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?
rich @richlikeyou.comq says
I have purchased several entertainment books over the years. I have paid anywhere between $5 and the full price of $30 for my area.
I am not really into fast food so generally skip over those (there are a ton of thos coupons in my area).
I find the best coupons in the book to be the numerous buy 1 get 1 free greens fees for goldf courses. MY friends and I will use these and save $20-$50 on a game of golf.
We have a lot of other good coupons too, for good casual restraunts that my wife and I like to eat at. We will use these coupons if we can get away for date night.
Thanks for bringing them up, I haven’t purchased on for this year and they are on sale for $12.50 right now. IT also looks like they have raised the price to $25 for my area. :-(regular
Wojciech Kulicki says
Thanks for the great advice. Earlier this year, I considered getting one of these for myself, but wasn’t sure that it would pay off in the end, and if it would make me tend to eat out more. I’m still curious to try it, but may wait until the 2010 version comes out.
Thanks for this info! I saw the entertainment book at my local walgreens the other day and considered picking it up. I never remember to use coupons though, so I’m not sure it would be a good idea for me. Your post has inspired me to at least look through what coupons are in it… being as it was on sale for $20. Not bad, if I’ll use it and get savings.
I usually don’t buy books like this because I don’t eat out enough. I do use restaurants.com because its a la carte and I buy one or two during their (frequent) sales.
I like the idea of pulling coupons to places you already would most likely end up at. I never thought to do that! My one problem with the entertainment book is that I always forget that I have it until after the fact. Then I get home, check to see if there was a coupon I could use, and of course find that I could have saved a good amount of money.
This year i also had the delima of the fact that my DBF lives in the Baltimore area and I live down by DC, thats two different books. Do I purchase both at the now discounted $15 each? or do I purchase just the Baltimore one or just the DC one? Of course I could wait until summer and hope the price drops to $5 and THEN purchase both. I’m such a procrastinator! The latter option is probably the course of action I’m going to take!
Good luck on your own decision for purchasing the Entertainment book! It really is a great thing to have around!
You know, I think your blog is the only blog I actually comment on. Always great advice. I was pleased to discover that the Ithaca one is only 12.50 right now- Yay!
Which brings me to my question (I swear, I’m always asking you for something!). I’m trying to refer a friend to INGDirect, but for the life of me I can’t figure out how to create a referral link. Do you know if that’s still on? Or how to create one? I am truly stumped.
In my experience I usually wound up going to places I wouldn’t have gone otherwise in order to capture those savings you outlined above.
But if you typically go to Coldstone or those other places you mentioned, then it is definitely worth the price.
Guess what I am saying is that it seems to be a very “your mileage may vary” kind of deal!
Wow! Seems I’ve really hit on something by writing about the Entertainment Book this morning! This is great – thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences.
@Lily: You’re not crazy. It seems like they’ve just (within the last few days) either removed it, or moved it somewhere that I can’t find it. I’ll get back to you on this!
@Lily: Found it! Log into your account, and click on one of your accounts views (if you have more than one) so that you’re looking at your transactions. At the bottom of the page, there should be a blue button that says “Earn $$$ Refer a Friend”
If only you had posted this yesterday! Cashbaq had a one-day-only deal yesterday that gave you a $10 rebate for purchasing the Entertainment book (at $12.50 + $2.79 shipping), plus a $5 rebate for signing up with Cashbaq.
I got my book for 29 cents (once the rebate arrives)!
Our version has 2 sets of 4 $5 off coupons for two grocery store chains. One store I don’t live by, so I gave to my Mom. $20 off groceries covers the cost of the book, which we can find for $20.
Thanks. I’m talking my boyfriend into ordering one for us!
Rich @ richlikeyou.com says
ok I found a place to get $6 back on these earler today. http://www.ebates.com is a cashback site. for me its $12.50-6 so It would be almsot 75% off.
If you dont have an account at ebates and sign up will you use me as a referral, if stephanie doesnt mind. my email is richlikeyou@ domain domain=gmail.com
@Rich – It’s cool, I don’t have an ebates account, so I don’t have a referral to give! My boyfriend does, though. I’m pretty sure he has only used it to buy last year’s Entertainment Book! heehee
I love the entertainment book as we eat out a lot. I have a question, not the most ethical thing I’ve thought of, but, suppose you are going to another location, do you think you could use your card (I believe they all look the same) at one of the better restraurants in the front of the book in the other area? Obviously you would have to take a look at a book somewhere to see what restaurants were listed, but it could save some money while traveling if it’s possible.
I don’t know, I’ve tried the entertainment book because my parents used to swear by it. But it seems like you can do better getting online coupons.
Have not ever purchased one but am now interested in checking it out.
We use the magic card and the entertainment guide. We also live here in San Antonio and there is a website (www.5dollardining.com) that has different meals for 5 bucks.
Anon @ Certify says
Wow, this can really make a great savings. I think travelers should have this to minimize their travel expenses. Nice recommendation.
I agree that those coupon books are a great way to save money. Here in Seattle we have the “Chinook Book” also which is a book of coupons from environmentally friendly companies.