Jul 31, 2009

My Monetary Snapshot - July '09

Here's what it looks like at the end of this month:

Emergency Funds (High Interest Savings): $7663
Checking Accounts (Non-Interest Earning): $254
401K: $707.72
CD: $2000
Interest + Other Earnings: $73.59
(amazed how come it's $73.59 ;) all added up by paid surveys and free money)

Car Loan Balance: $11,838
Credit Card Balance: $206

July 2009: Total Assets: $10,624 Total Debt: $12,044

Jul 27, 2009

You Gotta Try Restaurant.com !!!

For two weeks under the work load that wasn't all I was left to do. One of my colleagues had guests and it spurred another eat-out plan. It wasn't the first time I used Restaurant.com nor I do any kind of advertising for them but the continued feeling of pleasure, fun, taste and savings altogether prompted me to pen this article.

To start with, I like their tag line: "EAT. DRINK. SAVE MONEY."
  • What You Need To Do?
It's easy and quick! Visit Restaurant.com and look out at the top right corner.

Step 1
is to Find a Restaurant. You can search a restaurant in your area by zipcode, state or city name. You can also select the diameter within which you would like to travel. Once you have the list of all participating restaurants, look for your favorite one. One of the features I like about the listings is the small banner at the bottom of each restaurant pic reading what kind of cuisine you can dine there.

Step 2 involves Purchasing A Gift Certificate value. Simply select the gift certificate value you want to go with, I almost always go for $25 certificate as it seems to be sufficient for 3-4 people. Buy a gift certificate of your chosen denomination.

Step 3 is to Print The Certificate, take it to the restaurant and enjoy your food ;)
  • So How Do You Save?

Every participating restaurant will feature different denomination. So take $25 certificate for instance. Restaurant.com itself discounts the initial price to $10, and the rest of the price cut comes from various discount codes.

Restaurant.com would run weekly discount schemes typically every week (NAPKIN will work through Tuesday, try it). These discount codes could be obtained from several discount code/coupon websites and usually result in 60-80% reduction on the $10 price. I am planning to post the playing discount code every week on Let's Be Curious!!!

  • Crunching The Numbers
Having said that I usually go with the $25 certificate, let me share my recent experience. After applying the discount code the price was $4. The total on the check after dinner was $48. So after applying the gift certificate at restaurant, total bill came to $48-$25 = $23. Adding the cost of certificate itself makes it $27. If you go with friends, splitting $23 left me to pay $7 ... what do you say, isn't it worth it ;)
  • How Does It Work?
Well I honestly don't know the complete inside story but mainly the participating restaurants gain publicity and advertising through Restaurant.com. Additionally there is a chance that a customer who is just trying out today would come back more often later.

However it works, it definitely works with me :)
  • What To Keep In Mind?
Finally the part asking some attention guys, always read the regulation on your certificates before taking them to lunch/dinner. Here are the pointers which I could gather:

a) Mostly you may use Restaurant.com's gift certificate in a participating restaurant only once a month
b) Sometimes you will need to present the certificate while placing the order
c) There is always a threshold total party order value. The certificates are valid only on order reaching these thresholds. For eg. I had to spend $35 or more to use my certificate, not a tough job is it? ;)

Let me know if you know something that I missed out. If you haven't already, try these gift certificates, they are excellent value for a few bucks. Please leave comments and experiences below.