12 Tips to Shrink Your Restaurant Bill
Posted 11 days ago by LearnVest
Although staying in to eat is a lot cheaper than going out, foodies can’t help but indulge in their favorite restaurants once in a while. Food is one of the biggest joys in life, and nothing is better than sharing a good meal and conversation with the ones you love.
In fact, the restaurant industry in America makes about $1.8 billion on a typical day, according to the Restaurant Association. That’s a lot of money we’re spending on meals out! On your next food outing, be sure to keep these tips in mind to shrink your bill:
1. Skip the Drinks
Sodas, alcohol, and other non-tap water drinks tend to be overpriced at restaurants. Get water with your meal, and if you’re really itching for a particular drink, wait until dinner’s over and head to a convenient store to buy it.
2. Order the Kiddie Meal
The meals for kids are generally cheaper and most of the times are the perfect size for adults! This option is also great for portion control and your wallet.
3. Get Takeout
Skip the long wait and the service tip by taking out a meal from the restaurant and enjoying it at home. This way, you won’t be tempted to spend money on drinks and dessert.
4. Do Your Research
Yelp the restaurant to death before eating at the establishment. A big waste of money is not eating your food. Check out if the restaurant is worth your bucks and see what dishes are highly recommended by fans. Sometimes the opinions of the masses are more accurate than your friendly waiter.
5. Bring Back the Leftovers
Bring back a doggy bag and make the most of your leftovers. Sometimes you can even make an entirely new meal out of them. For example, when I had leftover steak one time, I chopped it up and stir-fried it with veggies for a brand-new dish.
6. Split a Meal
Since portions are usually way oversized, split an entree with your eating partner and perhaps an appetizer to share.
7. Order Appetizers
Ask the waiter how big the appetizers are at the restaurant or look at what the people near you are eating. Sometimes appetizers alone can be big enough for a meal!
8. Go For Lunch
Oftentimes, the lunch menu is a lot cheaper than dinner. Check out your restaurant in the daytime and be sure to pick their lunch specials.
9. Wait For Deals
Look out for daily deals from sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial!
10. Don’t Go Hungry
Don’t skip a meal before you go to the restaurant just to have that extra space in your stomach for food. When you’re hungry, you’re more prone to ordering more than you can eat.
11. Use Coupons
Go to Restaurant.com and enter in a coupon code that’ll get you a $25 voucher for only $10. You can find the coupon code by searching online at sites like RetailMeNot.com.
You can also buy a local Entertainment book worth $15 that will give you lots of buy one get one free coupons for restaurants.
12. Earn Rewards
Do your research on sites like Credit Card Guide and figure out which credit cards give you the best rewards for your diner bucks. Oftentimes, if you’re a loyal member of a mileage program, you can even earn some miles by eating at the restaurants the airline partners up with. For example, Southwest has a Rapid Rewards Dining program that credits three points for every dollar spent with their restaurant partners.
More from LearnVest:
$1,500 and a Dream: The Banana Republic Story
Posted 15 days ago by LearnVest
*Our good friends at LearnVest had the opportunity to interview the founders of Banana Republic. Read their interview below:
It’s the quintessential American concept: Start a business from a simple idea, and then watch it explode into a multimillion-dollar corporation.
Of course, most people who decide to become entrepreneurs have a plan. A little money, perhaps. And maybe some contacts.
Mel and Patricia Ziegler, the couple behind the clothing empire Banana Republic, had none of these things. But, in 1978, they did have a vision. “We were both doused with romantic fantasies of Hemingway and adventure.” says Patricia. “We wanted to figure out how to travel and see the world.”
The Zieglers knew it wouldn’t be possible to travel the globe with the paltry salaries that they made working for the San Francisco Chronicle, so they decided to start a business. They just had no idea what it would be.
When Mel came back from assignment in Australia wearing a safari jacket that he’d bought for $5, it dawned on them—with no fashion or business experience between them, mind you—they’d start a clothing store.
The couple’s journey to success is documented in their new book, “Wild Company: The Untold Story of Banana Republic.” LearnVest sat down with Patricia to find out more about the duo’s unconventional business tale.
LearnVest: You were a courtroom illustrator and Mel was a newspaper reporter. What made you think that you could make and sell clothing?
Patricia Ziegler: We were young and having fun, and we kind of felt like we had nothing to lose. Well, except the $1,500 we had in savings between us!
