I used to be of the opinion that I do not spend money on coupons. Coupons are to save me money. I have since learned that purchasing the right coupons can save me a lot of money. Here's the pros and cons of the coupon books that I have purchased.
St George Treasure Chest- $45 Coupon value used- $265 (Plus I gave away a couple hundred dollars worth of coupons to friends, neighbors and random strangers.) One day someone called my house and asked if I wanted to buy this coupon book as part of a fundraiser for some foundation for children's safety. (Sorry I can't remember the name of the organization.) The book contained around $1500 worth of coupons. All of the food coupons were Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons, which sets me up to spend money that I didn't plan on spending. But many of them were just for free stuff. We got a month's membership at a local gym, a few car washes, a few oil changes, a carpet cleaning and a few hair cuts. Being new to the area, it was great to refer to. Need a haircut? I'm calling this hairdresser who will do it for free. Of course you still have to tip for services, but she is winning too, because she did a good job and we'll go back to her, whereas I never would have come across her business otherwise. Don't want to make dinner? Let's check out the B1G1 coupons. Other than setting me up to spend money I didn't plan on, another downside is that several of the coupons in the book were for local businesses that had gone out of business. A few others had bad phone numbers. Still others wouldn't even honor the coupons. And of course these coupons can only used in the St George area. I'm really glad that I purchased it, however I was expecting the businesses to be a little more cooperative. This book expired June 1st. I found someone who had bought one a few years ago, so hopefully one will come out soon, but I haven't seen any yet.
Dixie Direct- $35 Coupon value used so far-$75 My husband has a soft spot for marching band, partly because that's where we met, so when one of his high school students asked him to buy this to help him raise money for his marching band trip, of course he said yes. He probably would have bought two if the kid had asked him. This one doesn't have nearly as many "strictly free" coupons. Although it does have many offers for places we go to anyway, and I like that you don't have to take the whole book with you. It comes with a punch card that you keep in your wallet. Most participating businesses advertise that they take the Dixie Direct card and will tell you what their offers are. Not as much bang for buck as the Treasure Chest, but there is a much longer window to use the coupons (six more months). Also it's not nearly as easy to share the coupons you don't plan to use because 90(+)% are on the card and you have to have the card to redeem them. I also liked it because it helped me to get to know what's available locally.
The Entertainment Book 2010-$35 Coupon value redeemed so far- $5. Now this one is normally $35, but as most of the coupons expire in November of this year, it seems that every other week there is a great sale. I actually got 2 for $7.50 each. A week later I saw an even better deal. The beauty of the entertainment book is that there is one for most areas throughout the nation. So if you're planning a vacation this can be very helpful. The one for the state of Utah is called "Utah Happenings". I didn't buy it because it because glancing through the list that was available online, it seemed like most of the coupons were for Northern Utah. (It could be great if you live up there, but not worth it for us southern desert dwellers.) I did buy Chicago Southwest and Las Vegas. I haven't used any for Vegas yet, but we plan on visiting a couple times this summer and I'm certain that I'll get my monies worth there and then some. The problem with the Chicago Entertainment book is that there are actually two, they're both enormous and I think that I picked the wrong one. For someone who is not familiar with any of the businesses inside, it's a little overwhelming. "$1800 worth of coupons" One place we tried had kind of weird hours and had closed 10 minutes before we got there. And then we used one $5 coupon for a burger place. We had planned on using a couple coupons for some museums there in Chicago, but found that it was more cost effective to just buy a city pass. If we were in Chicago for more than 2 days and had someone with us who knew the area, perhaps we could have used more of the coupons that were in it. As it was I gave the book to an acquaintance who lives near there. (Minus a few coupons that I gave to random strangers, because let's be real, I won't be back before November.)