Tag Archive | coupon

Restaurant.com

Restaurant.com claims that you can get the best deals on the web by using their website. Having used their website, sometimes I got good deals and other times, it was a different story.

The normal cost of the certificates I have seen range from $5 – $40. The value may be $15 – $200. The way it works is that you pay a price for value at that restaurant. For example, I saw a “$25 off of $35 purchase” certificate that cost $10. At first glance this is a great deal. But you have to read the small print to see what is not included from the menu. Also, tax and 18% gratuity is added before deducting the certificate value.

Even if you only purchase $35 worth of food, your out of pocket costs at the restaurant will still be about $20. Add that to what you paid for the certificate, and your total out of pocket cost is $30. In essence, you only saved $5 by going through Restaurant.com. It is true that you still saved some money, but what the time and effort worth it? It depends on what you wanted.

When I went to San Francisco, I planned my dinners around what certificates I had. Since I did not know where I wanted to eat, I checked Restaurant.com, looked over the restaurant menus, and other websites for restaurant reviews. When I go to Atlanta, I check to see what is available also. If I have a taste for a certain cuisine, I might check to see what restaurants they have. Since I am not saving an extreme amount of money, I look at the certificate value also.

The bottom line is that if I am going to a restaurant with a coupon (which is what this essentially is), I want to feel as if I am getting some savings. If I have to pay a lot (yes, this is arbitrary and can mean different things to different people) in my opinion, the whole certificate purchasing process is not worth it. The way that I try to maximize my deal is to buy the certificates on sale. They regularly have 70% and 80% off certificates prices. Instead of paying $10, I would pay $2 or $3 for a certificate with $25 value. However, for many of the fancier restaurants, the promo codes do not apply.

I recommend using Restaurant.com but do the math first to make sure you are mentally prepared for what you will have to pay at the restaurant. Using their certificates does not slash your restaurant cost drastically, but it will reduce them.

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City In Review: Las Vegas

Whether you are a single person who wants to party or a parent who wants to enjoy time with your family, Las Vegas has something for everyone.

If you do not care about staying off the Strip, the Orlean is a location and they have family activities like a cinema on site.

If you want to stay on the strip, here are some suggestions

Caesar’s Palace, Venetian, Bellagio – All their rooms look like luxury. If you are trying to go to Vegas on the cheap, you probably will not be able to afford to stay here. They have deals sometimes, but these hotels are usually going to be the higher priced options.

MGM (My favorite) – All of their rooms clean, neat, look like new. You can find rooms at affordable rates without worrying that the quality will be similar to a Super 8 or Motel 6. I have stayed here for as low are $59/night.

At the Stratosphere, Excalibur, Luxor, Tropicana and Circus Circus, it is best to stay away from the cheapest rooms they have to offer. Most of the time, the cheaper rooms have not been renovated as the premium rooms. Those rooms could be on par to rooms you might find at a Super 8 or Motel 6. I pay the extra few dollars for the upgrade instead of taking a chance on the quality of the room.

When deciding on a hotel, check what coupon books you receive with your room. Most likely you will receive discount coupons for hotel stores and restaurants. For example, Stratosphere offered a coupon for a free pass to the observation deck which was a $13 savings. Many of the hotel restaurants have 2-for-1 offers or hotel credit too.

Wherever you stay, Saturday night is probably going to have the most expensive room rate. Many shows have “dark” days when they are not performing, so keep that in mind when planning what days you are going to be in the city.

There is a lot to do in Vegas. You can go shopping, pamper yourself in the spa, try out different celebrity chefs’ restaurants, visit museums, or see one of the many shows. Any time of day or night, there is fun to be found.

If you are not going to rent a car, you will probably not leave the strip. If you rent a car during your stay, do not worry about parking because many places have valet parking. Be nice and tip the hard working people though. Whatever you do, make sure you have comfortable shoes.  There are taxis, buses and a monorail, but everything is farther than it appears. It might seem close, but after walking for 20 minutes and you have still not reached your destination, you begin to realize that.  

Also with a car, you have to plan a day to ride to the Hoover Dam. It is only about an hour away and worth every minute. Since you are so close, it is also worth the drive to go to the Grand Canyon too. Be prepared to spend close to $50 for entrance to the Hualapai Indian Reservation Grand Canyon West to see the Grand Canyon. The tourist trap of a skywalk is located here and you can walk on it for an additional $29.95. The Grand Canyon may be breathtaking, but I was still grumbling about the entry fee. It seemed to be excessive to me.

Since I love desserts, I have to go by Freed’s Bakery every time I am in Vegas and get some of their wedding cake (white cake with strawberries and Bavarian cream between the layers and buttercream on top).

Overall, Vegas is a fun town and there is something for every budget. It is not all about playing in the casino. There is no doubt that Vegas is an extremely commercialized that is designed to get you to spend your money, but there are ways to spend as much or as little as you want. Whether on or off the Strip, you can have a great time. And remember “What happens in Vegas, STAYS in Vegas”