Also, it was the late ’70s—not a great time for fashion. Everything was polyester and disco shiny. We were craving clothing with character.
So you decided to make that clothing yourself, based on Mel’s safari jacket.
Exactly. We went to a surplus store in town and spent most of our savings on these paratrooper shirts that were $1.75 a piece. We figured that I could sew a few elbow patches on them, switch out the buttons and then sell them at a higher price at a flea market.
The first weekend we priced them at $6.75, and we sold four or five. It was not good. We knew we needed to do something different. So, the next weekend, I put on some tight jeans and heels, along with one of the shirts. I belted it, rolled up the sleeves and put a sign on the table that said, “Short-armed paratrooper shirts, $12.95.”
We just about sold out. It was our first big business lesson about the importance of presentation and perceived value, based on price.
[Laughs.] We decided to set up a store.
With no business experience to speak of, right?
We really were just learning as we went along. Mel found a real hole in the wall for $200 a month, and then we figured that we should probably get a business loan so we could buy more surplus to stock the store. When we went to the bank, the loan officer said that we didn’t have any of the 3 C’s needed to get a loan—capital, credit history or collateral. But he said that we had character!
And then he told us that some stores offer a 30-days-to-pay option, so that’s how we stocked our shop in the beginning. We figured that we could sell the merchandise in 30 days in order to pay the surplus stores what we owed them.
RELATED: Want to Get Your Own Idea Off the Ground? Check Out the Build Your Business Bootcamp
So what were some of your biggest lessons?
Go with what you’ve got. It’s an old journalism adage—when you have a deadline, but you don’t have everything you need for the story, you just have to go with what you’ve got. We didn’t have money, but we had imagination. We didn’t have fabric, but we had surplus, so we went with what we had. We also firmly believe in the idea that you never give up. Refuse to fail. That’s how we operate.
Any advice for other couples who are thinking about going into business together?
When things started taking off, we had some issues stemming from lack of sleep. But, overall, we work really well together because we completely trust each other’s judgment. Mel would never question my decisions—even the time in the beginning, when I spent a lot of money on 3,000 big, baggy shorts. He looked at them and thought, well, if she believes in them, let’s go with it. And when he wanted to rent a warehouse—even though I had no idea how we were going to pay for it—it was like, I know he understands that, so just go for it.
One hundred percent trust and faith in each other gives you that extra dimension of strength. After all this time working together, we don’t know what people have to talk about if they don’t work together!
What’s next for you guys?
We love talking about our book because we want to inspire young people and let them know that it doesn’t matter what you don’t have. You have yourself and your imagination, so just go for it. We’re also working on a new food-product business that will launch sometime this summer. It’s fun! We thrive on possibility.
More from LearnVest:
Tying the Knot: Who Pays for What?
Posted 23 days ago by LearnVest
We’re way past the age where we have to stick to certain outdated rules when it comes to weddings, such as the bride’s parents footing the bill for most of the wedding.
This tradition stems from the times when parents had to include a dowry to make the bride more attractive, since she won’t be able to earn income. These days, many couples are splitting the costs evenly among themselves, with and without their parents.
Take a look at the traditional cost breakdown of a wedding for reference. But keep in mind that no one is required to follow these rules — it all depends on your own situation.
Bride pays for:
Wedding gift for groom
Gifts for bridesmaids
Bridal party luncheon
Transportation for bridal party to wedding
Groom pays for:
Engagement ring and bride’s wedding ring
Wedding gift for bride
Gifts for groomsmen
Boutonnieres for groomsmen, fathers, and grandfathers
Corsages for mothers and grandmothers
Transportation for groomsmen to wedding
Bride’s family pays for:
Wedding planner or coordinator
Bridal party transportation to wedding
Their own attire
Gifts for the couple
Groom’s family pays for:
Alcohol at the reception (optional)
Their own wedding wear
Gifts for the couple
Wedding party pays for:
Their own attire
Best man and groomsmen host the bachelor party
Maid of honor and bridesmaids host the wedding shower and/or bachelorette
Gifts for the couple
Guests pay for:
Their own attire
Gifts for the couple
More from LearnVest:
Actress-turned-musician Logan Tracey Dishes on NYC, Music and Her Style Icons
Posted 24 days ago by Amanda Raye
Broke & Chic recently teamed up with actress-turned-musician Logan Tracey for a budget friendly photo shoot. Logan moved to New York City after graduating from college with her heart set on being an actress. She’s since had quite a few amazing gigs over the years, but recently realized her true passion is music.
