Remembe buying coupon books for local businesses and services?

It’s been at least 12 years since I saw discount coupon books for sale.

There were discount coupons for oil changes plumbers, carpet cleaning, housekeeper, yard work etc.

Also coupons for local cafes, dry cleaners, video rental, pizza, fried chicken etc. I don’t remember all of them.

A fat book of discount coupons. I never used all of them. You still saved money if you used even half in a year.

Has anyone seen coupon books for sale? Are you in a city or small town?

They were usually sold by chamber of commerce or another community group. Maybe a charity?

I suspect that a lot of the sorts of coupons that used to be in those books have migrated to online and mobile apps, like Groupon and LivingSocial.

Decades ago, I used to buy the Entertainment coupon book (which, as you describe, was a big fat book with coupons for tons of businesses). I haven’t seen an Entertainment book in years, but I now see that they’re still around – and that, while they apparently still print books, they also have a mobile app.

I vaguely remember local news complaints of coupons being refused.

$5 off carpet cleaning. Doesn’t sound like much. Times 20,000 books is 100k. That’s a lot for a small business.

They may estimate half of the coupons will be redeemed. More than that and it could be a big problem. Especially if costs increase and the markup for each job increases.

They can’t refuse coupons but certainly try to get out of the commitment.

It wasn’t a big problem, but I do remember it happening towards the end of the calendar year.

If the businesses are doing it right, they’ll still make a profit on each sale, even with the coupons. If that carpet company honored 20,000 coupons, they wouldn’t be complaining that the coupons cost them $100,000 dollars; they’d be rejoicing that they got 20,000 customers.

You might also print a coupon that means a loss for you, if you expect that it’ll get people to come to your store and like it, and maybe buy more things on the same trip, and come back again. Though obviously this won’t work for things that people buy only once a year (by which time the new book has come out).

Coupons are a form of price discrimination, which is a good thing. Suppose that I’m selling a widget that costs me $2 each to make. If I sell them for $2.50, a lot of people will be willing to buy them, but I’ll make only a small profit on each one. If I sell them for $10, fewer people will buy them, but I’ll make a bigger profit on each one. Ideally, what I’d like to do is to sell them for $10 to everyone who’s willing to spend $10 on them, and sell them for $5 for people willing to pay that, all the way down to the people who are only willing to spend $2.01 for them. Perfect price discrimination like that isn’t possible, but coupons are one way to approximate it: Some people won’t bother with the coupons, but some people will. Haggling is another means to the same end, but it takes up the salesman’s time, so it’s only worthwhile when the price is above some point (like a car or a house), or when the salesman isn’t very busy.

I remember being pretty satisfied with the coupon books. There were always a coupons for things we didn’t need or use. Overall I felt we got our money’s worth. I can’t remember now why we stopped buying them. They may have stopped selling the books locally. The local connection to our community made them interesting.

I’m curious how others remember coupon books.

I wouldn’t be interested in Coupon Apps today. There’s only 2 in my house now and we’d never buy enough.

I can’t imagine paying for coupons. I don’t know if it’s the same thing you’re talking about, but I get an unsolicited brochure in the mail about once a month (for free), with coupons for local things, and even then, I have never–NEVER–found a coupon for any product or business in that thing that I have ever been even remotely interested in. If a coupon induces me to buy something that I otherwise don’t want or need, then I’m not saving money, but losing it.

Those books aren’t for everyone. But for some of us they were great!

The book I used to buy was $24. But one of the sponsors was a local gas station. They had 12 coupons in it, each got you $2 worth of free gasoline every month. I used that station all the time anyway so the book was basically free.

It also had a huge rebate for hotel rooms. The rebate was available regardless of where you made your hotel reservation from (travel site, hotel itself, etc) and included hotels all over the country. The more days you stayed at a hotel, the larger the per day rebate was.
We stayed at the Grand in Minneapolis once for 5 days. We reserved the room on for a total (including tax) of $792. But we got a $480 rebate!

I miss those books. I never see them around here any more.

Some restrictions apply. Coupon valid Wednesdays from 11:15-11:45 am. Not valid in Alaska or Hawaii.

They are meant as a fundraiser so their worth isn’t the issue, it’s what they’re going for that matters I suppose.

