This tip is really from my hubby - he is the king of this one . . .
You know how there are so many gift card offers right now? Buy $25 in GC, get $5 free and the like? Well, even if you don't need gift cards to give as gifts, you can use these deals to your advantage.
Next time you are out to dinner and the restaurant you are dining at has this promo, check it out - if it's a good deal, I'd suggest heading to the bar and picking up enough to cover your dinner that night. Then, use the gift card you just purchased to pay for your meal.
You were going to pay for dinner anyway right? So you've spent the same amount of money, and now you have $5 (or whatever the deal is) to use later!
Here is a great example:
We had dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings Wednesday with some friends and we knew our bill was going to be $30 - $40. So, my husband went to the bar, purchased two gift cards for $25 each and received two mystery cards (guaranteed to have at least $5 each on them). When our bill was due, we paid with the gift cards. Now, we have about $20 left on one gift card, plus at least $10 with the free card. So, we'll be able to come back for dinner in January and have our meal paid for!
A few caveats so you don't waste your money:
1. make sure you like the restaurant and would want to return
2. don't do too many of these deals - most of the bonus cards are only good in January or January and February, so you could easily get yourself into a situation where you can't use them all
3. don't buy the deal just to save money if you can't afford it, often you will purchase more in gift cards than your bill - great if you can just use them later, but if you can't afford the extra cash now . . .
4. don't lose the gift cards or bonus cards!!!
5. keep track of what you have purchased and make sure you use the bonus cards before they expire
Enjoy your holiday season!