I’ve mentioned before that I’m a terrible cook. Believe me, this isn’t some sort of a self-deprecating humor. I know how to make several dishes, most of them not very well. I hate cooking with a passion. So, naturally, I look for any excuse to go out to eat. Unfortunately, with a family of four, the cost can really add up. Fortunately, if you are obsessed with getting a deal like I am, there are ways to do it on a budget.
This time of the year, there is usually a plethora of dining discounts, special offers etc. You just have to know where to look. If you have an Amex card, you probably have noticed some delicious (pun intended) discounts in your profile. I hope you’ve saved these offers right away since they tend to fill up fast:
Let’s take Ruby Tuesday deal. Getting $10 off $30 bill is respectable, but not post-worthy. Let’s supercharge it. First, through the end of December, you can get a $15 gift card for future dining visit when you buy a $50 gift card (thanks to Chuck from Doctorofcredit for finding this deal). Now we are talking!
But wait, there is more. You can go to RubyTuesday website, sign up to receive special offers and get a coupon for free appetizer (it won’t show up in your inbox for a day or two, so plan accordingly). Alternatively, search the web for the latest discounts. I got a coupon for “50% off second entree with a purchase of another entree” on Retailmenot Offers change constantly, so it may not be available now.
But taking 1 minute to print out the coupon saved me $6 off this bad boy. Introducing their famous Collossal Burger dish:
Actually, I don’t eat hamburgers, so to me, it looks disgusting. But my husband sure enjoyed it. They should call it “An early heart attack burger.” No wonder healthcare costs in this country are out of control.
But believe it or not, you can actually make this deal even better. How? Take your family out on Tuesday. You get a free kid entree with a purchase of an adult entree after 5 PM. That’s what I’m planning on doing when we get ready to use that $15 bonus card (valid in January and February). Obviously, they are counting on the fact that you will forget to redeem it. Don’t! I’m talking to myself here.
Olive Garden deal isn’t quite as lucrative, but I still took advantage of it. On top of saving $10 via Amex Offers, we got a $10 bonus card not valid till, you guessed it, January. So, it looks like we’ll have some eating out to do this winter.
Why every family should have an Amex card
Obviously, not every family can afford to eat out. And let’s face it, even with all the discounts, I’m still paying a good chunk when you factor in drinks and tips. Still, keeping tab on special offers allows us to indulge in doing things we love.
But what if you prefer to eat at home and like discounts on more sensible, practical purchases? You should still get an Amex card, my friend. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. While I don’t need to convince seasoned hobbyists of how awesome Amex “Offers for you” program is, most regular families think it’s something meant for business and fancy types. American Express is generally not associated with a middle-class family. Well, see for yourself, Jen and Emily (yes, those are real readers who happen to be my friends). Check out just a few Amex offers I’ve saved in my profile:
Need to stock up on diapers and buy oil for your car? You can easily save $40 by being strategic in your shopping. And like I said, these are just offers that became available over the last few months. If you keep an eye on this program, you’ll find all kinds of “average family” type discounts.
But don’t all Amex cards come with annual fees? No, not really. The cards we have have no annual fees, zip, nada. While I believe the best overall long-term products for family are Amex Blue Cash Preferred ($75 annual fee) and Amex Everyday Preferred ($95), you can sign up for their less glamorous siblings.
For those who prefer cash back and don’t like to keep track of purchases, I strongly recommend Amex Blue Cash Everyday. In fact, that’s what my husband and I each have at the moment. You get 3% on groceries (on up to $6,000 per year), 2% on gas, and the best part is, there is no annual fee. Plus, if you do decide to upgrade to Preferred version down the road, it shouldn’t be an issue. In the meantime, you can get a decent card with superior purchase protection, and all these special offers coming your way. And it looks good too!
The official affiliate offer comes with $100 sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 in 3 months. However, I would hold out for a better deal. Try CardMatch tool to see what comes up. You may also be able to get an offer of $250 if you open this non-affiliate link in incognito mode.
I just love my dining deals thanks to Amex. And if my husband has a heart attack before he turns fifty? Why, I will just sue American Express, of course, for enabling us to partake in all of these restaurant discounts. And why not? Some people feel they are justified in suing miles and points bloggers for getting into credit card debt.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.