Saving money when eating out

Seven On Your Side
May 19, 2008 5:04:38 PM PDT
All you ever see is how prices are going up. But we have news on prices plummeting at restaurants, on everything from fast food to fine dining. How would you like to pay half for a delicious dinner at Steak Frites?

Or just $13 for a $30 lunch?

"When I come to New York, I eat at great places for practically nothing," the Coupon Mom, Stephanie Nelson, said.

Nelson puts savings where her mouth is. Her free Web site, CouponMom.com helps save at hundreds of restaurants.

"You might save as much as 50 to 60 percent," Nelson said.

Stephanie's first tip is to buy an entertainment book.

"Right now, at this time of year, they're on sale for $9.99 a book," she said. "And what I like about them is they have a lot of coupons for common restaurants, chain restaurants."

And fast-food restaurants. The book is chock full of "buy one, get one free" offers for most fast-food chains. It also has coupons for free entrees at many local restaurants.

Restaurant.com is another site to save. It sells discounted gift certificates for hundreds of area restaurants.

"For example, you can buy a $25 restaurant gift certificate, but you'll only pay $10," Nelson said. "If you go to CouponMom.com, you go through a special link we have, you'll only pay $6...So you're essentially saving $19."

Most restaurants don't include alcohol when factoring the discount, and there might be other exclusions - some restaurants only allow discounts for dinners on weekdays.

But for a meal that Seven on Your side ate, the bill was $31. With the discount, it just $13.

When you get a discount, always tip on the full amount. The waiter shouldn't get short-changed just because you got a deal.


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