Entertainment Book Fiasco

Every year since I became a bonafied adult, I’ve purchased a local Entertainment Book; you know, the glossy, thick publication packed with restaurant coupons, discount admission passes to local museums, and freebies to area businesses. The motivation behind my purchase is twofold; not only do I end up saving money all year long, but I also help out my daughter’s preschool, which sells the Entertainment Book as a fundraiser.

But this year, for whatever reason, I completely forgot to buy the book. No, scratch that, I didn’t actually forget – I merely postponed my annual purchase. Initially, I only planned on postponing it for a few months, until the books went on sale from their usual $25 price tag to just $15; this normally happens after April 1st, which is fine by me, since we don’t do a lot of dining out in the winter months anyway. But as winter turned to spring, I found myself unexpectedly going out of town multiple times to help my father cope with several major health issues. By the time I remembered to buy the Entertainment Book, it was sold out in my area. I thought I was out of luck… until I hit up the Internet.

The Entertainment Book Online

As with just about everything else these days, the Entertainment Book has a massive online presence. Discovering this was like the first time I realized you could print out coupons directly from RedPlum.com or SmartSource.com, instead of buying the local newspaper and clipping coupons.

ALLELUIA!

Becoming a digital subscriber to the Entertainment Book wasn’t free, however. To access all those coveted restaurant coupons, I had to sign up for a one-year membership at a cost of $19.99. In addition to getting access to all the deals available in the book itself, the digital membership also allowed me to search for deals on my computer and – even better – by using Entertainment Book’s mobile app. To me, this was the best part of the whole deal. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have gone to a restaurant, sat down, ordered, only to realize – after the bill came – that I’d had a $15 off coupon sitting inside my Entertainment Book, which just happened to be on my kitchen counter. The mobile app completely alleviates this problem, making the $19.99 well worth the money.

My Favorite Deals

This year’s version of my area’s Entertainment Book has more than $12,600 worth of deals, discounts, coupons, and freebies inside of it. With the exception of a few select offers – like the Great Clips deals for my husband’s haircuts and the BOGO admissions discounts at our local science center – I tend to only use the restaurant coupons. Since purchasing the digital membership, I’ve saved:

  • $10 off at our favorite Mexican restaurant, bringing our bill from $30 down to $20
  • Half off ($4.76) at a local frozen yogurt bar
  • $20 off at a fine dining restaurant downtown, where my best friend celebrated her 40th birthday party

That’s right – I’ve already saved nearly $35 in less than a month, which means I’ve more or less already seen a return on investment.

Better Than The Book?

I have to admit that, so far at least, I like my digital membership better than the actual Entertainment Book. While the restaurant coupons – and everything else – in the book would have expired on January 1, 2013, my digital membership will continue to earn me new discounts for a full 12 months, even though I only bought it a few weeks ago.

The only downside? A portion of my purchase price no longer goes to help my daughter’s school. But you know what? I’m saving so much money with the digital version that I may just cut the school a donation check instead.

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by, nor in any way affiliated with, Entertainment Book. The views expressed in this post are based on my own experiences and opinions.

One Response to Entertainment Book Fiasco

  1. What an enlightening post! I had no idea they had a mobile app; that sounds really convenient.

    There are two things that I can see preventing me from doing this and both of them are on Entertainment’s side to fix:
    1) It should be a piece of cake for them to add a code box to their website so schools and other organizations can get credit.
    2) It’s auto-renewal. That means that unless I add the renewal reminder to my calendar 11 months from now I might not set aside the money in my account for this and end up having to pay NSF (I’m one of those zero-budget people.) IMO, all websites should enable the choice between auto-renew and manual renew.

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