Going Out for Dinner? Here’s How to Get Paid for Eating at Restaurants

Restaurant discounts
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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

We’ve earned hundreds of dollars back on groceries thanks to Ibotta.

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 $5 welcome bonus just for signing up.

See what’s available in your area.

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.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.

There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

Bonus: Here are a few more reward opportunities.

*Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.

3. 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!

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.)