Monday, November 22, 2010 Ad in the Sidebar

I'm not a huge fan of ads, but I ran into one that I could live with over to the right because I think it will actually add value for most readers. I go out to eat at least 5 times per week (explains all the food posts, right?), and I've managed to pick up a few tricks for saving money when dining out. In fact, here are my best tips:

1.) Costco AMEX Card - gives you 3% back on ALL restaurant purchases that accept AMEX.
2.) idine - Gives you a 5-10% discount at participating restaurants, including the tip. No cost for participation, just sign up and register your credit cards.
3.) Open Table - You get a $1 credit for making an online reservation, and sometimes a $10 credit on select restaurants. Also no cost for participation.
4.) - Let's you buy $25 restaurant gift cards for $10 or less.

The 4 items above are not mutually exclusive, meaning you can stack all 4 discounts on top of one another if you get lucky, but by far the most substantial discount you can get is with item number 4, the gift card. The way these work is simple. You pay $10 for a $25 gift card, but there is a small catch. You usually need to spend at least $35 and have a minimum party of 2 people to use the gift certificate. So let's say you go to a restaurant and spend $40. If you used a gift, the net cost will be $25. However, frequently discounts these gift cards even more. Right now, you can get an additional 80% discount by typing in "GOBBLE" at checkout. That brings the gift card price down to a ridiculous $2 and the cost of that $40 meal for 2 becomes $18.

449 restaurants within the San Jose area participate in this program, including 34 in Downtown San Jose and a few in Santana Row. So I think it would be nice to have easy access to their latest promotion right on The San Jose Blog. Their discount usually varies between 20% and 70%. Whenever you see an 80%, that is a good time to collect gift certificates. Also, once per year they have a 90% fire sale ($25 gift cards for $1). There is no better time to grab them, but the date is easy to miss and they don't advertise it in advance. Just make sure to type in the code at checkout to get the maximum discount!

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