I love eating out. Seriously. Mr. BFS cooks a fantabulous dinner, but we like treating ourselves too. Lately, we’ve spent a pretty penny on housing, so we are trying to cut back everywhere else. Here’s how we’ve been pulling it off lately.
I haven’t done it often, but we’ve used Restaurant.com twice to save about 50% on my favorite two restaurants. The key is to sign up for their emails and wait for a super sale. You can get the $25 certificates for $2-$4 and then you end up cutting $25 off of a $35-$50 bill. But that means we still end up paying at least $20 for a nice dinner.
Another way to get great deals is to sign up on email lists. I’ve had a junk mail email address for years and use it to sign up anywhere and everywhere we may like to eat. A quick peek every few days lets me find any deals we may want to use on our next date night. This has saved us hundreds on meals over the last year since we do eat out once or twice a week for dinner alone.
Our primary source for gift cards is happily extended family, hahaha. But we also use our Discover cash back rewards to purchase restaurant gift cards for 10-20% off. For example, we can get a Chili’s $50 gift card for $45. You can also find $25 gift cards for $20 occasionally. I appreciate the extra discount when using a cash back reward anyway.
Our last way to splurge is to take advantage of restaurant specials. Right now here in Houston, you can get an appetizer and two full meals at Chili’s for $20 plus tax. Olive Garden is offering a dinner in and to go for a combined $12. I can usually stretch that very easily to 4 meals. $1 menus and specials like that also allow us to splurge a little more often. Lately, we can even splurge on 59 cent vanilla ice cream cones at McDonald’s. 🙂
What are your favorite ways to get a great restaurant deal?
Crystal Stemberger uses Budgeting in the Fun Stuff to write about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting in the fun stuff along the way.