Frugal Dad Used A Restaurant Hack To Feed His Family Of 6 For Only $28 — Then Records Himself Asking The Server What His Tip Should Be

He's found a way to avoid breaking the bank and unnecessary food waste.

family having fun eating together during home dinner Tint Media | Shutterstock

A frugal dad has managed to cheat the system and afford to feed his family without spending an excessive amount of money. 

Josh Mileham, 37, has caused a bit of controversy online after sharing multiple videos on TikTok of how he and his family afford to eat out at popular restaurants and the unconventional "hack" he's mastered to avoid food waste.

He shared the restaurant hack he uses to feed his family of 6 for only $28.

In one of Mileham's videos, the Texas dad explained that he, his wife, and their children, sons Brooklyn, 14, Colton, 11, Asher, 8, and daughter Vallyn, 6, were eating dinner at the Cheesecake Factory had ordered one salad and fries for his entire family of 6. With the server standing behind him, Mileham questioned how he felt about him and his family outsmarting the restaurant and eating for less.


"Honestly, I don't mind," the server admitted. "I usually have people that do order a plate for multiple people. I usually try not to form an opinion; I do it more based off of how you guys are."

@glazedepoxy Replying to @kaylagarcia0seven THIS is a GREAT server! Thank you Anthony for the awesome service! We appreciate YOU!(filming was concented) 🥰 #server #restaurant #fyp #cheesecakefactory #restaurantlife #texas #dallas #dfw #flowermoundtx ♬ original sound - The Milehams

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The server continued, telling Mileham and his family that they were an "awesome" table to serve and it was a pleasure to take care of them while dining at the restaurant. Looking at the bill, Mileham pointed out that since their entire meal was only $28, what did he think the tip should be based on the amount? Answering honestly, the server told Mileham that it all depends on his quality of service.

"If you guys felt like I gave you a great service, I like my tip to reflect how you feel. I usually go off of the total; normally, that's 20%," he said. Mileham reached a compromise, asking the server if 22%, which would be $6, is a good enough tip, to which he replied that it was more than fair. 

In another video, Mileham and his family were at Texas Roadhouse, and using the rolls from the complimentary bread basket, the dad of four showed how he divided up all of this food for his family without ordering six different meals. Showing off a pork sandwich and fries that he'd ordered, Mileham used it to make pulled pork sliders for his kids.

"So, $12.49 for the pulled pork sandwich, $3.49 for the fries. So, $17.30," Mileham calculated. In the end, he left a $20 tip for their server. 


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He faced accusations of child abuse after sharing his restaurant hack.

Many people admitted to feeling seen by Mileham's hack and explained that after having grown up poor, they can appreciate the way that he's trying to feed his family without spending too much money and breaking the bank. However, others weren't into the hack and claimed it was a bad idea.

"My kids eat like grown men," one person wrote. There is no way that would fill my kids up. If I can't afford to feed the kids I have, I stay at home." Another person suggested that as a father, he should allow his kids to eat more: "What about you eat less, and kids can have a full meal?"

"This is child abuse, honestly," another person remarked. "You’re barely giving these kids enough food to qualify as a snack."

@glazedepoxy What a WILD RIDE!!! More cheap family meal ideas and food content COMING UP!!! Love yall!! 🥰🥰🥰 #family #news #nbc #familyeats #cheapfamilymeals #eatgood #restauranthack #fyp #dallas #tx #fortworth #texasroadhouse #rolls @nbcnews ♬ original sound - The Milehams

However, during an interview with Today, Mileham addressed all of the hateful comments, saying that he tries to be as "frugal as possible," and if that means ordering one meal to split amongst his kids, then so be it. 

According to Statista, a 2022 survey determined that 42% of diners spend, on average, $11 to $20 dining out in the United States. Meanwhile, 8% of survey respondents spent $50 or more, meaning that a family of 6 is probably spending upwards of $100 to $150 for a meal.

"I [couldn't] care less about the haters," Mileham told Today. "There are families that don’t go out to eat often because they think they can’t afford it. I’m here to help those people. I want them to know it’s possible to have a decent meal out for $20."


There's nothing wrong with trying to save money where you can, and all people are seeing are a couple of videos from Mileham. Who knows what kind of meals he and his family eat at home and not at a restaurant? What works for one family doesn't necessarily have to work for another.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.