Student and Graduate Publishing

How to eat out on a graduate budget

Thursday, 24 March 2016 10:40

Most young professionals like to spend their hard-earned money on eating out and enjoying time with friends, but can you still do that on a budget as tight as a graduate one? Of course, you just need to know where to look…

I love eating out. I love experiencing different tastes, different culinary cultures and different ways of dining. My friends are all the same, and with so many graduates able to afford to do it, there has to be a way around the money issue, right?

As a graduate myself, I work to a strict budget. I know how difficult it can be to try and fit in evenings out with friends, but over the years I’ve picked up a few money-saving tips when it comes to enjoying yourself. Hopefully, they’ll help you out too.

Get yourself a Tastecard

I’ve had a Tastecard for a couple of years now. Basically, they partner with a tonne of restaurants across the UK to bring you two for one discounts, 50% off food bills and so on. Although when you go on the website it seems like a large sum of money at £79.99 to pay for a bit of plastic, in the long run, it pays for itself and a lot more besides. 

However, they very frequently have offers on to entice members such as a free tablet, reduced joining fees and so on. If you sign up for their £1 monthly trial (sometimes it’s free) and you decide you like it, then hang on until they have an offer with something you really want to renew it.

Be on the lookout for online offers

Aside from Tastecard, don’t forget that there are tonnes of online discounts. I use regularly for discount codes; if you’re planning on a meal out somewhere, check on here first before you book a reservation somewhere. It’s often the case that you’ll need to book through a special link for the code to work. Plus, make sure you create a free account on Groupon so that you can check in on their dining offers in your area.

Sign up for newsletters to your favourite places

I have dozens of emails sent through to me on a regular basis from my favourite restaurants in town. Whenever they do promotions, you’ll be the first one to hear about it.

For example, if they undergo a refurbishment, they’ll usually let their subscription list know first when they’re re-opening, and they might be doing a special offer just for you guys. Sometimes, you can get as much as 50% off.

Keep up to date with new openings

I live in the city with the highest rate of restaurant openings every year, so there’s a lot going on and a lot of savings to be had. When a new restaurant opens, they will often post on their website about soft launches instead of a grand opening-night, where they don’t widely publicise their opening date.

Sign up to receive updates so that when they’re all set to go, the soft launch reservation dates will come through to you first. There will sometimes be a large discount off the normal price in order to entice customers and create a buzz around the new restaurant. 

I hope this article has given you some tips on how you can frequently get amazing food for equally amazing prices if you just keep your eyes peeled!

Author bio

Caroline Canty is a writer and blogger living in Manchester city centre. Her lifestyle blog,, focuses on bringing advice and help to graduates on everything from writing professional CVs to furnishing a flat for the first time. She also has a food section if you’d like to check out her restaurant reviews and recipes.