The book is a great deal. I usually recoup my investment within the first month, and then we use it to find and try out restaurants we haven't been to before. Each year I only redeem a small percentage of the coupons, most of which expire on November 1st. Every October I try to see how many I can use up before I have to toss the book; the last week of the month is always a mad frenzy of couponing. This year was no exception.
Most of the Entertainment coupons are of the "buy one item, get one free" variety. Since Tony's out of town right now, those weren't particularly useful for me. Last week I looked carefully through the book and pulled out a handful of coupons that offered completely free items or a specific dollar amount off an order, and used them to eat (and drink) cheaply all weekend:
- Thursday on the way home from work I used a coupon for a free iced coffee at McDonald's. Attached to the cup were two Monopoly game pieces. One of the pieces was for a free large beef sandwich!
- Friday for lunch I went back to a McDonald's to get my free sandwich. The weather was beautiful, so I got the burger to go and ate in my car while I listened to the radio. Instead of buying fattening fries, I paired the sandwich with some healthy carrot sticks I'd brought from home, and finished off the meal with an apple.
- After McDonald's I went to the mall to do some shopping. While I was there I followed my nose to Auntie Anne’s, where I turned in my coupon for a free pretzel. (I shared the store's BOGO coupon with the woman behind me in line, who seemed thrilled.)
- It was hours before dinnertime, but I didn't want to go out again during rush hour, so on my way home from the mall, I stopped at Bandana's BBQ. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich which came with one side item--I chose potato salad, and asked for the bun to be wrapped separately from the meat, so I could heat later. After subtracting my $5.00 coupon, my meal cost $1.89. When it was time to eat, I put the parts of the sandwich together, squirted on BBQ sauce from the package they'd provided, and paired it with green pepper chunks and some frozen grapes for dessert.
- Today I used my last two coupons. I got a grilled chicken sandwich with fries at Cecil Whittaker’s (which cost just under $2.00), and a free cup of hot coffee at McDonald's. I brought both home, arranged the food on a plate, then added the rest of Friday's green pepper and a glass of chocolate milk. I finished the meal with a pear...but saved the cup of coffee later in the afternoon when I needed a caffeine fix..