Reader Poll: Do You Buy Entertainment Coupon Books?

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You may have heard of a huge annual coupon book that is known simply as The Entertainment Book. Compiled specifically for your local area, it includes discounts for restaurants, movie tickets, movie attractions, and services like car repair or nail salons. The most common are 2-for-1 or 50% off. If you enter your zip code online, you’ll be able to see the coupons inside ahead of time. (Some people also buy books from tourist places like Orlando or Hawaii.)

The retail price varies by area, but is usually around $35 to $50, although you can usually find an addition discount on the site (they know their target demographic of bargain hunters). Currently, you can buy the 2011 book for about $5 + free shipping if you agree to pre-order the 2012 book at $5 off retail + free shipping. In addition, you can go through the shopping portal Mr. Rebates ($5 bonus) and get an additional 30% cash back.

I have never bought one myself, mostly because of my love/hate relationship with coupons. I love discounts but never seem to remember to bring coupons along, and that makes it even worse than not having it at all! However, I was recently given an Entertainment Book as a present. This thing is thick! It was a thoughtful gift, and now I can actually see if this thing will save me money.

So far, flipping through it, I’m happy to see that they do cover a lot of nearby vendors. The deals are very localized, so my preliminary advice would be to look through the deals online, and add up which ones you know you can use without changing your existing shopping habits. Then, cut your expected saving by 50% for a margin of error. If you can still save money after that, then consider purchasing.

Have you bought an Entertainment Book before? If so, did you find it worth the purchase price?

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  1. I worked for them over a summer in college. The concept is good but we often had trouble with vendors subsequently honoring the coupons….

  2. Bought them a couple times. We end up forgetting we have them, and the coupons go mostly unused. Also, if the coupons cause us to spend money we would not otherwise have spent, they are actually costing us more, not saving us anything. Since then I don’t buy. My rule of thumb not to spend real money on basically a bunch of sheets of paper.

  3. I wouldn’t buy one, but have gotten them as gifts. I like them as gifts, because 100% will save money with the coupons.

    That said, we forget we have them too. Often we find coupons after the fact. I am continually surprised by what we find in there. But we consume so little to begin with that we will never save a fortune with those coupon books.

  4. I haven’t bought that one, but there’s another local discount book (Santa Barbara Axxess) that I have bought, and which is definitely worth it. It comes with a card you keep in your wallet, so it’s easy to not forget, and there’s a deal with a local theater company for BOGO free. If I go to one show, it pays for itself.

  5. I buy it

    in my area, there are 4 shop right (grocery coupons) for 5 dollars off $50, for a total savings of $20.

    since i do 90% of my grocery shopping there, thats an easy 20 bucks off the cost.

    it makes it much easier to recoup the initial 35 in my area for the book

  6. i would say the has better coupons/deals. I also keep stressing to friends that the groupon restaurant deals are not as good as (in most cases)

  7. In my area of Wisconsin it is called the “Bucky Book” and there’s usually a deal where if you buy $35 Little Caesar’s gift card, you get the entertainment book for free. We’ll definitely use $35 of pizza per year, and we do occasionally use coupons from the coupon book, so it works out well for us.

  8. I typically wait a few months into the year and then they tend to get blown out for cheap. Bought one through a “Headline Deals” link last month for $12 and free shipping. Used a free entree coupon last night worth $15. Many times the places are a little too far to travel simply for a discount on a meal but it gives us a chance to try venues that are in the area that we normally would not patron due to cost or familiarity.

  9. I don’t like buying them because we usually don’t use them enough and then we are more restricted in our choices about eating out, etc.

  10. These are one of the many ways the school tries to make money – they try to guilt the parents into buying at least one by sending the book home one day (demanding that it be brought back or paid for the next).

    I looked through it and found a number of decent coupons – probably enough to make back the cost. That said, having coupon books like that puts an unnecessary level of stress on our decisions – and that isn’t worth the money saved for me. Also, many of the coupons we could use are for places we really don’t have interest in going to (I /could/ eat at Subway and use the coupon, but I don’t /want/ to).

    So I pass.

  11. I have bought them when they were a fundraiser for the school or high school band, that sort of thing. I usually save enough to cover the purchase and a bit more, but like many of the commenters here, I usually find out after the fact that there was a coupon I could have used, which makes them frustrating. That’s probably why I never buy one without some motive behind it.

    We may buy one for our Hawaii trip this summer, though.

  12. Have bought them in the past. Usually there is a good discount on one of the restaurants we frequent and the discount pays for the book. However, there are not enough quality restaurants. Most of the coupons seems to be for 2nd or 3rd tier restaurants in our area. Probably why they are in the book. With everything that is online and the coupons we get in flyers in the mail, they just don’t seem worth the time and effort.

  13. I to have purchased them a few times as fundraiser items the main issue here is also that we don’t use the coupons because we don’t know they are there or forget to present them which is a major problem i have with all coupons.

  14. I bought it in the past and it was worth the value. It was able to find a few gems using these coupons. However, I haven’t purchase it lately since we haven’t been dining out as much.

  15. I bought some this year (2 for myself, two for gifts) through ebates when ebates was kicking back a huge percentage. The total ended up about $15 each in December… And mine has $20 off grocery and $20 off drug store purchases at the two drug and grocery stores I go to the most.

    What I have found as the best method is to cut out the time sensitive coupons and store them in my wallet. I also cut out the coupons I am most likely to use in the general course of things (restaurants that I go to somewhat frequently or might want to try out, etc.) and I store them in my car.

  16. I purchase one every year. Usually it will pay for itself after a couple outings. I’ve never had problems with retailers taking the coupons, and find most of the coupons to be very good. I did run into a problem with one business shutting down the day I planned to use their BOGO coupon, though :(. They knew I was coming!

  17. EDIT: Apparently, it was through a different company than the one linked to here :-\

  18. We’ve found the key to getting your money’s worth is to keep the coupon book in our car. We’ve more than covered the cost of the book each year just by checking what was in it before any meals out or purchases.

  19. It’s worth it if you are a couple or frequently do things with others. Most of the coupons are buy one get one which is not often very useful for a single.

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