Recently, I read an article on Reader's Digest's site. It was about the 'secret' shenanigans that happen in restaurants. Some included servers lying about broth being vegetarian or about a card being declined just to embarrass customers they consider bad. And it doesn't stop there. The eggs are oftentimes made from a powdered substance. Fish on Sundays and Mondays tend to be the worst (because a lot of restaurants order new fish for the week after Monday). If a diner asks for a complicated drink, a server might say they're out just so they don't have to spend time getting it made.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg. (There are 52 other things featured in the piece if you want to check it out). Yeah, these restaurant incidents are wack, but even with all of that warranted side-eye info, let's not act like we won't probably walk up into a restaurant within the next couple of weeks.
To tell you the truth, if there's something that irks me even more than the list that I read, it's how high a restaurant tab can sometimes be. So, in the hopes of helping you to keep a few extra dollars in your pocket, here are some simple ways to save money when eating out. Hey, at least there can be a silver lining to all of the other ish that sometimes goes down up in those establishments.
Easy Ways To Lower Your Food Bill At Restaurants
1. Look Online Before You Leave
There are benefits to following your favorite restaurants online. Sometimes they list last-minute deals and discounts---ones you wouldn't see elsewhere. About 30 minutes before you head out, check out their Twitter or Instagram to see if you can save a couple of bucks via one of their offers. While you're at it, visit discount sites like Retail Me Not, Eat Drink Deals and Restaurant to see if there are any coupons or promo codes that you can download. Don't be embarrassed to use coupons while eating out. You could literally be throwing money away, and why would you want to do that?
2. Have a Snack Before You Go Too
I'm pretty sure you've heard that if you don't want to spend more money than you should while grocery shopping, you should eat before you go. To tell you the truth, the same tactic applies before you go to your favorite restaurant, too. No one is saying to heat up leftovers or anything. But doing something as simple as munching on a banana, mango or even a little bit of popcorn can help to curve your cravings and prevent you from, as grandma used to put it, having eyes that are bigger than your stomach. (I wonder what you should do beforehand if you want to avoid overspending at Target or Walmart. If you've got a tip, please leave it in the comments).
3. Dine on Specific Days
Not too long ago, I penned a piece on how to make Monday your favorite day of the week. One thing that I suggested was going to happy hour at the top of the week rather than at the end of it. If you're down for a few 2-for-1 drinks early in the week, why not get dinner while you're there?
Typically, restaurants are a little slower on Mondays and Tuesdays which means you can oftentimes find a pretty good deal on an appetizer or even an entrée. Call ahead, just to be sure.
Speaking of days, you should avoid going out to eat on major holidays. Restaurants expect there to be more traffic, so they sometimes will roll out a fixed-price menu. Depending on how hungry you are, that can really start to stack up as opposed to ordering a regular entrée on other days.
4. Inquire About Status Discounts
Restaurants are a business, just like everything else. This means that, more times than not, your server isn't going to volunteer information when it comes to who automatically qualifies for a discount. But if you're a student (with valid ID), a teacher, a part of the military or a senior, sometimes that can earn you as much as 15 percent off of your total bill. (I wish I had known that back when I was in college. Applebee's would've been good and sick of me!)
5. See if the Restaurant Is BYOB
If you're the type of person who can't even imagine having a meal without a glass of wine or some other alcoholic beverage, avoid spending a mint at the restaurant's bar. You can save quite a bit if you head on over to a BYOB restaurant instead. It's not that hard to find one in your area. Use your favorite search engine and type, "BYOB restaurants", along with your city and state and—voila! Food is on them, drinks are on you, and extra money is in your pocket because of it.
6. Have Lunch at Dinner
Not all restaurants offer this option, but if the restaurant allows you to order their lunch portion at dinner, go ahead and do that. If you split an appetizer with a friend and have a drink or two, you're probably going to be fuller than you think. Rather than take a doggy bag home that you might not ever eat, how about spending less moola instead?
