- Online. We all tend to get on our phones while we wait to be seated at restaurants. While you're waisting time, quickly type into the Google search engine "coupons for _____." You’ll be surprised at how often you find something. I usually end up finding most of my favorite restaurant coupons on retailmenot. Restaurants and stores will now scan the coupon right on your phone so you don’t have to worry about printing coupons before heading out! You can also sign up for emailed coupons and deals from your favorite restaurant websites.
- By mail. Wherever you live, I'm sure you get "junk mail." Flyers from local businesses, local newsletters, etc. In my hometown, we get 3 different kinds of "junk mail" with coupon offers inside. Our city sends out a monthly newsletter announcing local news and upcoming events. I’ll usually find coupon offers from restaurants nearby when I quickly flip through on my way to chunk it in the trash. The second thing I often get is a flimsy newspaper thing with coupons for groceries, pizza restaurants, and fast food chains. The third thing is also delivered monthly; it's called "Valpak." You can also print Valpak coupons online. When my family last visited Destin, I snagged a couple of the city's local restaurant coupons this way!
- Coupon books. I buy the "Enjoy the city" (also known as, "Coupons for Classrooms") books" and keep them stored in my car in case of last minute food and entertainment decisions. They are $20 if you buy from a child selling them as a school fundraiser, but they more than pay for themselves. This book has coupons to restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, car rentals, and local entertainment. There are even coupons for haircuts. Shane used ONE coupon this week to get his normal haircut and saved $12. That almost pays for the book with just one coupon!
2. Discount Gift Cards
Gift card companies buy unwanted gift cards from others and resell them for a discount. It's a win-win.
Here are the 3 websites I buy discounted gift cards from:
- Giftcardzen. This is my preferred site. They usually have the highest discounted gift cards, they are quick to mail or email them to you after purchasing, and they have the best customer service.
- Raise. I can find almost any gift card here. They are very trustworthy.
- ABCgiftcards. I have only purchased one gift card from this website, but I was extremely satisfied. It was a $100 Chipotle gift card discounted to $85. I bought it through paypal, and at the time paypal gave me an additional $15 off my purchase for using them. So I received a $100 Chipotle gift card for $70! That was like 4 free burritos!
Just like anything you buy online, there is a risk in buying discounted gift cards. Not only are you trusting the company to deliver the product you purchase, but also the stranger that sold the gift card to the company. In the last two years I have purchased dozens of cards and hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards from the 3 websites mentioned above. 3 of those cards ended up being no good. In all 3 situations, someone sold the card (2 of them were e-gift cards) to the company, received their checks, then returned the gift cards to the restaurants for a refund or used them. HOWEVER, in all 3 situations, I was quickly refunded for my purchase from the gift card companies, and the conmen received their punishment!
3. At Restaurants
Here are 3 ways restaurants will help you save:
- Loyalty offers. Sometimes restaurants will give you a punch card, making your last punched purchase a free meal or a dollar amount off. Or, Papa Johns for example, will give you points toward a free pizza if you register on their website. I have received many free pizzas over the years with Papa Johns, plus there is ALWAYS a special offer or coupon to take advantage of!
- Happy Hour. A lot of restaurants have discounted drinks and food between 2 and 4pm. Some of the fancier restaurants let you order off their lunch menu until 4 or 5 pm. Texas Roadhouse gives their more popular dishes out for less than $10 if you come in and order before 6 pm on weeknights. PF Changs and The Cheesecake Factory will let you order off their lunch menu until 4pm.
- Coupons tucked in the bag of food or offers printed on the bottom of receipts. Fast food restaurants will sometimes hide a coupon inside your bag of food, so check before you throw it away! The last few times I’ve eaten at California Pizza Kitchen, I found an offer for a free appetizer printed on my receipt.
- Offers via text message. Tropical Smoothie Cafe texts me offers for free smoothies. Sonic notifies me when it's 50 cent corndog day (yes, I eat a lot of Sonic).
- Customer Appreciation Offers. Chick Fil A gives out free chicken sandwiches one day a year if you dress like a cow. Dairy Queen has one day a year where EVERYTHING is half off! You just have to watch for them, but restaurants like to reward their faithful customers.
- Birthday Offers. My birthday is coming up this month and I have already started receiving birthday offers from resteraunts and stores. Many of them will give you free entrees, appetizers, or desserts ON your birthday. But some of them send out a coupon that can be used at any time during your birthday month. Win!