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Printable Coupon Favor Book for the Kids: Easy Step-by-Step Instructions

December 19, 2011

By Amy Suardi of Frugal Mama

We want to show our children our love on birthdays and holidays. But we don’t want to clutter our houses with more toys, or spend money that should really go into a savings account. A book of coupon favors is a perfect solution.

Even though I vaguely remember favor tickets from my childhood, I was re-introduced to the idea by the Center for a New American Dream, an organization that is redefining the American dream towards “what really matters: creating a meaningful life, contributing to community and society, valuing nature, and spending time with family and friends.”

When I was reading more about the New Dream’s ideas for simplifying and de-commercializing the holidays, I was intrigued that the most memorable family gifts for psychologist Tim Kasser, author of the book and video The High Price of Materialism, are coupons for favors. On Christmas Eve, he and his wife create coupons with colored pencils for things such as:

  • Get to skip fruit or vegetable (and still eat dessert)
  • Stop everything and play a game with me (or read me a story)
  • Get to stay up 15 minutes later
  • Be excused from cleaning up the mess after playing

He says that he and his wife have even received coupons in return for back massages, taking out the compost, or no fighting all day. I loved the idea so much that I created a printable coupon book.


Make This Coupon Book in 1/2 Hour

This printable coupon book is so simple that it requires no measuring and minimal cutting. And you don’t have to have a paper cutter (that’s just me being obsessive).

Supplies Needed

  • Printer
  • 8.5″ x 11″ paper
  • Scissors
  • Stapler (or ribbon — see below)

Optional Supplies

  • Paper cutter (for super straight lines)
  • Hole puncher
  • Ribbon


Step-by-Step Instructions

First, download my coupon book cover sheet. Print one copy.

(I used card stock for the cover by feeding it into the manual slot of our old laser printer, and our new printer takes card stock right in the paper tray. Regular copy paper is fine too.)

Download the coupon page template (PDF). There are 4 per page, so if you print 10 pages, you’ll get 40 coupons. As you can see, I printed my pages on a different colored paper, because I had it lying around, but white looks crisp and clean.

Fold the cover page in half, then in half again, so you have 4 equal sections.

Cut the cover into equal fourths by cutting along the folds. Either with an inexpensive paper-cutter or…

with scissors.

Now for the coupons themselves. Fold them in half and then half again, just like the cover, so you get 4 coupons per sheet.

Cut them into 4 tickets by cutting along the folded lines, either with a paper cutter, or…

with scissors.

Now you should have a front and a back cover, plus a stack of coupons.

Stack the front and back covers with the pages together like a book, making sure all the coupons are facing the right direction.

Either staple them together, or punch two holes in one end with a hole-puncher.

If you use the hole-punch method, you can tie them together with a short length of ribbon. (I used ribbon recycled from birthday presents.)

Feed the ribbon from the top to the bottom and then up to the top again so you can tie the bow in the front.

Write who the book is for, and who it’s from. (Coloring in the title with colored pencil was kind of fun, but I’m not sure it made it look any better.)

Fill in each coupon. I love writing with a thin Sharpie.

And voilà!

So what else did I give my kids besides staying up later? Here are some of our past favors, but the privileges that your kids would want (and that you are willing to grant them) will probably be different.

  • 1/2 hour of one-on-one time with Dad (or Mom)
  • watching a movie together this weekend
  • choosing what’s for dinner tonight
  • a playdate this week
  • skipping a chore this weekend
  • an extra story tonight

I gave the yellow book you see here to my daughter Virginia on her sixth birthday. She was intrigued, and so was her sister. Later that evening eight-year-old Sofia said, "You know those coupon books? They're really cool." Then she added, as she started to get ready for bed, "And when it says 'one extra story': does that mean only Virginia gets to listen to it?"


Amy Suardi is the author of Frugal Mama, a blog about making family life simpler and sweeter. Follow Amy on Twitter at @frugal_mama.

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