Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stretching Those Eating Out Dollars

Here's a tip to file away to use next Holiday Season.
It's something I do that stretches the money we will spend anyway.

One of our splurges is going out to eat.
Nothing better for a worn out "cooking machine", a.k.a. MOM, like me, than sitting down at a table and not having to jump up to finish cooking something AND having someone else serve MOI!

We don't go out nearly as much as we use to but when we go out I still want to get a good deal.
Lots of eating establishments offer deals on Gift Cards around the Holidays.  They want you to spend all those gift-buying dollars with them!
Deals like "Buy $X worth of our Gift Cards and get an extra $X worth of Gift Cards to keep and use on yourself."

These silly businesses "assume" I'm buying gift cards to give as gifts.
Au Contraire!

I wait all year long until they offer these deals on their gift cards and then I buy a stack of ' keep and use through out the year when we want to go out!

I figure it this way....
I'm going to eat at their restaurant during the coming year.
And I have some spare money not tied up in other venues besides a checking account.
So I might as well take that spare cash and tie it up into gift cards if they are also going to give me more than my money's worth.

So I bought $100 worth of Gift Cards and got an extra $40's worth for free!

Now the dark side of doing this....
*Make sure you don't buy more than you will use and only buy them for places you KNOW you will go and you like their food.
*Don't lose your gift cards.  While cold hard cash stays safe and snug in your wallet, gift cards tend to wander off and get misplaced.  If you lose it, you are screwed.
*Make sure you are aware of any terms or conditions the company places on their gift cards.  Are there expiration dates or fees if you don't use them within a certain time frame?  Get the straight poop before you hand over your cash.  My $40 in free cards have conditions but I knew it from the start and I can deal with those terms.
*Do NOT do this and pay for the Gift Cards with a credit card(unless you are one of those rare individuals that pays off your statement completely each month).  If you don't and you are paying interest on a gift card purchase, you are negating any savings you sought.

And of course, not only am I eating cheaper each time I go to the restaurant, I also take a coupon with me to make my meal even more frugal!

Now if ONLY our local Asian Restaurant would offer a deal like this!!lol



  1. Great advice!
    Your Friend, m.

  2. Good idea!
    I'm not the cooking machine, I'm the laundry machine!!

  3. Mark--Thanks for stopping by my place today! I'm always happy to try to save folks money...

    SonyaAnn--Even the laundry goddess likes to dry her hands out and lift a martini, right?lol

  4. This is something I definitely want to try next holiday season! It's very much like that CVS gift card deal that happened last month, and I've loved that! As you say, the key is buying the cards for a restaurant where you *know* you will be eating anyway.

    Nice tip - I will remember this one!!

  5. I bought a lot of gift cards from Jewel this year for all the upcoming birthdays. They had a deal where if you bought $100 you got a $20 cat. Not too shabby and we charged it on our credit cards for points too. I'm just trying to make you proud!

  6. Pretty--Yah, the CVS deal was good too!

    SonyaAnn--Last year our local grocery store had a gift card Cat deal which I took advantage of....this year nada! They need to build a Jewel/Acme near me as much as you need a Rite-Aid near
    And you do make me proud...sniff, sniff.....

    So where are your xmas gift results for 2010? Hmmm....tapping my foot

  7. I'm the cooking machine, laundry machine, human vacuum cleaner, etc. too.
    Great ideas!

  8. We love to eat out too. Well, Hubby REALLY loves to eat out. We try to only go when we have coupons and/or giftcards. I have a rewards credit card that I cas out the points for restaurant gcs. That is what went in Hubby's stocking for Christmas. We pair them with coupons when we can.

    Of course, we also eat at some plain old cheap places sometimes.

  9. Good idea! I saw that gift card deal, but didn't take advantage of it because our nearest Logan's is 30 miles away. Not that we're ever near there, but when we are, it's just as likely we'd eat somewhere else. I do carry their coupons with me, though.

    I wish some other restaurants would do this kind of deal.


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