As Americans Opt to Eat at Home, Restaurants Are Now Using Coupons to Entice Diners Back, Says Coupon Mom Stephanie Nelson

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As the price of household expenses continue to climb, many families are cutting back on eating out, says founder Stephanie Nelson. If you'd still like to enjoy an occasional meal out with your family, try cutting out coupons before you cut out the fun of dining out.

To save money, over 30% of consumers admit in a new study, they are eating at home more. In response to these tough economic times, restaurants are looking for ways to entice consumers to dine out more often and new restaurants are also advertising deep discounts with coupons.

"It's not hard to save at your favorite restaurants if you know where to look," says Nelson, "Start by checking for discounted restaurant gift certificates from where consumers can purchase $25 certificates for only $10. They can find coupon codes at to pay only $6 for the $25 certificate."

Consumers can also get free restaurant coupons by going directly to a restaurant's web site. Many restaurants have email newsletters with generous coupons. Although national chain restaurants have had email and printable coupons for years, today you can also find valuable coupons on the web sites of many local restaurants.

Nelson recently met a business colleague while traveling about 2,500 miles from her home. When she confirmed the name of the restaurant, she "googled" it and found their web site. They offered a very generous printable coupon of $25 off a first visit. She printed it and brought it to lunch. When the check arrived the coupon covered almost the entire bill! This example demonstrates how easily you can save at nice restaurants if you look for coupons.

Another easy way to get restaurant coupons is to look for coupon books. Nelson says, "Start by getting an Entertainment book in your city. There are special offers for these books at in the Restaurant Coupon section."

Every year as school starts, a new Entertainment edition comes out, which ranges from $25 to $35, depending on the city. The book's restaurant coupons cover the full spectrum from casual to formal restaurants.

Each restaurant generally has one coupon in the book; however, if you go to their web site and sign on as a registered member, you will be able to print monthly coupons for a percentage off the total order (such as 20 percent) for many of the restaurants. As an added bonus, you can select coupons for restaurants in other cities, which can offer big savings on vacations.

If consumers are reluctant to use coupons at restaurants in business or social situations, they can save by getting up to 20% cash back when they dine at one of the 9,000 restaurants that participate in the Rewards Network program. Membership is free, and rebates apply to the total bill including beverages, tax and tip. By using a registered credit card no one even realizes you are saving.

Also, try using restaurant reservation services like or . If your favorite restaurants participate in these programs, you can earn points toward free gift certificates.

Other places to look for coupons include:
Magazines and coupon flyers mailed to your home. When you get one, quickly flip through to see if it has restaurant coupons you like and tear them out immediately. Keep all of your restaurant coupons in one box or envelope to have handy when you need them. Or even keep the envelope in your car so you won't forget them.

Local community coupon books distributed via local businesses, schools and libraries

Sunday grocery coupon circulars

Community newspapers and free community magazines

Local Web sites. Go to a search engine and enter the name of your city and the term "restaurant coupons" to find good local sites.

Ask your favorite restaurants if they have coupons available and where they distribute them.

Other little-known ways to get discounted gift certificates for restaurants include checking your local television station Web sites. Many sell half-price gift certificates for a handful of popular local restaurants on a limited basis. If coupons are available for the same restaurant you may be able to combine the coupon with the gift certificate.

Finally, if you have a jar of spare change you may get paid visits to Starbucks with very little effort. Take your change to your local grocery store's Coinstar machine and have it counted. If you were to exchange your coins for cash, you'd pay a service fee to have the Coinstar machine provide the service of counting your change. However, if you opt to receive a gift certificate for a Starbucks store, you will not pay a fee at all. That's worth checking under your couch cushions.

For more information on savings, go to . Media Contact: Nanette Noffsinger, nanette @ or 615-776-4230.


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