8 Ways to Eat Out for Less

Top culinary experts share their frugal dining strategies.


Bring your own wine. Wine is often the most expensive item on the menu. "People, when they come into a restaurant, look at the menu and forget to look at the price of a glass of wine," says Kinsella. It can be painful to pay 20 percent or more for a glass of wine than you would at a liquor store down the street. Some restaurants allow you to bring your own wine. But before packing up your bottle, call and ask if the restaurant charges a corkage fee. It's also worth asking a manager if he or she will waive the fee. "If I bring my own wine, I feel very smart and elegant," says Barbara Corcoran, author of Nextville: Amazing Places to Live the Rest of Your Life. "You save the embarrassment of looking cheap and ordering the cheapest wine."

[For more on frugal living, see 10 Bargain Retirement Spots.]