BBC Capital

90-Second Financial Fix

What restaurants won't tell you

About the author

Kelsey Hubbard is a freelance broadcast journalist based in Connecticut. She is a former host of ABC News’ Money Matters and was a longtime host and reporter for The Wall Street Journal’s daily video business news shows.

Too tired to cook? Too busy to shop? Just go out for dinner. That’s what many of us say two, three, even five times a week.

Yet the cost of restaurant dining can shrink your budget as quickly as it increases your waist size. Eating out just once a week in Tokyo will set you back more than 260,000 yen ($2,500) a year for just one person. In New York, expect to shell out more than $4,000.

To learn the secrets of getting a nice meal, even a glass of wine, for less, columnist Kelsey Hubbard cornered restaurant experts. Click ‘play’ on the arrow above to learn how to slice 80% off your dinner budget, ways to work Happy Hour to your advantage, and much more.

Do you have your own secret ways to save money eating dinner out? Add your tips or comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Capital, at our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.