Dinner and a Movie


We are tightening down the budget a bit right now because of the new fridge. But it’s looking like it will be a beautiful weekend and it’s been a very long work week. I want dinner and a movie! I could ignore the budget and blow a lot of money at my favorite wine bar or my husband’s favorite Irish pub. But, with a little geek cleverness, I think I can manage to stay within my budget and take the entire family to dinner without reducing us to living on canned beans and Ramen noodles for the rest of the month. (Okay, I’m exaggerating but you get my drift.) I want to go to the Brazilian restaurant that has something each of likes. I don’t get any argument from either kid or my husband when I suggest eating there but we scratched it off our regular rotation because it’s a bit too pricey. Before I shut my computer down today, though, I’m planning to buy a gift certificate to eat there from Restaurant.com. The gift certificates cost a fraction of their face value. So I can get a $25 certificate for $10.

The site offers gift certificates for lots of restaurants nationwide – not just big chains – but it varies by region so you’ll have to check out what they have in your area. We live in a small town and there are only about 6 restaurants listed but two of them are places we like to eat. In fact, another place we’ve wanted to try is offering $10 gift certificates for $3 so I might get some of those, too. There are some restrictions, of course so read the fine print. For example, the Brazilian place excludes alcohol from the certificate and requires we spend at least $35 to use it. That’s easy if we have our hungry tweens with us. But we’d have to hoover a pretty hefty meal to do that on our own if his Negro Modelo’s don’t count against the tab. But, even with that restriction, feeding the four of us in a place we like for $20 — the gift certificate costs $10 and is worth $25 but we have to spend $35 to use it — is a great deal.

As for the movie? We have a projector at home where we get a 100-inch image in our living room (on a unit that I cost much less than most 42″ LCDs; you can read about how to set that up in my book) and I make a pretty mean bowl of popcorn. So we will probably download something from Amazon Video On Demandto our Roku. (If you don’t have one already, the $99 Roku makes an awesome Father’s Day gift.)

Give the gift of movies-Fandango Bucks!

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