Going Out for Dinner? Here’s How to Get Paid for Eating at Restaurants
Fact: More than 80% of Americans admit to wasting money.
And much of that money, they say, comes in the form of food and drink.
Nearly 70% of people said they spent too much on going out to eat, according to the 2,000 folks who responded to Hloom’s recent “The United States of Financial Waste” survey.
Additionally, more than 25% of respondents admitted to wasting money on alcohol. (Here’s how to get paid to buy it, instead.)
The good news is these respondents said, yes, they’d be willing to cut back on this spending.
The bad news is that temptations are difficult to curve. They’re not traditional restaurant discounts or coupons, but here are some easy ways to earn money back each time you eat (or drink) out.
It’s basically getting paid to eat at restaurants.
1. Never, Ever Throw Your Receipt Away
But, what many consumers don’t realize, is the free cash-back app also offers cash-back rewards for restaurants and bars.
If you haven’t already, download the app, tap “Find Rebates,” then scroll down to the “Restaurants & Bars” category. There, you’ll find nearby deals, including 10% cash back at Krispy Kreme and Buffalo Wild Wings.
The best part is you can find cash-back opportunities for any restaurant or any bar.
For example, order a Shock Top and any food item from anywhere your heart desires and score $2 cash back.
Plus, Ibotta will give you a $10 welcome bonus just for signing up.
2. Pay With a Cash-Back Card
Something like 1% back on a meal might not seem like much, but it can add up quickly, especially if you’re feeding a family.
If you’re eating out, you might as well use a rewards credit card to get something back from your meal.
One of our favorites is the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®. Not only does its name sound super fancy, you’ll accumulate 1.5% cash back on any and every purchase you make.
For example, if you spend $250 a month when you eat out, you’ll bank $45 back at the end of the year. Plus, if you (responsibly) spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account, you can snag a $200 bonus. Just make sure to pay it off in full each month to avoid interest.
Take a look at all the fine print, and see if it might be a good fit for you.
3. Make Money Back When You Wine and Dine
Wining and dining yourself doesn’t have to eat away at your savings. (Get it?)
You can actually earn money back by eating at your favorite restaurants and drinking at your favorite bars — if you know what you’re doing.
Try using an app like Swagbucks Local.
Here’s how it works:
- Download the free app (either through iTunes or Google Play).
- Sign in with your existing Swagbucks account or create one.
- Link your debit and/or credit cards — whatever you swipe the most as long as it’s Visa or American Express.
- Take a look at the map to see where you can earn Swagbucks (SBs).
Or, you can skip this step. Once you have your credit or debit card(s) connected, Swagbucks registers when you make a purchase at any affiliated vendor. You don’t have to do a thing; it’ll automatically reward you.
The number of SBs you earn per dollar will depend on the location. In our area, many eateries and coffee shops are offering 7 SB per dollar.
4. Stack Those Deals
Each of these methods can earn you some money back on your meals. But true Penny Hoarders stack ’em up for ultimate savings.
For example, try deal-stacking some of these offers — like paying through Subtotal with a cash-back card. You’ll earn points back on both platforms. Then, scan your receipt through Ibotta for even more cash back.
Exercise some creativity with your restaurant discounts and see how close to free your meal can be!
Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which The Penny Hoarder receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). We do not feature all available credit card offers or all credit card issuers.
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Tweet at her and tell her your favorite way to earn cash back when you dine out (because she goes out to eat a little too often.)