I got an email this morning saying that my auto-renewal of my Entertainment book failed because my credit card number on file had expired. No problem…I called the 1-866 number, spoke to Barbara and I was all set…for $30, I renewed it for another year.
The real question on this is….is a $30 yearly investment worth the price? Do I use enough goods and services from this book to warrant the renewal price? It just so happens that I am a meticulous keeper of records. I file everything–receipts, invoices, and correspondences. And I also keep track of junk like how much I save on coupon books.
Let’s start with the groceries – within the first 2 months of owning my 2009 book, I used two “$5 off $20” Publix coupons, making my net loss at that point $20. Then I used a $5 off coupon at Whole Foods, bringing me to ($15). After that, I discovered that my dry cleaner is an advertiser in the Book, so there is a $10 off coupon for each month of the year. My dry cleaner knows me, so she was able to retroactively use the previous month’s coupons. To date, I have saved $80 by using those coupons. That brings me to +$65. I used a total of six dining establishment coupons, at a printed value of $20 each, adding on another $120 in savings. That brings me to +$185.
Now at this point, one could argue that I would not have dined at these places had I not been influenced by the book…but I disagree! These are places that I was already going to, for birthdays, anniversary dinner or other occasions…so these are clean savings. Moving on, there was a save 15% from ShopNBC.com that I used…for a savings of $4.55. $189.55 saved so far.
I did not use a single fast food coupon – these are typically not that useful, and it is hard to use them since 99% of the fast food clerks cannot understand your order, let alone the coupon. Bowling: $5, Mini Golf: $5. Rental Car…15%…though I don’t believe this saved me anything as the rental car industry is shady…and dishonest as hell. Flowers…yeah, I probably saved about $30 in bogus handling, delivery and preparation fees and vases there.
All in all…I saved well over $200 on things I would have used anyway. I think that the $30 investment has a decent return…it may not be readily apparent…but every dime helps.
Now on to coupons…I have been using grocery coupons from the Sunday Paper for the last 8 months or so…I don’t know why I didn’t use them before…I have saved hundreds using them! The key to coupons is…only use them for things you would buy anyway, or use them if they have free stuff. For example, I was going to buy toilet bowl cleaner the other day…and I found a coupon for a free Mr. Clean Toilet Bowl Cleaning Kit ($7.49 value) when purchasing Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Those types are a no brainer. I also check coupons.com…which often has coupons for dairy items…and other ancillary things I buy.
On average, I save around $18 per grocery trip by using appropriate coupons. It feels good to watch the balance go down before you pay. And it makes me chuckle when people feel that they are too rich, or too good, to use these types of instant savings. I just laugh to myself…and think about the rainy day they will eventually have… 🙂