I'm going to give it to you straight. One word on going out to eat:
Listen, Cheapskate, stop with the excuses. And for heaven's sake, is that a tear? If you want to save money, you simply can't go out to eat. At all. Ever. Not even for a burrito. And no, not even for a McDonald's hamburger. Not even when they're two for a dollar.
There are some situations where you may feel compelled or obliagated to go out to eat. Do not succumb. You don't have to. I have some helpful suggestions for getting out of going out to eat.
1) It's a date.
If someone invites you out to dinner, and even if they are going to pay, tell them you'd prefer to have the cash. Offer to cook them a home-cooked meal of lentils and garden green beans in exchange for the cost of going out to eat. If you're like me, you'll need to unload some green beans anyway. Or show up for the dinner with a couple of peanut butter sandwiches. If this person is worthy of you, they will understand.
2) The "Yay, it's so-and-so's birthday work lunch."
I once had one of those mindless jobs - sitting in a beige cubicle staring at a computer monitor. Every so often I felt obligated to go to one of these lunches. If you must go, don't eat. If necessary, say you have a stomach ache. If you eat even one bite of bread from the bread basket you will be expected to pay a full share of the meal. Do not eat even one bite. Don't order a drink because this will have the same effect of reqiuring you to pay for a full share of the tab. When it's your birthday, don't tell anyone. If they find out anyway, tell them you have a stomach ache and can't go out to eat.
3) You're away from home and hungry.
Tough. It probably won't kill you to be hungry. I mean, people fast on purpose for their health so do you think missing just one meal is going to hurt? Carry a couple of apples in your backpack for emergencies like these. Plan ahead and bring a peanut butter sandwich. An added plus: You will enjoy your dinner even more if you skipped lunch.
I wouldn't own a house now if I had blown money going out to eat. Think about why you are saving money and this will help motivate you.