When I was a lot younger, my parents would always buy the Entertainment Book and carry it around with us no matter where we went; dinner, theme parks, movie theater, you name it…if we went there, that damn book was in my mom’s bag. It was terribly embarrassing to have my mom or dad take that book out and lay that coupon on the table asking for some percentage off the bill. I have no idea WHY it was embarrassing, but then again I don’t know why getting my picture taken at that age was so terrible either. Now that I am older and, ahem, wiser, I have seen the value in that big book and we buy it every year. Granted, we don’t carry it around with us and pull coupons out like madmen, but rather we look through it and pull out the stuff we know we will use right away, and then go back to it once in a while to look for other uses. Here are some ways that the book saves us a ton of money over the year.
First of all, I always wait for the book to go on sale. For this year, I paid $16 and no shipping charges for the book, which is about half of the regular price. The price always drops after the year starts, so it is usually best to wait until after January 1 to buy the book.
Movie tickets are a lot cheaper when you buy them ahead of time through the book. Here in Los Angeles, movies are normally $10-$12 per seat at night and on weekends, the only time when the two of us can go. By buying tickets ahead of time with this discount, we save between $4-$6 per ticket. Since we probably go to about 6 movies a year at a minimum, this saves us at least $50 over the regular price.
Two of our favorite restaurants here in town have coupons in the book each year for 10 – 15% off each meal. These coupons can be used several times, so say we go to 12 meals a year and the average cost is $50 for both of us…that is a savings of at least $60 per year if not more. There are also many coupons that offer buy one get one free meals, which we take advantage of as well. Seeing as how meals can cost $15-$20 each there, this probably saves us $40 each year.
Although we don’t normally shop there, the big grocery store in town has coupons in the book good for $5 off a $50 grocery bill. Used just a few times, it usually saves us $15 or so on things we would normally buy there anyway.
Our airline of choice, American Airlines, offers 5% off any fare worldwide with the use of their coupon. Since ticket prices are always going up and our families live far away, this saves us a minimum of about $30 every year.
Just the few things above save us about $200 per year, and these are things we would have been spending our money on anyways with or without the book. There are a lot of other ones we use as well for hotels and car rentals, which save us even more. And just in case you think I am schilling for them, I am not and I have no affiliation with them. I just really like getting the book each year and figured I would pass on some info to you in case you ever thought about it. Whatever you do, don’t become like my parents and carry the book around with you. No matter how much extra that could save you, save your kids the embarrassment!