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Written by Marilyn B., Sprout Volunteer

I love doing special things for my husband, however, like every other person on this planet we are strapped for cash. Here are a few tricks that we do to have a special day and not spend that extra money.

Fast food
Every fast food place has dollar menus but did you know that you can save even more for a family with a few tricks. The dollar soda pop is great if the restaurant has free refills. However for a few cents more you can save even more by buying the largest that you can get with no ice (they fill the cup as full as they can with ice and you get very little soda). You can go even cheaper by asking for water and it is healthier too!!! The dollar fry is great for one person, however, the extra large is even cheaper if you share it with others. Desert is great if you share it with your partner (you get all of the taste with 1/2 of the calories at 1/2 price to boot). One restaurant sells their pies one for 89 cents and 2 for a dollar. For the main course salads are great, but they are always way too big for me so my husband and I share. You can also buy the dollar side salad and a dollar sandwich without the bread. You have a smaller portion for 1/2 the price. Also be careful when ordering. One restaurant sells a double cheeseburger for 1.29 but their Mc double is only 1.00. You are paying 29 cents for only a piece of cheese (Mc double has one piece of cheese) otherwise they are exactly the same. Chicken nuggets the larger that you get the lower the price per nugget. Plus you are saving on the packaging.

Fancy restaurants
Here are a few tricks that we do and have the fancy time with no kids. Who says date night has to be at night? How about a date in the morning before the day is started? Or what about lunch time? (The prices are less then too) At lunch you don’t have to pay a sitter. When the kids were little we would have date time with the kids at the grocery store using the play place for sitting. We would get a nice meal and sitters free spending a lot less than going to a restaurant. We have also done these tricks. Buy a large 25 dollar meal verses 2 smaller 15 dollar meals. Share the salad and bread then order waters to drink. My husband and I are more than filled and I get my Lobster too. We have also gotten our meal to go and had a quiet meal on the beach or park. You can also do a romantic picnic on the cheap by buying picnic foods at the grocery store.

Another trick is go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant but have your desert later at an Ice cream parlor. We also think out of the box and have gone to the snack bar at the Tom Ridge Environment Center. Their food is different then most snack bars and is very reasonable. Or What about breakfast? You can get the breakfast bar for less than the dinner bar. Another twist is get the pu pu platter to go at your local Chinese place add a home made salad for nutrition. Last but not least did you know that you can buy steaks at the dollar tree? (they are pretty good too) Put them on the grill add a salad and fries and you have a meal for four under ten dollars.

What ever you do have fun and treat dad as the king he is for a day. (after that he has to come off the thrown)