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Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Foodies Coupon Guide for Omaha

posted by snekse
I'm a cheap bastard.

I'm such a cheap bastard, I have not one, but three different kinds of coupon books for Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO) coupons. And I use the hell out of them. They're great though, and I think every serious foodie should have at least one. It allows you to save money on your everyday dining so you can afford to go to the more expensive places more often or eat at those prohibitively expensive restaurants that you've always wanted to try.

So this is my Christmas present to you: "A Foodies Coupon Guide for Omaha" (because I'm too cheap to buy you something nice).

Below I have listed several coupon books available in the area, their suggested retail price (MSRP), the price range you might expect to pay, as well as some Pros, Cons, and additional thoughts on why you might or might not want to purchase each set of coupons. Enjoy!

A Foodies Coupon Guide for Omaha

The Entertainment Book
MSRP: $32 Discounted Price: $22-27

The ubiquitous coupon book sold around the nation. Offers discounts for almost every family restaurant in town from Arby's to Olive Garden. Non-franchise places are included as well, though most of the better discounts are only available through the website when you register your book.

  • A bazillion coupons for a bazillion places
  • Even more coupons are available through their website
  • Includes coupons for things other than food and for areas well outside of the Omaha area
  • Most coupons can be used as BOGO or 50% off a single item Unfortunately this is no longer true for the Omaha book. Almost all discounts are solely BOGO coupons.
  • Almost all coupons are limited to restaurants below the Upscale Casual tier
  • The range of coupons means you're paying for a lot of things you'll never use
  • You have to drag that dang book around (Coupons vs. Discount Card)
  • The cheaper restaurants makes getting your money's worth more difficult
  • Finding a coupon for a specific place or area can be difficult at times
This is the best option if you often dine alone since it's the only one that offers 50% off coupons. I also think it's the best for families since there are coupons for so many different places. Most places offer unlimited 10-20% off coupons through the website so you may never pay full price for a meal again.

Omaha Originals Dining Club Card
MSRP: $30 Discounted Price: $25-30

A truly cool and unique card. This card entitles you to BOGO offers for what I consider some of the best places in Omaha. Each of the locations is a locally owned restaurant that started in the area. No Cheesecake Factory here.

  • Some of the best restaurants in town
  • Features restaurants that rarely offer discounts
  • Words like "Not to exceed $30" - now that's a BOGO!
  • Seriously, check out their restaurant list
  • Heavy restrictions including blackout days
  • Each restaurant has different restrictions
  • No repeat usage
  • Flimsy card stock, so card is easily damaged
    The 2007 cards are printed on a laminated heavy card stock.
  • Many restaurants are located east of I-680 (That's a con for me at least)
  • Darwin isn't on here :-)
One of the best values *if* you have the ability to eat at a sit down restaurant midweek. Best for couples with jobs that have empty cubicles at 5:00 (or retired couples). If there's a list of restaurants that you always hear people talk about, wanted to try, but you just haven't had a chance to try them yet, chances are, this card has at least 2 of those restaurants on it.

The Omaha Prime Card
MSRP: $20 Discounted Price: $10-20

A "fund raiser" card with more places on it than a typical card sold for fund raisers, but just barely more useful.

  • Great for lunch with a co-worker or a quick dinner option
  • Can be used for a BOGO up to 20 times at most locations
  • Poor training means you'll usually get more than 20 uses at each location
  • Weak restaurant list - mostly fast food
  • More than a few offers are NOT Buy One, Get One
  • Many of their discounts are offered for free on the back of grocery receipts
  • The disproportionate amount of coupons for coffee/smoothie/frozen dessert places
  • The non-food discounts are worthless for the most part
Not a great card, but if you can pick one up for $10, you probably get your money's worth very quickly. I use it a lot because my wife and I often get stuck at the office and don't feel like cooking when we get home. Burritos or sandwiches work well in a pinch. The "fund raising" aspect of this card seems a bit questionable to me though.

** UPDATE **
Have a couple more to add to the list that you might want to check out.

Omaha Dining Deals
Omaha Dining Deals strives to provide our visitors with the most complete information about dining discounts in the Omaha, Nebraska area. You can find a range of specials on this site including daily promotions offered by restaurants to availability of coupons and where to find them. This is a free, user supported site.

Neofill offers 50% off coupons for Omaha restaurants, but their selection is limited. Still worth a look.

Part of COUPONS LIMITED, LLC. Limited selection, but worth a look.

Spartan Coupons have a decent selection of coupons that are free and printable. They also publish a free coupon book distributed through local stores.

So there you go, a frugal foodie guide to eating cheap in Omaha. Here are some parting tips to get you in the penny pinching mood.
  • Don't forget to check the back of your grocery receipts. The food coupons on those have gotten much better over the past year or two.
  • Sign up for email lists at your favorite restaurants. They'll often send you special offers and coupons.
  • Next time you go to Starbucks, instead of your $4.00 coffee, order a Ghetto Latte.

If you're just looking for more coupons in general, or some free sample offers, be sure to check out some of these sites as well:

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