Chinook Book Bay Area: Is it worth it? - 510 Families

Chinook Book Bay Area: Is it worth it?

I'm a little too lazy and disorganized to use coupons on a regular basis. Factor in that you have to pay $20 for the Chinook Book (or $25 if you combine the paper with the app; $15 for just the app) before seeing any savings and it must be pretty terrific before I'll take a chance. While I've come to love it, I have to offer up some tips and caveats before recommending it wholeheartedly to you.

Chinook Book - Bay Area

 

Celebrating what's hecka fine about the Bay Area and offering incentive to make small positive choices, the Chinook Book (Bay Area edition) is stuffed with community coupons for places you already want to go, places you want to try, and products that are worth buying.

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In order to make it worth it for yourself, here are my tips:

  1. The first trick is to buy it for FREE or almost free. If you pick up a copy at the Alameda Natural Grocery ($10 off), Piedmont Grocery ($10 off), Urban Ore ($20 off), or Earthsake ($50 off purchase of $250) you can use the coupon for the merchant while purchasing the book itself. Alternatively, many schools, preschools and great local organizations are selling these books as a fundraiser. Good for you if you can support one.
  2. Next, make it your mission to pick out a bunch of fun activities to tackle such as Ashkenaz (2 for 1 admission); Shawl-Anderson (one free dance lesson); Brushstrokes ($10 off a glass fusing or mosaic project); Fairyland ($1 off admission for everyone in your party up to 8 people), Sticky Art Lab ($10 off a session of day camp or family workshop), and on and on!. Keep the coupons in your purse or car where you can't forget them.
  3. Finally, schedule ONE BIG SHOP. Yes, coupon-fearers, it's time for you to be the annoying person with all the coupons at the grocery store. Choose the products you already buy (butter, milk, yogurt, bread) and sprinkle in some special treats (coffee, chocolate, tea, organic ice cream) and get it out of the way!

If you do these three things only, you will definitely get your money's worth from the Chinook Book. I like to record my savings in the front cover (like a huge nerd) and see if/when I break even before deciding to do it again the following year. If you have stamina and memory to continue your way through the book, more power to you!

The Chinook Book App

As of this time, my tech-savvy partner-in-crime Whitney uses only the app version, and she's a big fan. Without having to lug around the big honking paper book, you can be notified of money-saving opportunities in real time. Whoa. For my money, I'm doing both.

Hesitant? Download the app for free so that you can browse the offers. Then if you want to be able to redeem the coupons, you can pay $15 for one year of access.

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When you are in a store, you can check the app and the Nearby category will let you know if there are coupons in that store. Whitney has set Monterey Market to be her preferred grocery store, so those coupons are surfaced at the top level, for example $4 off your purchase of $25 or more on Tue, Wed and Thu.

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There is a My Savings tab on the app that will keep a running tally of your savings to help you decide if you want to renew the app in the future.

In the next few months, be warned, if you see me in line at the Berkeley Bowl, you ought choose another line. I'm gonna be using coupons like a fiend, my friend.

{I might even have to sell some for a school fundraiser, but as of this writing, all opinions are my own}

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10 thoughts on “Chinook Book Bay Area: Is it worth it?”

  1. Thanks for the great write up Heather! We are so glad to have you as a reader and coupon user. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!!

    Enjoy!

  2. Thanks for the write up. However, you never mentioned what the retail price of the coupon book is, that’s important to me (I eventually figured it out by go to one of the links in your article). Also, since I have never heard of this coupon book before, it would be helpful if you explain the geographic area covered in this book. I’m from the Hayward region. For some people, the East Bay is mainly Berkeley and Oakland. Therefore, this distinction is also important. Thanks.

  3. I do think the guide is particularly Berkeley/Oakland focused. You can preview who provided coupons in the various sections to see if its worth the drive; this is dining: http://bay.chinookbook.net/east-bay-dining-coupons/

    Sorry… it’s $20 but as I mentioned you can often get it for cheaper (with a coupon or later in the year) or have some of the $$ go toward a local organization doing a fundraiser.

  4. I just picked up my copy at my son’s preschool and absolutely love it. I’m going to be the annoying person at Monterey Market! I bought a copy for my mother in law but I’m thinking of keeping it for myself to use next year and may even buy another.

  5. We love our book too. We’re actually spending this weekend doing a massive coupon-a-thon to use up everything we can before it all expires. (And we write our savings on the cover of the book too. Nerds unite!)

  6. That is all great advice. Thanks! I do like the coupons for yoga classes (currently using one at Ojas Yoga in EC) but I find that a lot of the coupons are for things I don’t want, or are too far away.

  7. One way to help feel like more coupons are getting used is something I’ve done for the past 2-3 years: I pull the coupons for restaurants/shops/ experiences that I’ll never use but are near my colleagues’ homes elsewhere in the East Bay or parts of the city I never make it to. This year was a little late (Sept), but usually I’ve done it in the summer so they have a chance to use them up. They’re happy and I feel like my money spent is paying it forward for someone…

  8. My big payoff for this book is always Pharmaca. One stock up day for vitamins, first aid stuff, shampoo and what not, plus another smaller trip during cold&flu season gets a total of $30 bucks off of $150 I would have spent anyway. Everything else is just gravy (though, as far as gravy goes, Tara’s Ice cream is pretty darned good). Also, the app is irritating, but it means I don’t have to keep the book in my car. And that’s a good thing.

  9. Pingback: Fairyland membership: is it worth it? — 510 Families

  10. Pingback: New in town? 50 things Oakland and Berkeley parents need to know

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