Sunday, October 31, 2010

Coupon Queen

I've been buying Entertainment coupon books for years.  It started when the boys sold them as a fundraiser when they were in Cub Scouts.  When they "graduated" to Boy Scouts and stopped selling them, I relied on younger siblings of their friends or neighborhood youngsters. Now that those kids have gotten too old,  I get one each year from someone at work selling them on behalf of their children.

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..
I didn't do a great job of cleaning up after myself as the weekend went along, and by tonight the counter top was cluttered with more bags, paper napkins, and carryout containers than I'd seen in quite some time.  I tore the paper products into small pieces and added them to the compost pile, tossed anything recyclable into the bin, and threw the rest in the trashcan. Very easy!


  1. I used to like those Entertainment books, but the Hawaii ones weren't quite as good last year. I wonder if it's improved this year.

  2. I love a bargain - Aggie and I have coupon dinners quiet often!

  3. We got these every year before we had kids and when we had just one, but now we find that we just don't go out as much so we don't buy them any more. But they were an awesome deal when we used them regularly!

  4. I haven't bought one of those in ages. A very good idea though Kathy. Good coupons you have there. :)

    BTw, Kathy, very excited to see you are coming to the xmas tea this year. more details up now on my travel planner, so to speak. :)

  5. I love it when I remember to use my coupons,especially the ones where the whole item is FREE.

  6. I have been cooking for myself while Terry is back in Fresno, but I too am not good at cleaning. I put everything in the the dishwasher and run it, but I know the sink and counters are not as immaculate as Terry gets them. Oh, and then there is the garbage. I forget to take it to the shoot every night.