Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: The Frugal Diner Edition

This post is not sponsored by either restaurant.com or uPromise. They're just both sites I really like and use.

Kristen of We Are That Family (and home of Works for Me Wednesdays) issued a challenge for this week - write about something frugal. I sat and wracked my brain, knowing I'm good at frugality but unable to think beyond reusing this and recycling that but nothing was all that interesting to write about till I thought, "Screw it - I'm going out to dinner with our friends and maybe I just won't post tomorrow."

It hit me, while sitting in the restaurant.

The big "Duh-UR!" moment.

The waitress had brought back our bill, and in her gravelly "Patty and Selma" voice told us that she'd taken our $25 off the bill already. (She also added 18% gratuity that she wasn't exactly worthy of, but...I digress.)

I'm a uPromise member. Admittedly, I haven't saved a whole lot for my kids' college tuition that way, but eh...every bit helps, ya know? Sometime last fall I got one of their newsletters with an advertisement for cheap gift certificates through one of their partners, restaurant.com.

Restaurant.com offers gift certificates (that you purchase and print out on your home computer) at a big discount. Typically you can get a $25 one for $10, and a $10 for $3 or $4. Of course, there are stipulations with most of them (most along the lines of a minimum amount of money you must spend in order to redeem it, or one per table, etc.).

But this newsletter from uPromise had a coupon code in it for a discount - making all their gift certificates 80% off.

You'd better believe I snatched up as many as I could! In fact, that made $25 gift certificates $2 a piece. (Do the math - I was floored at first, too. $10 at 80% off = $2.) I got $200 worth of gift cards for $16.

Christmas shopping, complete!

You can also email the gift certificates, making them nice last-minute gifts. You can buy a certificate for a particular amount, and let the recipient search their area and select which restaurant they'd like a certificate for. (Gifts with no guesswork? EGAD!)

And the coolest thing is that this 80% off deal wasn't a one-time thing. I've seen it several times since then, so I'm thinking its a regular occurrence.

I've used the certificates on many occasions (most recently Tuesday night's steak dinner with our friends) and as long as you read through the stipulations before you hit the restaurant you should be good to go. I've never had a restaurant NOT accept one.

Hop on over, join uPromise, and sign up for their newsletters. Even without the additional discount the restaurant.com gift certificates are still a pretty good deal - especially if you can swing a date night with the hubby!


Lisa said...

We love restaurant.com. If you register your email address with them, they send emails throughout the month with discount codes. Usually the first week of the month the certificates are the normal (already discounted) price, but as the month goes on, codes are available for an additional 50%, 75%, and even 80% off. We always tip on the full amount of the ticket, and as you mentioned there are usually purchase requirements, but we come out with a meal for less than 1/2 price. (Just remember that many of the certificates expire in one year)

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Wow, whatta deal!


Lisa said...

Now that you mention it, I'm not really certain how I got on the restaurant.com email list. I don't see a specific email sign up on their site, so unless it just happens after you purchase a certificate, I'm not sure. Sorry for the confusing info!

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Good tip.

Kirsty said...

Ooooooh this is GOOD. Thank you so much!

Tara R. said...

We are signed up for UPromise too. I think we've got about $5 in our college account. I need to check this gift certificate thing out.

Kim H. said...

We do UPromise -- except I don't get the newsletter. I think I might need to update my e-mail, eh?

Thanks for these awesome restaurant tips -- and yes, as long as you read all the stipulations and are prepared, you can get GREAT deals eating out.


Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Ha...I DID cop out the easy way on my blog for WFMW. I couldn't think of any way I'm frugal (at least compared to the awesome coupon moms I read about these days)! As people commented, though, I realized I do some frugal things. And I just checked to see if I am signed up for the Upromise newsletter, b/c I've never gotten this offer! (I was already signed up, so I guess I've just missed it in the past. You better believe I'll have my eyes open for it now!)

Peggy said...

I am a member of UPromise and Resturant.com . I always look for ways to save

Zoeyjane said...

I am SO going to check that out. THANKS!