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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Coupon Booklets and Savings Cards

Saving Centsably: Coupon booklets and savings cards

From time to time you may be asked to make a purchase of a coupon book or booklet from an organization that is selling them to make money. While many people purchase these coupon books simply to help the organization, they overlook the true value these coupon books can really have.

Enjoy The City is a type of large coupon book available from organizations seeking to raise money. These books full of coupons are produced nationwide and typically focus on metropolitan areas. Each year the coupon book that handles the middle Georgia area focuses on coupons for Macon and Warner Robins, although companies in other surrounding counties might be included.
In addition to being available for purchase from fundraising organizations, this coupon book can also be found from time to time on daily deal buying sites. Remember with these daily deal sites that the more of them you register with, the more deals you will know about. While these books typically cost $20 each, I have seen the Enjoy the City books for as little as $25 for three books on a daily deal site.

So, what type of coupons come in this kind of book? All kinds. From savings on fast food, fine dining, museum admission, attraction discounts and more, there are all kinds of places for you to use coupons found in this type of coupon savings book. I bought three of these books in March. I spent $25 and got free shipping for the three books. Since then, we have saved at least $170 on free pizza, free oil changes, free doughnuts, and buy-one-get-one-free admissions to two museums and to an Atlanta Braves game. That savings was well worth the $25 investment.

Another type of large coupon book available nationwide is the “Entertainment Book.” This book, which is published for about 140 localities, is also available as a fundraiser. You’ve probably been asked to buy one by a band member or other teenager looking to help his or her club raise some extra money. These books run about $35 at the maximum. Throughout the year, there are coupons to help you save on that purchase price. And, as the year progresses and the value of the book begins to decrease, the cost begins to lower, too. The Entertainment Books can also be purchased in many drug stores. Visit a store or the Entertainment Book website (www. entertainment.com) to look into purchasing one.

Many times I have been approached by a group like the Boy Scouts or a teenager in a band asking me to purchase a discount card that offers me savings throughout our community. Honestly, I would rather buy these than purchase an overpriced bucket of cookie dough or popcorn.

The key to making these types of savings cards work for you is to do two things. First, you must be sure this discount card is with you anytime you are shopping. Keep it with your debit card or in your wallet with your checks. Just be sure that when you want to make a purchase with which you could get a discount using the card, that you actually have the card. Another thought is to keep the card with your coupon box or binder, since I’m sure you never leave home without it, either.

The second piece of advice I can offer you is to keep track of the cost of the card or coupon book and compare that with the amount of money you are able to save. Just like I can tell you that I spent $25 but have saved over six times that amount, you should be able to do the same. When the card or coupon booklet expires or you have used all the coupons, you should know whether buying the book again next year is beneficial to your family.

Some businesses also offer savings cards or coupon booklets that are available for purchase at a reduced price when compared to the value of the coupons themselves. The Chick-fil-A calendars available at their locations (and for sale by some charitable organizations) cost $6 but have more than $30 worth of coupons.

Our family buys one calendar for each person in our family - Chick-fil-A is great about allowing coupon stacking and we are able to have a couple of free meals for the whole family during the course of the year. In addition, Chick-fil-A’s coupons never actually expire, so if you have old Chick-fil-A calendars or coupons, don’t throw them out. Add them to your coupon box and use them. Other businesses offer a similar type of coupon booklet, so be on the lookout.

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