Coupons for a Price: Deal or No Deal?
I'll be honest here. I've never really understood the lure of coupons. I've tried using them but I only last a few shopping trips and then I give up. To me it doesn't seem worth the 25 cents in savings or the fact that you have to buy more of what you normally do to take advantage of a few cents off. Plus I have yet to find an easy way to organize them so that I remember which coupons I have and when they expire.
So I was intrigued by Entertainment Book, a thick $30 book of hundreds of coupons at restaurants, Web sites, retail stores and service firms. I thought that since I was paying for the coupons, they'd be a bit more substantial than what you find in the Sunday newspaper. In Entertainment Book, which has been around since 1962, you'll find everything from 20 percent off Brookstone merchandise to rent one Blockbuster video and get the second free. Entertainment Book makes them specific to the area you live in so the Washington one is filled with coupons for local restaurants and stores. And you have one year to use all the coupons.
The face value of these coupons is a bit more, giving users discounts like 20 percent off or buy one, get one free. But the book is only worth the investment if you're a regular shopper at some of the stores listed in it. I don't shop at half the stores listed in the book. In fact I don't shop at 75 percent of them.
I've used the Blockbuster coupon as well as a discount on a nice gift basket I sent to a friend who got married. I was really excited to use the Robeks coupon, worth $5 toward a purchase at the smoothie store, but I was stopped dead in my tracks when a notice was posted near the cash register at the Shirlington location, stating the coupon was not authorized to be included in the book and therefore wouldn't be accepted in the store. Bummer! Other than a handful of other coupons I plan to use before the end of this year, the book seems useless to me. Once again I think coupons, even ones you pay for, make you spend money on things you normally don't buy.
Are there any fee-based coupons out there worth the fee? How have you used Entertainment Book and what are your tips for getting the most out of the book?
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