Friday, February 11, 2011

$75 in restaurant gift certificates for $8.50 out of pocket!

We love going out to eat.  We hate paying a lot for it.  Especially when we're trying a new restaurant, or on days that end in "y."

Because of that, we've worked at finding ways to eat out on the cheap, and I've been asked how we do it.  Since I just bought $75 worth of gift certificates to 3 different restaurants for $8.50 out of pocket, I thought it would be a good time to share!

There are 3 websites that I use on a regular basis for this:

The first one,, is a cash-back company that I use for my online shopping.  You sign up for a free account (if you use my link, you get $5 free to start off with!).  They partner with hundreds of online retailers, including, and as long as you start shopping at the website from their site, you get cash back if you make a purchase.  In addition, they keep track of coupons for you for different retailers.

It sounds more complicated than it is, so let me show you!

Step 1. Sign up for your free account with (By the way, I've been with them for quite awhile now.  I've gotten actual checks in the mail that I've cashed for real money, and they don't spam my email at all!).

Step 2.  Go to your ebates homepage, and type in "" in the search bar in the right hand side fo the page.

Step 3.  Once it pulls up the vendor you're looking for, check for any coupons listed below the name, then click on the orange "Shop Now" button!  It will take you to the regular site,  EXCEPT, you will earn cash back on your purchase! In this case, it's currently 15% cash back on your purchase.

Step 4.  Go shopping!  Add all the different restaurant certificates you want (For a dinner for Dave and I, we usually find the $25 certificates to be the best deal).   When you go to check out, remember to enter in a coupon code (this can usually be found on the ebates page when you pull up your vendor).

Occasionally the ebates coupon codes don't work, or they don't have any listed.  In this case, I go to my favorite compilation site for online coupon codes,, enter in the vendor name, and check for any coupon codes there.

So, there you have it.  Using those steps, I got 3 different $25 gift certificates for $10, plus 15% cash back, making it only $8.50 out of pocket!

Please note, that you have to accumulate $10 in cash on ebates before they'll send you a check, and they only send checks 4 times a year to keep their costs down.  In addition, there are occasionally caveats listed on the gift certificates regarding how the certificate may be used, so pay careful attention to those.  

The last time we used a certificate like this, I think that we still paid a few dollars out of pocket at the restaurant because our bill was a little over $25.  However, we chose a place that also had live music, so entertainment was included for free!  So, still a very reasonably-priced night out!

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