We share, and so do our kids. We don’t let our 4 kids order off the kid menu because it’s so expensive. We order them a regular meal, and they split it. By ordering off the regular menu, they also get a better selection. I refuse to go out and pay for them to eat mac and cheese or pizza at a restaurant too!


  7. Melissa


    My friend and her husband always share and I think it’s a good way to keep their budget and their waists trim. I think that my husband and I should try it but he likes to eat different things than I do. I do love tapas restaurants, we’ll order three small plates and share everything. When we went on vacation with our daughter and nephews, it was a lot cheaper to order one adult sized chicken strip and fries meal for all four of them, especially because two are under two years old and really don’t eat much yet.


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