According to one survey, 46 per cent of Brits plan on spending less money on eating out this festive season.
Andrea Knowles, budgeting expert at vouchers.co.uk, has shared seven tips to help soften the blow to your bank balance.
1. Always arrive at your meal on time so you don't need to buy a drink at the bar
Not only do these drinks increase your total bill but drinking alcohol before your stomach is lined could lead you to getting tipsy and, therefore, blowing your budget.
2. Waiters and waitresses may request your drink order as soon as you sit to entice you to make a more expensive decision
While this can be a sign of good service, it is sometimes a psychological trick made to force you to pick a drink before you've had a chance to look at the price.
3. Never order the second-cheapest wine as it's often a psychological trick
Many people tend to order the second cheapest wine so that they don’t seem ‘stingy’, however, as this is such a common occurrence, many restaurants hike the price up.
4. Picking the set menu isn't always the most cost-effective decision
This can actually make you spend more money than you would have if you didn't order a set menu. Whilst a three-course menu for £20 may seem like a bargain, you may not be that keen on the starter or dessert options but pick one of them anyway.
5. The menu will highlight an expensive meal so other options seem like a bargain
Another technique restaurants use on their menu is to highlight their most expensive item by placing it in a box. Not only does this encourage big spenders to treat themselves to the ‘best’ item on the menu but it can actually have the opposite effect, too.
The sheer size and price of the item make everything else look reasonable in comparison, so diners feel like they are getting a bargain if they pick something else.
6. If the GBP sign isn't included in the menu, this is an attempt to disassociate the number from money
Many restaurant menus omit the British pound sign when listing prices. Studies show that removing the sign disassociates the monetary value, so you don’t feel like you’re spending money.
7. If you're sharing an appetiser, ask whether it arrives in an odd or even portion.