Save money at select chain restaurants this week

This is a decent deal…I just wish I’d thought of it sooner. I’m sure some of you have already figured it out.

Many of the chain restaurants are giving bonus gift cards through Christmas when you purchase gift cards from them. A lot of them are giving $5 bonus gift cards when you buy $25 worth of gift cards.

I think most people’s natural inclination is to buy them when you at the end of the meal
when you get your check.

The trick is to buy the gift cards before you eat and use them to pay for your meal.

At most of the restaurants, you purchase gift cards at the bar/dessert counter/whatever anyway, so just do it before you get seated.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you’re getting a $25 Elephant Bar gift card for your friend because they love the JamaicaMojo Grilled Shrimp Salad. You were planning to take your sweetie there as well.

Instead of buying the $25 gift card at the end of your meal, head to the bar before you eat and buy two $25 gift cards and get two $5 bonus gift cards.

Let’s say your meal total comes out to $35. Pay for it with your $25 gift card and your $10 of bonus gift cards.

Congratulations, you just saved over 28%!

Even if you weren’t planning to get your friend a gift card, under the same scenario, you’d still be saving $5 on your $35 meal, a not-so-meager 14%.

Of course, some of the restaurants have already figured this out and have put restrictions on the bonus gift cards. P.F. Chang’s, for instance, is offering $10 in bonus gift cards for every $50 gift card purchase, but the bonus cards are only good in 2010.

Here’s a list of some chains restaurants with Inland Empire locations where you should be able to take advantage of this deal, but please check for restrictions before you buy:

If you know of any other restaurants with bonuses or if you find out unexpected restrictions on the above restaurants, please let us know below.