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.