Why Discounted Dining Vouchers Aren’t Such a Big Deal

 In Dining Deals

Cash Dining Vouchers sold at a discount, advertising savings of 25% and sometimes even 40% has been around ever since Groupon swooped into our city that loves FOOD and DEALS. Pay only $35 for a $50 cash voucher and save 30%. Sounds pretty good right? 

After a couple of purchases of these vouchers, I realise they don’t really save me as much as I imagined. What’s worse is that sometimes, they cause me to spend more than I would otherwise have, pushing me towards the slippery path of breaking my budget and becoming a hurdle to my financial discipline.

Why the Discounts are often (much) less than what we imagined
  • The discount  works out to be the amount stated if and only if you spend exactly the amount the cash voucher is for. Take the example of $35 for a $50 cash voucher. If I spent anything less than $50, say $40, then I would have paid $35 for a meal of $40, which  is actually only a discount of 12.5%. That’s pretty far from the 30% I thought I was saving.
  • So I decide hmm in order to get my money’s worth, I should try to spend $50 instead! I then scour for an item that costs $10 but there is nothing that is exactly $10 that looks appealing to me. I end up getting something that costs $15 and spend a total of $55. So I’d have to top up additional $5 cash, which means I will pay $40 ($35 + $5) for $55 worth of food. That equates to a discount of 27.2%.

Hmm that’s not too bad. Less than 3% shy of the 30% advertised.

Here’s the catch. When we dine out, it’s usually solo or with a partner. There are times when we dine in a group, which means I may purchase multiple vouchers to cover the bill. All in all, it usually works out to be a ratio of roughly 1 voucher : 1-2 diners.

Now we get to the next part. If it was just 1 diner, me dining with me alone, I will either not be able to meet the $50 spending (and end up saving only 12.5% as described above, or I would order more items to make up to $50. and end up eating and spending more than what I would have without the voucher!

If I was dining with two, chances are likely that  I’d have to top up with cash, or  I’d pay with 2 vouchers, and still not meet the amount the voucher is worth.

Whatever the case, more often than not, I’d end up saving much less or spend more than what I would have without the voucher.

Here’s another example.

My fish and chips cost $29.90 but I paid $35 for my $50 dining voucher. I add on a dessert that cost $5.90. If I am on a budget, I would have chosen to forgo dessert and spent only $29.90. Instead, my bank is now short of $35.

The Math makes the deal even worse if the restaurant has other ongoing promotions. E.g. get a 10% discount if you pay with cards from Bank XYZ. In this case, I would have gotten a discount on my $29.90.

If you’re saving, you’re succeeding. – Steve Burkholder

My point is, if you’re on a budget, then hunting for direct discounts on food items e.g. 20% off if you pay with cards from Bank XYZ, or 1-for-1 dining deals is much better for accomplishing your financial goals as compared to discounted cash dining vouchers.

If however, you have fixed  plans to dine at a particular place, and you are certain that you will spend more than what you will be forking out for the dining voucher, then by all means click the Add to Cart button!

If you’re on a hunt for a deal, below is a list of great dining deals for you to check out. Or visit https://huntingmama.com/dining-deals/ for the complete list of deals. Do come back often because we’re updating it as often as we can. If you need some help browsing, check out our categories here.

You can also create a wishlist of deals you wanna try out by clicking on the bookmark under each listing. Better still, contribute to your budget conscious khakis by adding a dining deal you have found that is not on huntingmama yet!

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