How to enjoy fine dining without going broke


Posted at Mar 15 2014 03:14 PM | Updated as of Mar 15 2014 11:14 PM

Master chef Wolfgang Puck poses with miniature Oscar statues coated with 24k gold dust during the 86th Oscars Governors Ball press preview in Hollywood, California. Photo by Fred Prouser, Reuters

MANILA, Philippines - Would you like to enjoy fine dining, but afraid it will break your wallet?

ANC On The Money's resident financial advisor Salve Duplito says it is alright to splurge once in a while, as long as you know your limits.

She suggested setting aside some "fun" money every month.

"The number should be a percentage of your net income. How much? Just enough so you can still fill up your other savings buckets. It can be 1% or 10%, depending on how much you need for your other goals. This will allow you to enjoy within limits and responsibly," she said.

Before heading to that fancy hotel for dinner, Duplito suggested using the hotel or restaurant's marketing tricks against them.

She said one can find great deals for hotel and fine dining buffets by joining their mailing lists to be the first to know of discounts.

"(Also) you can get as much as 50% to 70% off during off-peak hours. I spoke with some marketing insiders and they say they have very little traffic on these hours, they might as well give away the food. But the trick, they say, is charging consumers an arm and a leg for drinks. So, enjoy the buffet but say "no" to drinks," Duplito said.

There are also discount coupons for restaurants available on websites like Metrodeal and Groupon.

When you get to the restaurant, Duplito said one should try to avoid over-ordering and getting expensive wine or drinks.

"Restaurants also charge high for the second or third least-quality wine to earn a high margin. So get cheaper wines... Also, forego expensive drinks and desserts in fine-dining restaurants," she said.

Another way to enjoy good food is to prepare it at home. "Buy quality meat, fish and vegetables, and 'google' the recipes and just cook at home," she added.

Duplito said there's nothing wrong with indulging yourself with good food once in a while.

"There's nothing wrong with enjoying your money as long as you are preparing to enjoy life now as well as in the future. Never spend on fine dining now what you need for medicine 10 or 20 years from now," she said.