NYC Guide

Clock at Grand Central Terminal with USA flag                                                                  






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How to Save with Coupons

     Not long ago I came across an ad for gift certificates and decided to investigate. has gift certificates available for restaurants across the country and typically a good selection for your area.  The gift certificates are of various denominations, but the most common is $25.00.  The $25.00 gift certificate has a retail price of $10.00.

     The common stipulation with this $25.00 gift certificate is you must spend at least $35.00 in food, dine in only (although a few allow take out), and supposedly beverages do not count towards the $35.00 food threshhold. The establishment will automatically add 18% gratuity prior to the discount (more on this in the next page).

     A few great things about the service: the site is easy to search for qualifying restaurants in your area, after you pay for the certificate(s) you can print the document to use right away instead of waiting for a certificate to be mailed to you, and the site keeps track of the certificates you have left to use.

     There is no reason to pay full price with the coupons since the site frequently runs specials. As stated previously, the $25.00 gift certificate has a retail price of $10.00. During any given month, I have seen run multiple discounts on the cost of the certificates. Two - three times a month they will run 80% discounts, once or twice a month a 60 - 70% off, and once every two months a super 90% off deal.

     I only jump at the 80% or 90% OFF offers. When they have the 80% off, the $25.00 gift certificate price is $2.00 and only $1.00 for a $25.00 gift certificate on the 90% off special. For you math bugs, 80% x $10.00 is $8 and $10 - $8 is $2.

     When you pay the full price of the gift certificate ($10) for a $25 certificate you are basically covering your tax and tip.  The true savings come when the site runs the frequent sale.  They send email notices of the sales.

     A real life example of how using a coupon saved money: On a recent dining out experience, my bill including drinks and tax, but prior to gratuity, came to $63.03 and I would have tipped $11.40 or $12.  I tip by taking the total prior to tax and multiply by 2 and normally round up to the next dollar amount. So for this outing, my total bill with tip would have been $74.43 or $75.00.

     By using the $25.00 gift certificate, my total bill including drinks, tax, and 18% tip came to $48.46.  I saved a little bit more than the $25.00 because I tip a little more than the 18%, but by using this certificate, the restaurant cacalutes the tip for you. They take 18% and multiply it by the cost of food and drinks and does not include taxes in this calculation.  It only cost me $2.00 to save a little more than $23.00 which seems like more than a fair deal. continued with larger pic of receipt using coupon and pricing