They tried to sell them as a school fundraiser one year in my district and never again. I don’t think they sold well, especially at 25 bucks. Now though it’s worse. 17 bucks for a tub of cookie dough. Raw cookie dough. They say it’s “up to 3 dozen” which I’m betting is closer to 1.5. I know the point is to donate and the dough is supposed to be a reward but god nobody is buying this stuff and my kid has to sell 25 to pay for the school choir trip at the end of the year. If he doesn’t sell, he can’t go. With me being a home worker I will never be able to push these on anyone.

These still exist, at least in Chicago. Not a book of coupons, but a deck of 52 cards, each for $10 off a particular restaurant. Link.

My girlfriend and I buy a box every year, and at $30 a box we break even if we go to three restaurants in a year. We tend to go to one per month. And while $10 only covers drinks or an appetizer at most of these places, we end up trying restaurants we wouldn’t otherwise try, including in neighborhoods we otherwise wouldn’t have occasion to go. I’d say we haven’t been disappointed yet, but one place had very good food but sloooooow service – on a night we had theater tickets. :dubious: Didn’t dissuade us from buying another box. :slight_smile:

Our town’s hockey association has been selling them forever as a fundraiser. I bought them from when my son started playing hockey at the age of 5 until he started playing high school hockey. His son is now playing so I buy one from him. They’re great. Mostly BOGO. Buy a large pizza, get a large pizza free - that kind of thing. They cost $10 and with just using the pizza coupon you more than make up the cost. Most of the area restaurants have at least one coupon in there, even the fast food places. The trick is, is to remember to use it!

I haven’t seen Entertainment Books around here for years, but I think I have seen people asking on local Facebook groups if anyone had an extra such-and-such coupon from the Entertainment book so they must still be sold somewhere local.

Now our community’s equivalent are “Band Cards” and “Football Cards” - credit-card-sized cards with printed discounts from 10-12 local restaurants and services (such as car washes) that you present for a discount. You can use them as many times as you want for the year, just show the card and you get your discount. They’re only $10, and sold by the HS band and football teams (hence the names) and the price makes it really easy to get your money’s worth each time you buy one.

I remember them well, since I just bought one last week from the local high school football team! I should easily be able to get more value from the coupons than the booklet costs since most are for businesses that I use anyway.

I bought one once years and years ago…and didn’t use a single coupon. It was a fundraiser, so that’s one good thing, but I never bought another book.

I’ve only ever seen them as fundraisers. Maybe some people did get their money’s worth, but I think most just wanted to support the local youth sportsball team and at best made back some of the money they spent.

The problem with these brochures is that almost all the coupons are for home repair (chimney repair, air conditioners, carpet cleaning, etc.) Since I live in a condo, I don’t have to worry about hiring my own person for foundation repair, and I can clean my own damn carpets if they need cleaning. I’d much prefer to get coupons for restaurants in my area, but I never see those.

At least one local shopping district mails out a coupon book every quarter, coupons in this book are also sweepstakes entry forms.

I used to have people selling coupon sheets for Pizza Hut showing up at my door; some really good deals on those sheets. Likely a fundraiser thing as mentioned in Post #16.

There’s one of these in Santa Barbara called Axxess. It used to be a credit-card sized card with a grid of numbers that would get holes punched in them as you used them up. This year (and I assume going forward), it’s a smartphone app.

The app really sucked at first, but it has gotten better. It is nice to have one less thing to carry in my wallet (and since you can buy multiple copies on one app account, less juggling of multiple cards).

We buy a few each year and it’s a good deal for us. They cost $40 and include a number of Buy One Get One and 50% off deals at restaurants that we go to. I figure we save $8-10 on each thing we use, and there are about 15 or 20 places that we like to eat on there. We don’t always use all of them, but the cards definitely pay for themselves for us.

I have noticed that there are a few businesses that are always in it, but there’s a lot of churn among restaurants. I conclude from this that it’s not a very good deal for most restaurants long term. New restaurants tend to have a deal the first year or two, then get rid of it.

Many athletic programs in schools in small towns now sell discount cards (and I suspect some have apps) instead of coupon books. Show your card at participating merchants and get a discount. If the schools in the big city we live in now do that, I haven’t been asked to buy one yet.

One card has to be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a coupon book.