Disclaimer: This post is more opinion-based rather than statements that I am substantiating with any hard facts/figures. I’m also not discussing this from a fund raising point of view, which is fundamentally how Entertainment Books are sold.
Is the Entertainment Book Worth It?
In short, I would say it is probably worth it for most people, yes.
For the most part, the Entertainment Book represents fantastic value. You could possibly eat out and use only two vouchers from the book and you might arguably have saved enough to breakeven.. then you’ve still got all the other hundreds of vouchers in the book which you haven’t used yet!
My approach changed a few years ago.
Over the last few years, I decided it wasn’t worth buying the $65-70 book for a few key reasons:
- I personally used to buy these to gain access to 5% off Woolworths Gift Cards as the primary reason. Gaining access to these discounted Gift Cards is no longer limited to Entertainment Book members as these can now be acquired through Cashrewards (which is free to register).
- I found I had a tendency to rush to try and use up as many vouchers as possible in the lead up to expiry (June 1 of every year). This would lead me to “spend money to save money” (which is precisely how you do not save money!)
- Whilst this is more a psychological problem more than anything, as rationally there is no need to do so, this is my own personal way of “managing the problem” – by simply choosing not to buy the book.
- This is unlike when purchasing Groupons/Scoopons, whereby you generally buy them one at a time
- I got a slight feeling of being “locked in” to eating at only the restaurants in the Entertainment Book if I wanted a discount
- Again, absolutely a psychological problem
- There used to be no digital version of the Entertainment Book, so this required you to physically have the voucher to be able to use it. I’d never have the book on me so I always found I’d miss out on opportunities to use it because it would be impractical to carry the book around.
- This issue has now effectively been nullified by the release of the digital app version of the app ~2 years ago
- Many of the vouchers can only be used at more expensive restaurants. This would be comparatively more expensive to when I would ordinarily eat out and pay less than $15 per person
- The relevance of this issue is really dependent on your usual eating habits. I have a tendency to eat out at cheaper places or lesser known Asian joints which would never be affiliated with the Entertainment Book
- The recent release of Chinese-centric apps 留学包 (Studentpal) [Android)/iOS], HarkHark [Android/iOS] which I sometimes use to get dining discounts at “lesser known Asian joints” that I referred to above
- These apps are primarily in Chinese (Studentpal is basically 95% Chinese) so are relatively difficult, or almost impossible to use unless you can read Chinese
- In the case of HarkHark, they have an English version of the app, but the English version does not have the same level of content as the Chinese version. Most importantly, a recent deal I saw was only available on the Chinese version of the app and not on the English version!
- I felt there were generally enough food deals throughout the year to not feel the need to have the Entertainment Book. This could be due to a combination of the following reasons:
- Dimmi 50% off deals
- Dimmi spend $50 get $20 off AMEX deals
- Dimmi – make a booking get 10k points (equivalent to $20 Dimmi Voucher)
- Birthday Deals
- Restaurants running their own promotions. Remember Grill’d and their daily free burgers?
- AMEX Statement Deals
- AMEX Shop Small – An annual promotion run by AMEX which includes many merchants including many restaurants
- The Entertainment Book for free (albeit for a limited period of time)
- Important to note that I’ve only ever seen this come up twice (and it was for the same period)
Putting all these reasons above together, I could no longer justify a one-off $65-70 purchase as I did not feel I would realistically be able to save this money.
Keep in mind, some of the promotions referred to above can actually be stacked with the Entertainment Book. At the end of the day, AMEX is just a payment method so it is definitely possible to double dip for some of the promotions!
However, depending on where in Australia you live, you might find that you don’t get many of these offers around you. I’m fortunate enough to live in Sydney where something’s always happening and there are lots of restaurants fighting for your patronage. I’d imagine if you find yourself lacking many of these offers, you probably might find you would be lacking access to many of the Entertainment Book Vouchers too though.
Funnily enough, there is actually a current promotion with the Entertainment Book which might make it a little more worthwhile and I’m personally thinking of buying it for the first time in a few years.
The promotion at present is as follows:
- Purchase an Entertainment Book for $35-50, get a $10 WISH eGift Card thrown in for free
- Sydney/Melbourne books cost $50
- You’ll need to get someone who already owns the book to buy it for you as it’s technically for “existing members”
- As the Entertainment Book is quite common, it should not be difficult to find someone with the Entertainment Book. A short Facebook post should suffice.. or you can post a comment here or on our Facebook page to see if anyone is able to share one around? 🙂
- If you already have one, getting a second book can actually be worth it if there are places you frequent all the time. You are also able to stack the gold card discounts. I’ll elaborate on the use of multiple Entertainment Book cards/vouchers in a separate post.
You could see this as making the effective cost of the Sydney/Melbourne Entertainment Books as $40.
If you wanted to get technical, the effective cost is $40.50 ($50 less $9.50, seeing as a $10 WISH eGift Card really costs you $9.50 real dollars)
For $40, the Entertainment Book is probably worth it. Hell, even at $65-70, as I said above, it is probably worth it. I just choose not to buy it because it’s my own way of managing my psychological approach to bargains and deals. I guess it’s down to me to be disciplined about this!
Questions, comments, tips about the Entertainment Book? Feel free to comment and don’t forget to hit subscribe!