Why Discounted Dining Vouchers Aren’t Such a Big Deal
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 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, effectively breaking my budget and ruining on 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%, compared to 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 spending a total of say $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 means my discount is 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, which actually means 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, or I might over-order just to make up to $50 or more. For the first scenario, I would have saved only 12.5%, or I may actually 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, the discount is 90% of the time less than advertised, or I end up spending as much or 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 so I add on a dessert that cost $5.90 and I end up spending $35.80 ($29.90 + $5.90). If I hadn’t bought the voucher, I would have spent only $29.90 (as compared to the $35 I paid for the voucher) because I am on a budget!
It’s even worse if the restaurant has a joint promo with a bank e.g. 10% discount if you pay with cards from Bank XYZ.
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!
Here are some quick links to our dining deals for you to check out. Do visit them often because we’re updating them as often as we can. You can also create a personalized list of deals you wanna check 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!