Besides manufacturer's coupons for products you can find on the shelves of your grocery store, restaurant coupons are probably the most popular type of coupon out there. You'll find great deals in your local ValPak and newspapers, as well as in-store deals that come with a purchase of X amount of money or more. Although coupons can seem to give you a great deal, however, evaluating restaurant coupons is an important practice to keep you from spending money you can't afford to pull out of your budget. Ask these questions to make sure the coupon is one you'd like to use.
Is the source reputable? You need to make sure that the coupon is valid in the first place before you even think about how you're going to spend it. It's a cruel joke to pull, but some mean pranksters will print up coupons for stores that were not intending to give 50% off your entire order! Make sure that the source of the coupon is reliable and that you aren't potentially taking a fake coupon in to buy a bunch of food out.
Would you eat at this restaurant anyway? If you don't like Italian food, there's no reason to keep that coupon for a local Italian favorite. In fact, if you're at all iffy about the restaurant for which you have the coupon, don't bother using it; give it to a friend who will, or toss it out. If you wouldn't eat at that restaurant under normal circumstances, it's not a good idea to spend money just because you are getting a decent deal.
Are you willing to use this much of your dining out budget on this restaurant? Maybe you would eat at the restaurant anyway, but it's not your favorite. If your monthly dining out budget is small, you may not want to use its entirety (or even a large chunk of it) on a dining experience that is only so-so. Consider carefully how much of an impact your spending at the restaurant would have on your budget, since most coupons require you to buy a certain amount before you can get a discount.
Does the coupon really give you a deal, or just coax you to spend more? Evaluate how much you would normally spend on a meal for however many people you're planning to take to the restaurant. If it is less than the minimum amount required to get the coupon deal, you're not actually getting a deal, because the restaurant is simply trying to get you to spend more money than you need to!
There are good coupons out there, so don't be a doubter! There are other ways to get good deals, too, like shopping at garage sales. We know all about that!