I am going to give you 4 ways to save tons of money on your restaurant bill every month. I hope that you will do all 4 because honestly, I save so much money each way, that I can’t imagine not doing it.
1. Sign Up for Upromise.
Upromise is a program meant for saving money for college; it’s run by Sallie Mae. So, it’s a government sponsored program and perfectly legit. However, you don’t HAVE to save the money for college. You can simply sign up and they will send you a check when you request it. The Upromise Web site states: “Upromise was created to help families save for college and we strongly encourage members to use the money they’ve earned towards education expenses. However, members may choose to withdraw the money they’ve saved for other purposes if they wish.” You may request one check per calendar quarter. The Upromise program does not cost anything. Upromise has partnered with hundreds of companies, retailers, travel sites and local restaurants, so that you can earn basically a “rebate” of a percentage of each qualifying purchase you make. This “rebate” is deposited in your Upromise account.
Once you have signed up for Upromise here is what you need to do:
- Register the credit cards that you use most frequently. You simply input your credit card number so that Upromise can use it to track when you eat at one of their partner restaurants. I put in all of my credit cards a year ago, and I have not had any security issues.
- Register to become a “Preferred Diner”.
- Find Upromise Restaurant Partners
- Head over HERE to check out Upromise restaurants in your city. In the Raleigh-Cary area some of the restaurant partners are
- When you eat at one of the Upromise participating restaurants, pay with one of the credit cards Upromise has on file, and you will get 4-8% deposited in your Upromise account. (The amount depends on the restaurant)
In order to calculate an annual savings, let’s assume you are a couple or small family that eats out 3 times a week (maybe Friday and Saturday nights and one night during the week). We will assume you eat 2 weekend meals for $60 each and one weeknight meal with a bill of $35. We will leave out the tip to make the math easy! Your total for the month would be $620. With an average savings of 4%, by eating at a Upromise restaurant you would have $24.80 a month deposited in your Upromise account.
There are other ways to save money in your Upromise account; you can save e-coupons to your grocery or drugstore cards and then when you buy select items, the money will be deposited in your account. Also, you can use Upromise to save money when you online shop; you will find a massive list of online retailers who give you cash back. Example: 10% “rebate” off your purchase at 1-800 Flowers, or a 1% “rebate” off of your Expedia.com purchase. You can install the Upromise toolbar to make this process automatic. What a great way to save for college if you have kids, plan on having kids, or for something like an unexpected medical expense!
2. Sign up for Swagbucks.
This is also a must do. Swagbucks is a search engine, like Google. When you use the Swagbucks homepage to search, or the Swagbucks toolbar you earn “bucks” for your searches. You can redeem these bucks for Amazon gift cards, Restaurant.com gift cards, iTunes gift cards, and so much more. The Amazon gift cards are 450 swagbucks and by using the toolbar you’ll probably earn between 30 and 50 swagbucks a day. This means that by using Swagbucks for search, you will earn $5 to Amazon or a $25 gift certificate to Restaurant.com every 9 days!! Why wouldn’t you want to earn gift cards JUST for searching the web! (Swagbucks gift cards are also a great way to help pay for Holiday gifts.)
It’s really easy to get started. Sign up, download the toolbar and start searching!
At Restaurant.com you can buy $25 gift certificates to participating restaurants for $10. Once a month these go on sale for $1-$2 each, and that’s where the real savings are! If you sign up for their emails you will get a code when these certificates go on sale. These gift certificates don’t expire but some do have minor stipulations, such as they cannot be used on alcoholic beverages. $25 restaurant.com gift certificates normally have a minimum order of $35, and $50 gift certificates normally have a minimum order of $75. You would pay $67 for the week’s’ meals out, compared to the $155 you normally spend. This is a savings of $88 a week or $352 a month.
Restaurant.com is a faster and more immediate way of saving than Upromise, but you can combine the two. Also, this assumes that when the Restaurant.com certificates go on sale you buy enough for the month.
4. Group buying sites:
There are tons of them now but the main group buying sites are Groupon, Living Social and Twongo. If you sign up to receive daily emails from these sites you will be notified when there is a restaurant deal. Recently I purchased the following deals through these sites:
- $20 to spend at Ba-Da wings for $10 (50% discount)
- $30 to spend on food and drink at Spring Rolls for $15 (50% discount)
- $40 to spend on food at Mirage Nightclub and Sushi Lounge for $20 (50% savings)
- $60 to spend on food and drink at Café Tiramisu for $29 (52% savings)
- $60 to spend on food and non-alcoholic drink at Midtown and Bar 115 for $29 (52% savings)
If you live in the Raleigh-Cary area, you will know these are great places to eat!
If you were to eat at restaurants where you had bought certificates from one of the group buying sites, you would pay on average $29 each for two $60 meals, and $15 for one $35 meal. So you would spend $73 on the certificates and $78 for the week. This would be $308 of savings a month.
Money Saving Strategy:
1. Sign up for Upromise and research partner restaurants in your area.
2. Sign up for Swagbucks HERE. Use the search toolbar for a couple of searches a day.
3. Sign up for Restaurant.com emails and purchase certificates when they go on sale.
In conclusion, with Upromise you could potentially save $24.80 a month, by using Restaurant.com gift certificates you could save $352 a month, and by using group buying sites for restaurant gift certificates you could save $308 a month. Notice that there are several restaurants listed as Upromise partners that are also on Restaurant.com and the group buying sites. So, it is entirely possible to double dip and get Upromise savings along with your gift certificate savings. If you assume that you save $330 a month using a combination of these 3 restaurant deals, plus your swagbucks, you would save about $4000 a year!! This is such a huge number that any chunk of these savings would be significant.