Thursday, January 25, 2007

Singing for Supper: A Frugal Meal Tip From Ugly Betty & Cheap Eating Ideas

Singing for a 50 percent discount on a restaurant meal was yet another frugal moment from Ugly Betty, a hit television show. Betty pushes her trust-fund-baby-boss Daniel to the stage of an Italian restaurant.

The Scenario: The fashion magazine duo (Daniel & Betty) act like Sonny & Cher and sing I Got You Babe karaoke-style at an Italian eatery in Brooklyn.

The Goal: A 50-percent-off discount from their meal.

The Tip: Even after Daniel complains: But I'm rich, Betty pursues the sing-for-your-supper discount.

The Lesson: Even if you have a well-fed bank account, a 50 percent discount is very well-done.

That Ugly Betty episode (from Jan 18) is posted online at There are many programs (cable and standard tv) that are available free online. I watch basketball highlights at

Ugly Betty whet my appetite for other ways to eat out for less. Here's my short list:

1. sells discounts to many restaurants. I've tried it and liked it. But caution: it's a good deal, but don't over order. The extra food will eat up your savings.

2. Early bird-specials. Many places charge less if you have dinner before six.

3. Have a late lunch. Lunch menus tend to be much cheaper than the dinner selection.

4. Go to gallery openings. Many galleries have a wonderful selection of free food and goodies on opening night. Think of it this way: It's a [light] dinner and a floor show!

5. Volunteer: Many charities provide huge deli platters, pizza and other treats for volunteers who help out at events, charitable dinners and phone-a-thons. At one pledge-a-thon, a larger kosher restaurant donated a wide selection of tasty food for helpers. My boys volunteered. They enjoyed helping out and they enjoyed the food. Plus, they received community service hours for school.

6. Always Tip Well!!!! Don't stiff the servers. I used to be a waitress and I know how hard servers work for the money.

Money Smart Life provides super tips for eating out without spending a fortune.

By the way, we don't have cable and we watch a limited amount of television programming via the Internet, a subject I addressed last year in this post and more recently, in this story about Ugly Betty.



The Frugal Duchess Boutique

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