Our family decided to eat out Sunday afternoon after church. Now, normally, this can become a pretty torturous event. It goes something like this:
One of the kids: Dad, can we eat out today?
Me: [Knowing we don’t have a meal planned] Sounds good. How about [fill in the restaurant]?
All 4 of the kids in various forms, but simultaneously: I don’t want to go there. Why not [4 different restaurants]? We never go there?
Me: We’re going home to eat.
Kids: [Sad and complaining]
So, yesterday, I tried something new. I know there is one place that we like to eat, but one of our children has a minor allergic reaction to some of the food there. Knowing this, we discussed a different option that normally would be a little pricey to feed all 6 of us – Pei Wei. But we all pretty much like it. So, we go and we’re standing in a long after-church line waiting. Carol then sees a special – Buy $50 gift cards, get $10 gift cards free. We knew how much this would end up being, so we said “sure”! $10 saved (sort of… at least $10 earned).
Next, while I’m in line, I’m still thinking this is expensive (Note: while I’m waiting in line, Carol takes one of our kids to get their hair cut – that’s how long the line was). So, I start searching for Pei Wei coupons. All of a sudden, a link comes up for Pei Wei for a BOGO coupon. All I had to do was take a short 5-question survey. I did, and moments later, the coupon arrived in my e-mail. Next, I told Connor to take the same survey, answer for Carol, and e-mail her. Suddenly, I’m about to have 2 buy-one-get-one free offers, for entrees that are about $8.50. Carol got back from the haircut. We ordered with the gift cards, and in total (if you count the extra $10 gift card), I saved $28.24. I only spent $28.62 on our meal that fed 6 people! Unbelieveable! That’s Taco Bell pricing. It was so much fun! And all of this while standing in line for about 15 minutes using my iPhone. Plugging all of that into our You Need a Budget tool was fun too. (See my post on YNAB).
Funny… I suddenly pictured my mom (who passed away a couple of years ago) walking around the grocery store with her little coupon folio saving money trying to raise 5 kids on a shoestring budget. Here’s to you Mom!