Speaking of menu items, pass on the so-called "chef special". More times than not, there's nothing "special" about it, other than the high price or the abundance of a particular item that is about to go bad if the staff doesn't get rid of it. Eww.
7. Look to the Left (No, Seriously)
A lot of times, the most expensive items on a menu are on the right side of it. Ain't this about a trip? Although we mostly read from left to right, what some marketing people have discovered is our eyes will automatically drift over to the right while looking at a menu. That's why some restaurants put the lower-priced items on the left.
You might've never given that much thought until now, but appetizers are typically on the left, right?
8. Nix The 'Extras'
Bottled water. Soda. Dessert. Not only can these kinds of items run up your food tab but—when it comes to bottled water, reading this article here about BPA should make you want to avoid ordering that at all costs. Soda? With all of the sugar and acid is in it, y'all know that it's the devil's drink. As far as dessert goes, you'd be better off foregoing it at the restaurant and picking something up at your local grocery store on the way home. That one slice of cake at your favorite eatery probably costs about the same amount as a whole cake at Kroger's or Publix's. Just sayin'.
9. Get It to Go
A lot of times, while I'm in the mood for a certain restaurant's cuisine, what I don't feel like dealing with is the wait to be seated or the crowds. The way that I avoid all that is to order something to go. If that's how you sometimes feel, you can oftentimes get more bang for your buck if you ask for a larger container for your order. For instance, if you order a small salad but ask for a large to-go carton, they will sometimes fill it to the brim. Or, if you get a burger and ask for a large container, you'll end up with a lot more fries. This might not happen 100 percent of the time, but many servers don't care to be so meticulous that they weigh your food, etc., so it doesn't hurt to ask. It's worked out in my favor many times over.
10. Don’t Forget to Look over Your Bill
There is one person, in particular, who I hate going out to eat with. She is so nitpicky that I feel bad for the server from the very moment they introduce themselves. But if there's one thing that I do appreciate is how thoroughly sis goes through her bill. While I don't think that servers are out here to jack us, they do tend to handle a lot of people at once, so you should never assume that what is printed is automatically right. Look through it, make sure your tab is correct, and then pay. There's no telling how much money we've all thrown out of the window because we failed to be more observant when it comes to this.
Bonus: For You Chipotle Lovers
Lawd, I can't even count how many people in my life are Chipotle fans. That's why I figured I'd do some of you a solid and add a few hacks before you go back to your favorite spot.
- First, more rice is usually on the house.
- If you skip the protein, guacamole doesn't usually cost extra.
- Most establishments won't trip off of you ordering from the kid's menu.
- If you ask for extra chips or taco shells, you've basically just made two meals out of your burrito bowl.
- You can get more meat by opting to have two proteins while placing your order.
- If you're really up for some tacos, order more than two; the unit price tends to go down when you do that.
- Ordering both styles of rice and beans will result in you getting about 90 percent more of both.
- Lastly, if you order a meatless dish, you can save around a dollar per order.
Oh, remember the discounts that I talked about earlier? If you sign up for the app that's on Chipotle's site, not only will they text you last-minute deals, you can also earn points for a free entrée with each order. No need to thank me, it's all good. Eat up and enjoy—for less.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Feature image by Shutterstock
Did you know that xoNecole has a podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to join us for weekly convos over cocktails (without the early morning hangover.)
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image courtesy
Author Stephen Covey once said something that I think is especially relevant to today’s topic: “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” Because if there is one thing that I hear far too many married couples (and if I’m gonna be real, it’s mostly the wives) say is their reason for not making intimacy a priority, it’s that they don’t have enough time.
I think we all can attest to the fact that a part of what comes with adulting is time management — and that includes prioritizing our time wisely. And that’s what brings the quote full circle because, although life does indeed have a way of life-ing, it’s essential — crucial even — to remember that, no matter what may come up that may seem “urgent,” intimacy with your spouse is always going to be important.
