When we first started hanging out with our current group of friends, they used to have a weekly wing night.  We joined them a few times but our food/ entertainment budget didn’t support the weekly frequency of these outings and we had to opt out most of the time.  Two of the friends then began having job stability issues and soon the weekly wing night came up on the chopping block.

After a bit of brainstorming, (and a home purchase by the ‘main’ couple of the group) weekly wing night became Tuesday barbecue nights- and they’re way better than weekly wing nights ever were! Each Tuesday, the host sends around a text to everyone reminding them that we’re having dinner that night and lets everyone know what the main dish will be.  We all text back whether or not we will be attending and what we will be bringing to accompany the main dish.

The potluck started out as a barbecue and most often my husband would bring a marinated pork tenderloin to be barbecued up and the rest of us would bring veggies or bread or salad sides to go along. Over the winter, the barbecue idea fell out of favour and we moved towards chilis and other slow cooker meals.

This is one of the best social engagements that we attend. I love that we know that it is happening every single week. There’s no question, if it’s Tuesday we will be there.  I love that we can go as fancy or simple as we want. If we’ve had time to bake a fancy dessert, that’s awesome, but if not there’s no shame in stopping at the grocery store and grabbing some garlic bread and potato salad on the way over. There’s no hassle in bringing our baby. There’s a bedroom I can nurse him in and a bed for him to sleep in if need be.  The boys drink beer and the girls gab it up (we get to be the DDs) at our leisure, no waitresses asking how we’re doing all the time waiting for us to leave so they can put someone else at our table.

The best of all is that for $5-10 we get to eat a (usually awesome) meal with our friends with a variety of food that we didn’t have to make (or think up) ourselves! The potluck truly is the best of ‘dining out’!

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6 Responses to How To Eat Out for Free (Or Close To It)

  1. That’s awesome! Eating from home is so much cheaper than eating out, and sometimes it’s funner with friends because there is more freedom to stay longer and talk more.

  2. Sheila Groleau Smith says:

    Nice idea. I always like other folks cooking for me so bringing one dish as opposed to making a whole meal is an easy night. Bonus on the visit with friends.

  3. Marianne says:

    It’s always lots of fun and the variety of dishes makes it much more interesting than a restaurant could ever be. The best part is that it’s a standing engagement- we always know when and where it will be- no hassle!

  4. Christa says:

    That does sound like fun. We did this for a short while with a group of work friends — we should start it up again!

  5. JAMES says:

    That is a fantastic idea. I do mystery shopping and get to eat out for free in exchange for my report on the service and food the restaurant offered.

    • Marianne says:

      I’ve done a bit of mystery shopping before but was never able to find very good mystery shops in my area- nothing awesome like a restaurant!! That would be great!

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