Getting the Most Value from Gift Certificates
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Getting the Most Value from Gift Certificates

Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2009 at 12:10 pm
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Recently, gift certificates have been getting some mixed press. While some people love getting the huge value off of a restaurant meal, others wonder if the certificates are worth the purchase. Like any coupon or discount, knowing how to use it to your advantage can mean the difference between getting a good deal and getting an absolutely amazing deal.

Here are some things to know in order to get the most value from gift certificates.

Use a Coupon Code

I post coupon codes for all of the time. Using a code and the right link can make all of the difference when it comes to getting a great deal.

Know the Restrictions

Some restaurants have certain restrictions when it comes to redeeming the gift certificates, such as a minimum purchase. Usually the minimum purchase is lower than what we would normally pay for a meal. If it isn’t in your case, try one of the following strategies:

  • Choose a different restaurant without the restrictions
  • Buy a larger gift certificate to cover the cost of the minimum
  • Dine with a friend and split the cost of the certificate

Also be aware of time restrictions for some restaurants.

Try a New Restaurant

Use the certificates whenever you want to try a new restaurant. This way, if it turns out that the new restaurant isn’t the place for you, you won’t feel as though you wasted your money, since you only paid $2-$10 for the meal. Experimenting is fun when you are dining on the cheap.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.