And that’s why I (catch the pun) made the time to come up with 10 ways to give you more time to have sex with your man, even if it seems like you don’t exactly have it.
1. Scale Down Your Social MediaGiphy
Whenever one of my clients tells me that the reason her sex life with her husband is suffering is because she doesn’t have the time for it, one of the first three questions that I ask her is how much time she spends on social media. If I get “crickets,” I’m automatically rolling my eyes to where she can see it.
Why? Because I am well aware of the fact that most people, on average, spend 2.5 hours A DAY scrolling on social media platforms. And since most people are fine with intercourse lasting anywhere between 7-13 minutes (Google it) — let’s just be real: when it comes to the sex lives that are on life support, it’s not that most of those folks don’t have time, it’s that they don’t make it….and that means they don’t prioritize sex in their relationship. And that is a problem that will only get bigger over time if it’s not addressed — quick, fast, and in a hurry.
If you feel seen, it’s time to power that phone down and ramp up your sex life. Social media will always be there; it’s important that you be proactive about making sure your marriage remains healthy and intact.
2. Shower TogetherGiphy
I think we all know that if your objective is to get clean(er), you need to take a shower instead of hopping into the bath (because clean water coming out of a showerhead is better than floating dirt in bathwater). So, what’s the plus of bathing? If you want to soothe achy muscles, reduce stress levels, and/or exfoliate your skin, having a bath soak can be a good look. However, since the chance of that being your focus first thing in the morning is slim, why not get “dirty” and clean with your partner in the morning before heading off to work?
Since, reportedly, the average shower lasts eight minutes, and we just discussed that sex tends to be between 7-13 minutes, you could be in there with your man for around 15 minutes and come out with an orgasmand being squeaky clean. Now, what could be better than that, sis?
3. Stop Underestimating QuickiesGiphy
I was recently talking to a male friend of mine about how his fiancée would rather have no sex at all instead of a quickie: “That s-it makes absolutely no sense to me because we both are able to get ours whether it’s an hour or 15 minutes.”
Listen, it’s not like I don’t see both sides of the coin on this. As far as she goes, sometimes long foreplay, a ton of romance (check out “Tonight's The Night For A More Romantic Sexual Experience With Your Partner”), and going multiple rounds are very much needed. At the same time, though, a quickie can give you all of the health benefits that longer sessions do, plus the climax.
Ever heard of the saying, “You’re cutting off your nose, just to spite your face?” If you’re turning down quickies just because the sex sessions aren’t as long as what you’re used to (or would prefer), you are a walking definition of the saying. Just because quickies are a compromise, that doesn’t mean that you’re settling (check out “12 Super Solid Reasons To Have A Quickie Every Single Day”). Not. At. All.
4. Eat Other Things than Lunch (Metaphorically Speaking)Giphy
I recently read that close to 50 percent of people skip lunch at least once a week. Chile, why? You’ve earned it, and so you should have it. And if you need more motivation to take what I just said seriously, even if you’re not hungry during lunchtime, use that as an opportunity to enjoy your partner. By law, most lunch breaks are either 30 minutes or an hour, and that’s certainly enough minutes to “get the job done” — even if that means having a standing appointment at a hotel that isn’t too far from where the two of you work. Middle-of-the-day sex is top-tier. If you don’t know, ask some of your girlfriends who probably do.
5. Remember: Oral Sex CountsGiphy
Back when I used to be a teen mom mentor for the local chapter of a national organization, it used to trip me out how much some of the students would try and trick themselves into thinking that oral sex isn’t “real sex.” Nevermind the fact that sex is literally in the term — genitalia is penetrating a body part, you can get STIs/STDs from the act, and, let me tell it, it’s even more intimate.
Anyway, my point here is, even if there doesn’t seem to be enough time for total disrobing (for whatever reason), a satisfying workaround is some cunnilingus and fellatio — believe that. You’ll still get an orgasm. You’ll still feel connected to your partner. And you’ll still get a helluva stress release. Yes, oral sex IS sex — and that needs to be said far more often than it tends to be.
