Restaurants are feeling inflation at a slightly lower rate than grocery stores -- at a forecasted 2 percent to 3 percent for 2012, according to the USDA. But your wallet still may feel a hit after a night out.
To counter the increased costs at your favorite eatery, Kay offers these tips.
Look for gift certificates at restaurants in your area through Restaurant.com, a service that sells these at deep discounts. Frequently, you can find $25 certificates for $2 to $5 each.
In addition, sift through group-buying websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial to find deals, and use free smartphone applications such as Coupon Sherpa and Yowza to find restaurant coupons.
Otherwise, stick to water while you're out, split meals with a friend or have a cocktail during happy hour when prices are lower, Kay says.