Last year she began recording her debut album For Sale with producer Michelangelo Sosnowitz. According to Logan:
I find more joy recording in the studio than I ever imagined. When you’re recording an album it’s almost like a contant rehearsal – meaning you get to be adventurous and have fun and only keep the best takes
Read our interview with Logan below where she tells us her debut album For Sale, how she saves money, what she wished she knew when she first moved to New York and what it’s like changing careers.
Broke & Chic: What was your goal with this album?
Logan: To make some fun music with my producer (and friend) Michelangelo Sosnowitz! But the main goal is to get it placed in television, film and commercials; and we’ll play some live shows in NYC this summer.
B&C: What was it like realizing your passion was no longer acting?
Logan: I’d say I found something else that is as exciting as being an actress. And don’t get me wrong, I love acting and working on projects, but for me the best part of any creative endeavor is to play and have fun with your team/crew/friends – and this was all that!
I think what I like about working with Michelangelo and working on this album is that I had more creative control than one often does as an actor. We worked together to mix and listen and remix all of the tracks and I am really proud of them all in their own way.
B&C: What’s your favorite song on your album For Sale?
Logan: All of the tracks are really different and my thoughts on this change but I love Way From Here – that’s the first track on the album and the first track Mike and I recorded. I also really love Say Goodbye and Belong. I think lyrically they have some twists in them and the melodies are just lovely.
B&C: What advice would you give the guy or girl who’s interested in becoming an actor?
Logan: Be patient, be committed, do your very best every day, and don’t get crazy.
B&C: New York is expensive. What are some tricks you’ve learned since you’ve been here in order to save money?
Logan: I never buy bottled water anymore, and try really hard not to buy coffee and I make sure to get great deals and shop sales always! I usually just think, “Do I actually need this?” and basically the answer is usually no.
B&C: Who’s your music and style icon?
Logan: Music is kind of all over the place, Simon & Garfunkel, Florence and the Machine, Eva Cassidy is amazing, Ella, but I also love Taylor Swift (I’m so sorry, guys!). Style-wise I die for Blake Lively. I think she’s gorg and always looks flawless.
B&C: What are your go to stores when it comes clothes?
Logan: I love JCrew, Splendid, and Banana Rebublic for work/put together looks. And Forever21 can’t be beat. But my secrect for events and fancy occasions is Rent the Runway. I love it.
B&C: What’s one thing you wish you knew the day you graduated from college?
Logan: It’s not a race — you have plenty of time.
B&C: What’s your least favorite trend at the moment?
Logan: PASTELS! They so don’t work on me.
B&C: What’s your favorite trend?
Logan: I’m loving the all white head-to-toe look and florals. So cute.
B& C: What was your most memorable experience recording this album?
Logan: The whole thing has been incredibly exciting, but I think the best part is how excited my friends and family have been about it. I have been singing forever and it’s really fu nto share it with them. To give them something tangible that they can hold in their hands and listen to.
B&C: What was it like seeing your songs on Spotify and iTunes for the first time?
Logan: It’s pretty badass.
B&C: What do you think your next step is?
Logan: To get the album into the hands of people who make tv, film commercials. To get it out there for people to listen to. We really just want to share it with everyone. People tend to like different tracks and are drawn to differnet things about the music, which is so cool.
Her album For Sale can be found on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon, so make sure you check it out! If you want to learn more about Logan, be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook!
*A very big thanks to our photographer, Laura Gallant and our makeup artist, Jackie Risotto.
Mother’s Day: Best Ways to Celebrate in a Fun and Healthy Way
Posted 30 days ago by Amanda Raye
Getting your mom a great gift for Mother’s Day is always a nice way to show your love and appreciation for her on this special day. However, giving the gift of spending quality time together in a fun and healthy way will be more meaningful to her than any bouquet of flowers, cards or jewelry could ever be.
This Mother’s Day, Sunday May 12th, start a new tradition of honoring your mom with health-minded activities — one’s that can introduce new healthy habits, which the both of you can incorporate into your lives. Renowned expert trainers and co-founders of The Prime Method , Jennifer Devillers and Jolie Kobrinsky, have listed below the best Mother’s Day activities to plan for your mom, based on their 3-tier health based philosophy – Move, Mind, and Munch.