6. Turn Date Night into Sex DatesGiphy
Did you know that 52 percent of couples rarely, if ever, have a date night? That’s super unfortunate, considering date nights are all about being intentional about spending quality time with your partner. That said, if you happen to fall into that percentile, take this as a super loud PSA to start prioritizing dates with your bae. By the way, if you are someone who is pretty good about getting out with your man, at least once a month, try and shoot for twice a month and turn one of those into a sex date — time that is set aside to do nothing more than copulate with your partner (check out “When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?”). It increases anticipation, and that can intensify the sexual experience on a whole ‘nother level.
7. Get Up Earlier and/or Go to Bed LaterGiphy
Again, we’ve already discussed that you can get what you need (you know, for the most part) in about 13 minutes (give or take 15 minutes of foreplay first) so, at least once a week, why not set your alarm clock to wake up earlier for some morning sex or commit to staying up a bit later for some late-night coitus? Since only 60 percent of couples currently go to bed together at night, this tip could inspire you both to get more pillow talk and cuddling in, too, which are all forms of quality time that pretty much every husband and wife need on some level.
8. Stop Running (So Many) Errands When the Kids Aren’t at HomeGiphy
My goddaughters are 12 and 4, and they’ve got just as much, if not more, of a busy schedule than their parents do. Something that I tend to notice, though, is when they are in their dance, volleyball, acting, or whatever other class they’ve got going on, their parents automatically use that as an opportunity to run all kinds of errands. And while that might be a practical use of time — how smart is it if intimacy with your partner is far and few between?
My two cents? If your kids have activities after school 2-3 times a week, make sure that one of those days is set aside for nothing else but sex. I promise you that no matter how important grocery shopping or eyebrow waxing is, if you’re not making time for your spouse, whether immediately or eventually, that will start to create an avalanche of issues that will make anything else pale in comparison. I see it happen on an almost daily basis.
9. Make the Kids’ “Fun Time” Your Fun Time TooSexy Jessica Alba GIFGiphy
When your kids are watching a movie, you could be having sex. When your kids are playing a video game, you could be having sex. When your kids are entertaining themselves in their room, you could be having sex. When your kids are outside with some friends (kids still do that, right?), you could be having sex. When your kids (who are old enough) are making a snack, you could be having sex.
Once children hit a certain age, it’s important to not “helicopter parent” them by feeling that you need to hover over them 24 hours a day. Once they have become self-sufficient enough to do certain things on their own, announce that mommy and daddy will be in the bedroom if they need anything and take advantage of that half-hour or two hours that you’ve got. You’d be amazed how much they’d appreciate you not being on top of them all of the time anyway. #justsayin’
10. Schedule SexGiphy
Any time someone tells me that they don’t want to schedule sex because it won’t be as good that way, I’m always on some — does scheduling dinner at your favorite restaurant make the meal less appetizing? Does scheduling time with your friends make it less fun? Does scheduling a mani/pedi make it less pampering? Please, let’s just stop. When you schedule something, that means that you’re prioritizing it, and sending a message to your partner that you want nothing more than to spend time with him, intimately, is sexy — plain and simple.
Listen, even though we all get 24 hours in a day, sometimes our to-do lists are so jam-packed that it’s both responsible to get your sex life “on the books.”
You know, when it comes to “having time” quotes, someone once said, “People make time for who they want to make time for. They text, call, and reply to people they want to talk to. Never believe someone who says they’re too busy; If they wanted to be around you, they would.” Do I think this resolve is black and white? No. Sometimes, folks have to wait before you can get back to them.
What I will say, however, is when you signed up to be married, you signed up to have your spouse take precedence over just about everyone and everything else. I will also say that a part of what comes with the marital agreement is sexual activity. Put those two things together, and yes — it’s important to never be too busy to find time, sexually, for your spouse. Besides, if the sex is good, how can it ever not be time well spent, chile? C’mon now.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Giphy