Total deprivation of the things you enjoy in life is no way to live, and eating out is one of my favorite luxuries that I've learned to adjust as the recession has made things a bit tighter. Saying no to yourself isn't an easy thing to do, but creating little rules can help you save more money while going out for a fun meal on occasion.
My fiance lost his job when his company downsized by 25 percent, and one of the first discretionary expenses we cut was eating out. That doesn't mean we never enjoy a meal away from our apartment, it just means we're more thoughtful about the places we go, and we go out much less frequently. Our recession rule: we don't eat out unless it's something we couldn't make ourselves. It works out that we're pretty good cooks who love a challenge in the kitchen, but I encourage you to test this tip as you're figuring out money-saving methods that work for you.