Up to $75 Worth of Free Food!

It appears that LivingSocial is rolling out a “portal” of their own called Restaurants Plus – but, unlike the online version, all you have to do is register your card and remember to use it at participating stores.

The current offer is valid in Atlanta, DC, and San Francisco only – though I am looking into whether or not that is actually true. Here’s the summary:

Restaurants Plus

You can participate once per day through Jan 3 for up to $15 cash back, which is a total of $75 in free food. I would expect that you can simply purchase a $15 gift card every day and redeem it all at once or when convenient. That’s what I’d do if I was in a participating city!

An Easy $75 Worth of Credit Card Spend – and Free Miles!

This is my favorite type of offer. You’ll spend $15 and they’ll give you $15 back. That’s a manufactured-spend dream! This spend should trigger miles, cash back, or whatever promotion you’re working on. If you’re trying to meet a spend minimum (such as spend $500, get $100 back on Chase Freedom) this will count toward that as well!

Will you use this offer?

If you have a bachelor or bachelorette, bridal shower, or any other activities coming up and any of these restaurants are potential venues, it might be worth trying to stock up on gift cards to see if the promotion comes through! Or, maybe you could use the gift cards as welcome gifts to your out-of-town guests.

Leave a comment if you’re able to participate. I’d love to hear how it works and how you’re using the credit!

Why rent? Buy a tuxedo for the same price!

Assuming your tux rental (we’re just talking jacket and pants) is $200 at Men’s Warehouse or other retailers, I am definitely an advocate for having the groom, fathers, and groomsmen purchase a tuxedo rather than renting. If you’re going to choose the economy options that are under $100 with tailoring and accessories, you are probably better off renting. However, buying is especially valuable if it’s inconvenient or implausible to pick up the tuxedos on the day of the wedding – for example, there weren’t any options in Kauai that seemed reliable for our wedding – or if the shop charges a daily fee if you can’t return them the next day. Most of us weren’t returning for an additional three or four days, which would have been an extra $80! There are also fewer opportunities for last minute crises when the guys own, pick up, and tailor their tuxedos in advance. Plus…if you ever need to wear it again (who doesn’t?) it has paid for itself and is ready at a moment’s notice!

There are a handful of places that have outstanding sales throughout the year. Here’s a great option that pops up on a regular basis: Express is offering 50% off everything. That makes a standard tuxedo only $238!


Of COURSE we can do better by stacking promotions! Take a look at these offers via cashbackmonitor.com:


If you’re a Discover card holder taking advantage of the Double offer (if not, you should be!) that means you’ll get a whopping 20% back on each tuxedo, for a total of $23.80*2 = $47.60 off, or $190.40.

Done! Less than the typical cost to rent.


Don’t have a Discover card? Let’s try another deal. Buying a discount gift card will save us up to 20% off, too. Note that you won’t earn Discover cash back if you pay with a gift card, but that isn’t the rule with most of the other programs. So, you could buy an Express gift card at 20% off and use it to purchase your tuxedo via Ebates, Rapid Rewards, etc, and earn yourself some free loyalty miles.


What about the shirts, shoes, tie, etc…

Express has those, too. So does Kohl’s, among an endless list of other stores. I have a handful of ideas to help you save some cash on those purchases. Since that “stuff” tends to be custom for each event, I think it’s reasonable to put $30-$50 into the accessories and worth buying a comfortable pair of dress shoes that will get some use.

What do you think?

Are you renting or buying? Where did you pick up your accessories?

$150 worth of Free Stuff (after rewards) for you, $100 For Me


It would be pretty cool if you took advantage of this offer.

First, I’ll tell you what’s in it for you:

Sears (via Shop Your Way Rewards, or SYWR) is offering up to 100% back “in points” on a handful of items. Here are the item numbers I found at the moment – you can also get 50% back on one electronic item (I’m buying an Amazon tablet) but that’s another conversation…get one for you or as a gift:

Portable Battery Chargers for Smartphones/Tablets:

  • Item #05738687000
  • Item #05739378000
  • Item #05739377000
  • Item #05749743000

Wireless Mouse

  • Item #00351048000

DSLR Shoulder Bag

  •  Item #00349767000

Prices range from $14-$36 per item.

If you join Ebates via my referral code, you’ll get 3% back on your Sears purchase plus a $5 credit or $10 gift card (you’ll see the details when you click through to sign up.)

This means you can get about $150 worth of stuff, 3% + $5 back via Ebates, and the entire $150 back in the form of Shop Your Way Rewards for use on a future purchase. If there is a Kmart nearby, you can use your rewards there for household items – food, toiletries, etc.

When you’re checking out, just be careful to note the number of points it says you will be receiving. 1,000 points = $1, so if you’re buying the $28 DSLR bag, make sure it adds up to 28,000 or so points! Ensure that you don’t accidentally apply any points in your account, or you won’t earn any more.

Below is the screen shot of my total. I’ll be paying $333.43 and receiving the equivalent of $250 back in points. I intend on selling one of the items for $100 (it’s worth well over that, but I don’t really care) and I’m also getting a $40 bonus via the eAwards promo I’ll mention in a moment. On top of that, I’ll trigger a United bonus worth 1200 miles. I haven’t decided what to do with the other items I’m getting for “nothing.” Told you it was good!

