Happy New Year! Save Money While Dining

dining
Photo by Nils Stahl on Unsplash

Note: Since good gifts are worth giving twice, this is a reprint of my regular New Year’s blog – and gift to you. Enjoy!

As has been the case for the past few years, it seems we have more new restaurants than diners in Palm Beach County. That’s good news for consumers. It means a chance to find new favorite dishes and explore new dining regions.

To help with your explorations, I’m giving you a New Year’s gift: Restaurant coupon sites that help ease sticker shock. This year’s list includes the AARP site, which has a bunch of restaurant discounts for members.

You need to sign up on these sites with your email and a password, but all are free to join. You purchase coupons using credit cards. Usually the certificates/coupons are good for 90 days after you print them or receive them in the mail (some of the sites offer mail service). You can spend $25 to receive a $50-off coupon, $15 for $30 off and so on. With CharityDine, part of the price you pay goes to charity and it’s included in the certificate cost, so the charity doesn’t cost you extra. 

Read the fine print on the coupons; some exemptions include days of the week (primarily weekend nights and holidays), or times of day. If restaurants close, which happens far more than we wish, most – if not all – of these sites will refund your money or swap the coupon for a different restaurant. 

Here’s to a year of new discovery at the dining table – enjoy! 

AARP

Be sure to check out all the member benefits for your AARP membership. I know quite a few folks who join just for these. For restaurants, there are discounts at Bonefish Grill, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Denny’s, Corner Bakery Café, Landry’s Inc. Restaurants, Outback, Rainforest Café and more. 

Most give 10 percent off your bill, and Denny’s gives 15 percent off. Just remember to bring your membership card to show your server.

https://www.aarp.org/

Local Dines South Florida

This site, started in 2001, is headquartered in Port St. Lucie. There is a regular registration as well as a VIP Club, which sends daily emails with promo codes, new dining deals, giveaways and more. You can request certain dining areas, Boca Raton and Delray Beach, for instance. You’ll usually receive one email per day per area, but you can unsubscribe at any point. You can also suggest restaurants to add to the discount list.

LocalDines says it donates $1,000 to a different local non-profit each month. Diners can also contribute when they buy coupons, if they wish. Coupons are offered at 50 percent of the face value. 

https://www.localdines.com/southflorida/

Charity Dine

This is one of my favorite sites because charities benefit along with the diners. When you register on the site, you choose the charity you’d like to support. This is one site that offers the certificates to print at home or in the U.S. mail if you choose. There are 60 percent-off certificates, so this is definitely a site to check out. The charities receive 15 percent of the certificate purchase price, which means nothing is added to your cost.

http://charitydine.com

Living Social and Groupon

These two marketplace sites are devoted to giving you money off on everything from spa getaways to riverboat cruises, shopping and food. And – surprise! – Groupon bought Living Social in 2016. Of course, it did. The websites look alike and act alike, with daily specials for local restaurants as well as things going on all over the country. 

It works the same way and features different restaurants each day with special deals. It is definitely worth signing up for the restaurant deals. 

https://www.livingsocial.com

Opentable.com

This is a reservation site, and does not give specific restaurant coupons, but it does allow users to earn points that can then be used to save money when dining. Started in 1998, this deals with restaurants around the world, as well as every state in the U.S.  OpenTable donates to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. 

https://www.opentable.com/