No, we didn't go over budget.
No, we didn't spend a fortune: just $30.50 for 7 people to eat out including tip and tax.
How'd we do it?
We went to Restaurant.com
I've been doing a lot of reading on money saving tips. On websites, in books, in magazines. And in doing so I came across the website Restaurant.com. Actually the Coupon Mom had it flashing on her site but I'm not one to click on random ads since I have no idea what the deal is or who is going to be trying to take more of my money. But when I came across the same tip in Woman's Day magazine I thought I'd give it a try.
And we did and it worked. So here's the real deal and you can try it for yourself if you'd like:
- Go to Restaurant.com
- Put in your zip code
- A list of restaurants will come up that participate
- You purchase a gift certificate at a drastically reduced rate
- You pay $10 for a $25 certificate so basically you get $15 off your meal
- Some restaurants allow you to buy larger certificates like $40 for a $100 certificate
Wondering what the catch is?
There's no real catch. But there are some restrictions. You can only use one certificate at a time - you can't spend $20 to save $50 on the same meal. And each restaurant requires you to spend a certain amount. We chose American Cafe because I LOVE their spinch queso. They required that you spend $35 and 17% gratuity was automatically added but there were no restrictions on days (some places you could only go during the week and had to spend $50 or more). The only other restriction is that you can only use one certificate a month per restaurant.
Here's the better deal - if you purchase a certificate now you can use a coupon and get a $25 certificate for $3 - just type in SAVE when checking out.
My thoughts - if you can get a good restaurant that you like and you are wanting to go out then it's worth it. I'm not sure it's worth it to spend $10 for the $25 since you're really only saving $15 bucks. But with the $3 certificate I'm saving $22 which covers all the kids meals, our appetizers and our drinks. So basically we paid for Kirk and I to eat and the tip.
Another thing we did was plan out our expenses in advance. I've noticed we have a habit of buying whatever when we go out without thinking about the cost. But this time we checked the menu in advance and wrote down what we would buy before we got there. We were off by $3 which was the tax.
I would recommend that you check it out but be sure to check the restaurants in advance to make sure you don't overspend.