• Take her to a restorative yoga class
• Purchase vegetable seeds for her late spring garden and plant them together
• Go for a side-by-side foot massage or pedicure
• Plan a special wildflower hike in your area – picnic and new hiking shoes included
• Take her dancing (country western, ballroom, folk, or other)
• Do a pantry/refrigerator overhaul with her. Bring new shelf liners and storage containers.
• Send a Resistance Band with door anchor and a printed workout.
• Mix a CD with music from the year she turned 18
• Send her a subscription to a healthy magazine
• Sign her up for an online membership to a fitness website
• Send her a yoga mat, stainless steel water bottle and kettle bell
• Make a healthy brunch from scratch using super foods and surprise her with an unexpected location outside. Include recipe cards in a basket with some key ingredients.
• Have a Smoothie Making Party and leave her with your favorite protein powder, smoothie recipes and a supply of ball jars with plastic lids.
• Gift her a new Vitamix and a recipe book or recipes printed out nicely on card stocks and make one together.
• Make a “locavore” dinner together. Go shop together at your local farmer’s market for the ingredients then cook the meal together, using a meal plan she can refer to later.
• Mail a basket of Super Foods: Chia Seeds, Ground Flax Seeds, Gogi Berries, Coconut oil, Sea Salt, Apple Cider Vinegar and organic lemons, along with a printed description of how to use and the benefits of each.
• Send a high-speed blender and Green Smoothie recipes
• Sign her up for an online membership to a fitness website
• Arrange mail delivery from a local CSA every week for the season
• Schedule a photo shoot with the two of you and family – and give her a frame
• Bring over a “Basket of Mellow” – Epsom salts, Calm (magnesium powder), Herbal tea, Local Organic Honey, a book of poetry
• Take a walk down memory lane with all of the family photo albums/movies/slideshows
• Send a sleep and dream journal with guidelines and a sunrise alarm clock
• Send an eco-friendly pillow
• Send a lavender candle, bath salts and silk sleep mask
• Send a book on aging gracefully. We really like 7 Years Younger.
Have another idea? Share it with us in the comments below!
Your Summer Social Life: How to Stay Stylish at Every Event
Posted 34 days ago by Alexandra Jacobs
There’s no way to avoid it; summer is a social season. From weddings and garden parties, to barbecues and vacations, there’s a definite need to transform your wardrobe in time for the warmer months. But where to begin?
Having a winter wardrobe cleanout is always a strenuous task, but it’s something we all have to go through. Need some fashion inspiration? Here are some combinations to ensure that you start your summer social life in style.
Finding the right holiday wear can definitely be stressful. There are a million things you need to consider. What you’ll be doing during the day, the weather, maybe even what your kids need to wear; the list is endless! Our advice is simple: start planning and packing early.
For a beach holiday, your staple item is swimwear. Let’s face it, if you’re going to be out in the sunshine for hours, this is all you’ll need. Whether it’s a high waisted bikini or lingerie inspired one-piece, take the time to find the right style for you.
Going on a cruise? Then remember to take longer dresses for the evenings. Just a simple floor length silk number would do the trick. You can thank us later.
Garden parties, cookouts and picnics can also be difficult events to dress for, as you never really know how formal the event will be. Will it be just you and a few friends? A family gathering? A big birthday celebration? Well, whatever the occasion, there is one item of clothing that’s ideal for any garden party; maxi dresses!
Maxis have the magical ability of blending in with any fashion crowd. For those who have an inkling that the get-together will be more causal, complement your combination with a pair of gladiator sandals. And if you want your outfit to be a little dressier, opt for wedges. It’s as easy as that!
Dress: $68.00 at Kaleidoscope
Similar to garden parties, for weddings it’s a good idea to wear something fresh and summery. Again a floral maxi would be a wise choice. However, if you’re the mother of the bride or a ‘VIP’ of the event, then you need to think formal.
It doesn’t necessarily have to take a huge amount of effort. But if you’re there for the duration of the day, then you need to find something that’s appropriate for the day and the night. Keep it classic. An elegant midi dress coupled with some opened toed heels would work perfectly
What are your favorite go-to summer outfits? Let us know in the comments below.