Jan 22, 2010

Eating Out For Less (Merrick)

OK – now that we’ve talked about saving money by eating in, let’s talk about a few ways to eat out, but still save money.

I’m all about eating out; I think it’s a great way to get out of the house, have a nice date night with your spouse, or just avoid doing the dishes for one night. But it’s all about moderation and knowing how to find great deals.

One great website for restaurant deals is Restaurant.com. Have you heard of it? It’s a website that has gift certificates for thousands of restaurants, but all at a discounted price. For example, you can purchase a $25 restaurant gift certificate for $10, with the only catch being that you have to order at least two entrees, or a minimum purchase of $35 (this will vary by restaurant).

But wait, it gets even better. I have personally never purchased a $25 gift certificate for $10 because I simply added myself to their email list and I’m constantly getting emails about their 80% off specials. Yes, you read that right. 80% off. That means at $25 gift certificate for….(wait for it)….$2!!

I was a little dubious about it until I finally caved in and tried it for the first time for a vacation a few years ago (we don’t use this site very often for date nights since Provo has a total of two participating restaurants…). Vacations already cost so much between plane flights, hotel rooms, daily activities, and eating out every day, so we’re always trying to save wherever we can. I knew roughly where we would be each night of the vacation, so I searched the available restaurants in those areas with Philip and we found one that sounded great. Using my 80% off discount code, I purchased the $25 gift certificate. This particular restaurant required a minimum purchase of $35, but 18% gratuity was included prior to the discount. Being the miserly people we are, we figured out exactly how much food we had to get so that the 18% gratuity would bump us up to $35. We walked out that night after a large appetizer, drinks, and two large entrees, with a total bill of $35.20, meaning we only spent $12.20 for all that food! We now use this site every time we go on a vacation and have probably saved hundreds of dollars as a result.

This is only one of so many ways to save on eating out, and if you take a little time to research what restaurants participate in your area, think of all the money you could save on those weekly date nights.


megan said...

Mmm... Too bad Provo only has 2 restaurants (I think when I checked neither had any purchases available) because we never go anywhere. Oh well, at least we are saving money :)

Packrat said...

Not many for our area, either, and one of the places I wouldn't eat at. Preposition at the end of sentence. Give me an F. :)

You vacation idea is great! You know like when you feel obligated to take people out to dinner, but you just feel like you really can't afford it? What a way to entertain without it costing a fortune!

Another way to save big time at a restaurant is to drink water instead of ordering drinks. $2.50 for a small pop? forget it!. You probably don't drink alcoholic drinks, but a glass of wine in a restaurant can cost $3.50 and up - as much as a whole bottle at the grocery store.

Miriam said...

Wonder how many participants we have here in Roos.? :/ Gosh, did I just hear chimes? --thanks for fixing that!

Carole said...

BIG cities have tons of options with Restaurant.com. Our area here in Henderson, NV has probably 50 choices. If you widen out to Las Vegas, the list is MUCH larger. These are very nifty restaurants too!

Emily said...

We used restaurant.com in NYC all the time since there were tons of participating restaurants. Such a fun way to try new restaurants for a good price. Another way we try to save when going out is looking for "specials" for signing up for e-mail lists. Like right now at TGI Fridays if you sign up for their e-mail list you get a coupon for buy one entree, get one free.

Heather said...

what? $2? Where have you been all my married life? Thanks for the tip.

Bart said...

I've never had a bad experience with restaurant.com. Remember walking across San Francisco to find that excellent little restaurant? Such a good salmon dish!