Like it or hate it, the Little Caesars $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza has controlled the cheap pizza market for years. Even if you don’t like the taste, the fact is that because there’s a pizza for $5 available, it’s likely kept the cost down across the board, meaning virtually all pizza has been made cheaper because of the low price of the Hot-N-Ready. Watch movies from the 1980’s and you’ll see that paying $15 per pizza was pretty common. Even premium pizza, after over 20 years, likely tops out or comes in below that price these days, and you have to figure this comes back in many ways to the introduction of the Hot-N-Ready $5 pizza.
One of the worst kept secrets in the ‘get a great deal’ on dining out has been Restaurant.com. This site has been one of my favorites for years.
With the site, you can buy a coupon that gives you a dollar amount off participating restaurants. Typically, you can get a $10 coupon for $3 or a $25 for $10, with each restaurant choosing the terms by which you can use the coupons (some won’t allow you to use them on weekend nights or on holidays or unless your party consists of a certain number of people). The great part about it is that you can typically find a coupon code for 80%, and sometimes even 90%, off the regular price of a certificate.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that purchased the Groupon deal for a sub-chain-to-remain nameless that came out over the summer. For the deal, you got two regular subs (up to a $12.98 value) for $6.
We waited until a few days before the promotion ended, having sort of forgotten about the coupon. Still, we planned our dinner around getting two subs.
We weren’t entirely sure of which subs qualified and which didn’t, since the wording on the Groupon didn’t quite match up with the sub selection that we went through online. As such, my wife and I had a couple of different options of subs we were interested in depending on what qualified. I stayed at home with the kids while my wife went to get the subs.
Eliminating food waste is a big way to save money. Every piece of food you throw in the garbage can or down the disposal cost you money and is a waste. Figuring out ways to reduce waste can be key in reducing your grocery bill.
There are a few tips you can use to reduce your food waste:
- Make a list of what you’re throwing out – If you start seeing a pattern in that you’re pouring half a gallon of milk down the drain, then it’s time to start buying smaller quantities. Seeing patterns will help you eliminate them.
- FIFO – This stands for ‘first in, first out’. Whether it be with fresh fruit and vegetables, yogurt containers, or even canned goods, make sure you move the oldest stuff to the front so that you are increasing the chance of buying before the expiration date
- Keep fridge items in clear container – What you can’t see you will often forget about. Put leftovers, cut up fruit, and similar items in clear containers so that you will increase your likelihood of seeing them when you’re in the fridge.
- Keep items in the same place – This works for your pantry and fridge. Keep your fruit in one drawer, veggies in the other. Keep all your dressings and condiments together. Put milk and juice on the same shelf every time. Leftovers all go in one area. When things get spread around, they get forgotten about or lost in the shuffle.
- Clean out your freezer regularly – Our freezer is the spot where we find things going to waste more often. It’s easier than anywhere else to push something to the back and forget about it, only to find it a frostbitten mess months later. Re-organize your freezer every few months to keep space clear (avoiding future cluttering and cramming) and to bring things to the front that might have gotten lost in the shuffle but maybe can be saved.
- Buy good containers…and burp them – A good food storage container will keep something fresh for much longer than keeping it uncovered or in a poorly designed container. A good container should allow you to slightly raise the lid while subsequently pressing down to ‘burp’ the air out of them, slowing the process that causes many foods to break down.
By and large, we don’t throw out too much food. We’ll find the very occasional ‘ewww, gross’ item or stuff that’s been pushed to the back of the freezer to die a slow death, but I think we do much better than we used to.
How much food do you find yourself throwing away? Do you have any other tips and tricks to eliminate waste? Please leave a comment and let me know what works (and what doesn’t) in your household.
Maybe someone with experience or knowledge of the restaurant industry can help me understand a minor point on how debit cards are handled.
This arises from a situation on New Year’s Eve. My wife and I went out to a restaurant to eat. We’ve been there a time or two in the past, but not for a long time.
The meal was wonderful, and as we usually do when we eat out, we paid using my debit card. As is also usual, I signed for the tip to be added on.
What I’ve noticed happens at most restaurants when I do this is that for the first day or two, the transaction shows up in my register as a pre-authorization and is usually for only the amount of the check. This makes sense as I’m guessing that the restaurant swipes the card before bringing it back to the table where tip can be handled. Typically, when the transaction clears after a day or two and appears as a Posted Transaction, the full amount including tip shows up.
We’ve used Restaurant.com for years. The way it works is that you buy a coupon that gives you a dollar amount off the meal, and the price you pay for the coupon is way less than the face value. Typically, you can get a $25 certificate for $10 or a $10 certificate for $4. Towards the end of the month, they’ll often run 70% or 80% off specials (all you have to do is enter the promo code that they distribute to their e-mail members) so you can get them much cheaper.
We’ve run into very few problems over the years. One time we had a restaurant refuse to honor the certificate, saying that they had opted out of the program but that Restaurant.com had not removed them from the site, but they later sent us a gift card as an apology.