The Entertainment Book is a region-specific coupon book sold throughout the country. It’s often sold as a part of a fundraiser, where you pay a bit more for the book, but the proceeds go to the school or charity you bought it from.
In July of 2008, my boyfriend ordered the 2008 Entertainment Book for us, and his roommates. We got a super deal – it ended up being like $5, including shipping. I know our savings added up to more than the $5 cost, but now we’re wondering – should we order the 2009 Entertainment Book now, at its higher early-year cost?
Factors to Consider
First of all, we won’t be in the Rochester area all year. The boyfriend is looking at jobs down near DC, and I’m looking at internships all across the northeast. So we’d have to be sure that we’d “earn our money back” by July.
Another question is, “Did we spend more last year because of the Entertainment Book?” Did we go to places we never would have, if it weren’t for the book? Did we overeat or overspend, because of the coupons? I believe the answer is, for us, no. We stuck to our usual ritual of eating out once per week, and we didn’t go out for entertainment more than usual.
The last factor is, of course, how much did we save last year? I wish we’d kept a log of the coupons we used, so that I could offer up 100% accurate statistics (and also, I’m a data junkie). But we didn’t. All I can go by is the expired 2008 Entertainment Book that’s in my hand, and add up the value of the missing coupons.
How Much We Saved in 2008
There were a total of five people taking coupons from our coupon book. Sharing with friends, relatives, and housemates can severely stretch the savings of the Entertainment Book, so I highly recommend sharing.
Here are the coupons that we used between July and November 1st, 2008:
Wild Noodles: Buy one entree, get a second free (BOGO). Estimated savings: ~$7.00
Chinese restaurant BOGO entree: ~$6.00
Three hamburger joint BOGOs: ~$12.00
Three pizza place coupons: ~$18.00
Moe’s Southwest grill: (no idea, roommate used it) Guess: >$3.00
Coldstone Creamery BOGO: ~$5.00
Two BOGO rounds of miniature golf: ~$6.00
Buy $10 in arcade tokens, get $10 free: $10
Total: about $67
Based on this, I’d say that the book is definitely worth purchasing at its full price of $30, but even better… the Rochester one is now on sale for $15 (plus $2.79 standard shipping). As I flipped through the book just now, I also saw coupons for places that I know we visited during that time span, but forgot to bring the book of coupons with us – there were even more savings to be had!
Tips for Using the Entertainment Book to Save Money
- Books vary widely by area. Check the Entertainment Book website and make sure there are some coupons for places you actually want to go to in your area, before you buy.
- Flip through the book when you first get it, and pull out coupons for places you visit regularly. Keep these with you and make sure you use them!
- Let roommates or friends rifle through the book occasionally, but keep the book in your car most of the time. I can’t tell you how many coupons went unused simply because the book was at home!
- If you have this conversation a lot: “Where do you want to eat?” “I dunno, where do you want to eat?” (Repeat until end of time), then the book may help. If you’re anything like me, it will remind you of places you wanted to check out, or you’ll see super deals that inspire you to try a new place.
- Don’t eat somewhere just because you have a coupon, or because you feel like you should use more of the coupons in the book. Even with these coupons, most restaurants can’t compete with the price of a home-cooked meal.
- Check online for coupons, as well. The Entertainment Book has online coupons, and you should also look on the company website. Use the best coupon you have, regardless of its origin!
Do you use the Entertainment Book? How good is the one in your area? Any tips to share for getting even more bang for your buck out of the book?