Do and really save you money?

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I considered naming this post “When a gift certificate isn’t really a gift certificate.”

It’s been a few years since I’ve used, the website that offers gift certificates to neighborhood eateries at a discounted price.

On its website, they advertise $25 gift certificates for $10. and review: What you need to know

Many people are tempted to use the service when it occasionally discounts the gift certificates to $1 or $2 apiece. I have $300 worth of them. I got them for free from American Express.

Dining Dough is a part of
Dining Dough is part of

I’ll begin by explaining why (also shouldn’t be calling these gift certificates.

Think back to when gift certificates actually existed. You know, before gift cards. You paid $25 to the restaurant and they gave you the cash equivalent.

That’s not how operates. Far from it.

You are essentially buying coupons loaded with fine print. Minimum purchases, date restrictions and exclusions (like no alcohol) are typical.

In fact, is more about splurging than saving.

On its vouchers, lists the top three ways to use your gift certificate: Order dessert, try the appetizers and go for the grand entrée.

Those recommendations are meant to facilitate spending. They don’t want you to save money.

Another thing to consider is where the restaurants are located. I live in a big city and there is only one place listed on within walking distance.

On top of that, few of the restaurants are ones I had even heard of.

But since I have $300 in free gift certificates, I thought I’d give another try. With the app loaded onto my phone, I drove 1.8 miles to one of the nearest options.

I redeemed a $5 gift certificate, which normally would cost $2 if I had paid for it.

I visited a Thai and Vietnamese restaurant. I’d call it a fast-food place. There were seats, but no waiters. I got my order to go.

Normally, Panang Curry with Chicken costs $8.95 before tax. Using my $5 discount, it was $4.67. I left a $2 tip, bringing the total to $6.67.

Had I paid $2 for the gift certificate, we’d be talking $8.67. Hardly a bargain.

Here is the delicious meal I got using my $5 gift certificate
Here is the delicious meal I got using my $5 gift certificate

I wouldn’t say is a rip-off, but I do believe most people can find better deals without having to pay any money upfront.

Do you have experience with Was it good or bad? Let me know.

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6 thoughts on “Do and really save you money?”

  1. I have purchased certificates to try new restaurants when they cost $3.00 for a $25.00 certificate. When I did the math, I was saving about $5.00 when you factor in the cost and instructions on how you must use the certificates. For example, minimum spending and day and/or time of use restrictions.

    PS…the two restaurants that I purchased certificates for no longer can be found on the site. Does that mean that it wasn’t that good a deal for them!?!

  2. Suck is th word. As a business owner I’ve seen the serious downside. The winner is the one where the customer comes in with a crowd of friends and a coupon for 300 bucks that their boss at wprk gave them, and thinks they’re entitled to 300 bucks wOrth of free food!
    When you ela in to them that it doesn’t work that way, that those coupons are so that they can buy a coupon for a 10 dollar discount, they want to buy and use 10 of them at one time. When you further explain that they are redeemable one at a time only, they get pissed off and give you a bad review on that blood sucking site.
    A lose lose if there ever was one

  3. I am playing in Michael’s field — outfield. I was just given 2-$50 gift cards to register on DiningDough, it shows 2 restaurants available in my area, neither of which I have EVER heard of. Then it gives option to go to to enter your coupons there. But, you cannot see the restaurants it provides until signing your “coupon card” over to it for payment. Doesn’t seem fair or wise. So, I will be regifting these for Christmas or Birthdays this year!!!

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