Screenshot (99)

Then, what’s in it for me:

Beyond the stacked deals, I owe a full disclosure as to the Ebates references! Ebates is running a promotion where three referrals that result in $25+ purchases = an $85 bonus. Quite nice! So, pick one (or more) of the $25+ items (I like the camera bag!) and they’ll reward me handsomely! Thanks!

If you just want loyalty miles:

If you’re frantically collecting mileage points, United Mileage Plus is offering a bonus of 300 points when you spend $100, and 1200 on $300, so you could trigger that by stocking up on these “freebies.”

Which card should you use?

Pay with either the card you’re trying to meet a spend minimum on OR your Discover  card, which is offering 5% back at department stores…doubled to 10% for those of us in the Discover.com/Double promotion. That could be quite lucrative!

Earn more with the eAward Promotion

Use your credit card to take advantage of the “buy $50, get a $10 eAward card” promotion. I purchased two $100 e-gift cards, received a $40 bonus, and spent around $300 on merchandise I plan to get “for free.” There does not appear to be a particular link for this; just start at Sears.com (via a portal!) and find the link down on the bottom left. Yes, you will generally earn points for BUYING a gift card and also for REDEEMING a gift card, therefore doubling your rewards!

So, which gift are you getting yourself?

Wine, Magazines, and 1600 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points for $50

Vinesse Wine Club: $42 for 1400 Points

I think this is a good deal, since I would pay $50 for six bottles of wine, anyway. If you are hosting or need gifts (you wouldn’t show up to a holiday party empty handed, would you? New Year’s Eve is coming up!), this is an even better opportunity. As for us? We don’t need an excuse to stock up…

There do not appear to be any restrictions requiring a year long membership and the policy says you can cancel your membership immediately. For me, that means when the first shipment arrives, I’ll call to cancel. This comes out to around 32 pts/dollar, depending on your state’s tax situation. There aren’t many valuable offers out there for products you’ll actually use at this earn rate. Simply navigate to rapidrewardsshopping.southwest.com for this offer.

Screenshot (96)

$7 for 200 points (oh, and a magazine subscription…)

I’m not a big magazine reader – but paying $7 for 200 points is a rate of around 28 pts/dollar. This is actually slightly less than the price to buy points (36 pts/dollar) – but these count toward your Companion Pass and you get the magazine subscription out of it.

Screenshot (97)

Here’s a snapshot of the cheapest subscription offers. Note that there does not appear to be a 1 per household limit, so you could stock up on this. Price is going to be somewhere around $35/1000 points. If you’re close to that Companion Pass or in need of topping off for an award flight, it’s worth considering.

Screenshot (98)

What do you think?

Are these offers worthwhile to you? Which magazine did you choose?

Up to 34% Off Engagement Rings at Zales!

This is a darn good deal!

If you’re not a Discover cardholder and it’s diamond-shoppin’ time, you might want to take a few minutes to consider this option.


First, sign up for your card at discover.com/double – this DOUBLES all cash back for your first year as a cardholder (plus offers no interest for a whole year! See the last portion of the post for more…) So, when you see Discover Deals (the Discover portal) offering 10% back, that makes it an easy 20% back. Zales has 10% back through the end of the year – just be sure to read the fine print, as it says not valid with other offers. But, does that rule really apply? The answer is “YMMV” – your mileage may vary (you’ll see this expression around many travel blogs and deal sites as a disclaimer that the promotion might not work exactly as advertised, so proceed at your own discretion.) Zales is currently offering 15% off on $1,500, but it may not pair with the Discover offer. So, it’s your choice whether or not to take the chance. Let’s do the math and decide.

Just the 15% Off: Assuming you’re buying a $2,000 engagement ring. That would trigger the 15% off, or a $1,700 sticker price. You should probably use a new credit card that has a sign up bonus on $1,000 so you can make progress toward that free honeymoon! However, if you use your Discover card, you’ll get the standard 1% back, doubled to 2%, for an extra $34 off. Your price would be $1,668.

Just the 20% Back at Discover: Assuming you’re buying a $2,000 engagement ring, your price would be $2,000 and you’ll get $400 in cash back through the bonus plus the standard 1%, or $20, doubled to $40. Your price would be $1,580.

Use both, cross your fingers it works:  Assuming you’re buying a $2,000 engagement ring, your price would be $1,700 after the 15% discount and you’ll get $340 in cash back through the bonus plus the standard 1%, or $17, doubled to $34. End price is $1,326 – a total discount of about 34% off!

What would I do? I would definitely use the 15% off code and shop through the Discover portal! I could save an ADDITIONAL 16% over just using the 20% portal offer ($1,326 vs $1,580), and will pay an “extra” 6%, at most, if I only get the 15% without the cash back bonus ($1,668 vs $1,580.) The only factor that might change my mind would be a significant travel bonus if I used a non-Discover card on the purchase.

Don’t know what you’re shopping for?

If you need help picking out a stone online, don’t hesitate to ask for help. I also suggest the folks over at Price Scope and the Holloway Cut Adviser as great tools for your search. You should pop in to a store or two to get a feel for your personal preference and corresponding prices to make sure this is the best deal you can find.

I might be poking around for a gift for myself, with these prices…

Obligatory financial responsibility statement

Using a credit card takes responsibility. This card happens to come with 0% interest for ONE YEAR. In other words, if you can’t pay off the purchase in ONE YEAR, don’t make it! The rates skyrocket to 10-20% in the 13th month, which will immediately wipe out any savings from using the card!