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10 Budget Busters on Everyday Restaurant Menus

Soft Drinks
Enjoy your free refills -- you've certainly paid for them!
Enjoy your free refills -- you've certainly paid for them!
Aaron Farley/The Image Bank/Getty Images

In many restaurants, you get free refills on soft drinks, so you may feel like you're really getting a bargain. After all, the wait staff brings you these tall glasses, brimming with ice and soda, and you don't even have to finish the first one before they have the next glass sitting in front of you.

But, did you know that your $1.95 soda is only costing the restaurant around 20 cents per serving? That's a markup of 975 percent, so even if you have a few refills, the restaurant is not sweating it. Soft drinks are not the only beverages making restaurants money as you'll see later in this article.

In the meantime, if you want to get the most value for your dining-out dollars, opt out on the soda. Water is better for you and tap water is completely free. But, if you really want the soft drink, say yes to refills or don't be afraid to ask for a to-go cup on your way out. After all, you've paid for it.