|Written with love by:
Josh Elledge, Chief Executive Angel
As tech-savvy as I am, I’m a huge fan of my local print newspaper for a few reasons. Chiefly among those reasons is the money I save. Not everyone saves money with their newspaper – but SavingsAngel shoppers sure do.
Your local newspaper distributes a huge variety of sale and promotion information from retailers in your area – and not just on Sunday. While some people try to avoid ads because they don’t want to spend money, I actively browse ads because I want to save money. It’s worth browsing the offers that local businesses promote in the pages therein. Over the years, I’ve seen newspaper advertisers working much harder to catch the attention of potential customers. Better coupons, better offers, and better reader-only deals help them compete with offers available to us from seemingly endless directions.
If you want to save money on groceries, your newspaper is going to help you save hundreds of dollars a month if you follow my advice. The trick to cutting your grocery bill in half and keeping $2000 to $6000 a year is getting as many grocery coupons as you can find. While there are many grocery coupons online, your Sunday paper can often contain more than a hundred dollars in redeemable coupons in a single week.
Your Sunday paper routinely includes coupon inserts from Red Plum, SmartSource, P&G, Kraft, General Mills and Unilever. These inserts are filled with high-value manufacturer coupons. Don’t worry about wasting your time on .10 and .20 coupons from the 1980s. The coupons offered today can be worth several dollars for some products. The right matches of coupons to a great local sale can mean getting groceries for free.
When you’re able to buy Cheerios for .60 a box, or frozen veggies for .10 a bag, it makes sense to redeem as many of these deals as your family can use. Often, however, couponers are limited by the number of coupons they have. Here are a few tips on how to ethically get more of these coupons – so you can take greater advantage of some future deals.
1. Buy multiple copies of the Sunday newspaper. Many couponers who treat their hobby like a business aren’t afraid of investing in their savings. If I can invest a couple dollars each Sunday and get $20-$40 dollars worth of coupons that I will redeem, I’ll see a great return on investment – particularly when there are products that I can get for free. Recently, I bought a Gillette Fusion Razor (Retail: $11) for $2 thanks to a $4 coupon that had come out. If I can get 5 more $4 coupons, I can get another couple month’s worth of shaving at 90% off.
At one time, I was up to eight Sunday subscriptions. Today, I get two delivered and buy up to four more at the newsstand depending on how many coupons are available that week. If you buy your newspapers at the stand, I strongly encourage you to check them to ensure that every coupon is included. Unfortunately, coupon inserts can go missing in newsstand papers. Delivered newspapers always get highest priority for coupon inserts.
Of all the ways to get insert coupons, this is the easiest and least time consuming – but yes, there is a small investment involved. My philosophy is to spend as little time as possible actually couponing. I want to ensure that I am making the most amount of money per hour while clipping, printing, and shopping.
2. Ask friends, relatives, co-workers, friends you go to church with, neighbors, and anyone else you can think of if they will save their coupons for you. You’ll be amazed at simply by asking a dozen or so people for their coupons how quickly your supply can add up. Less than 2% of all coupons ever get redeemed. Because you redeeming the 98% that goes unused, you’ll be able to save more money for your family. Some churches will collect coupons from members to give to the couponers in the congregation. The couponers are able to turn those donated coupons into donations for the church’s food pantry
A word of caution: Please do not purchase coupons from anyone. Doing so is against the manufacturer’s terms and technically voids the coupon. Please see www.cents-off.com for more information on this policy.
3. Trade! Our SavingsAngel.com members can be very helpful in helping you locate coupons if you are in a pinch – but otherwise, there are some great coupon trains you can take advantage of. Here’s how it works: A supply of coupons will be sent to you. You take what you need and replenish the supply with coupons you don’t need and mail it on to the next person in the train. If you take 20 coupons, clip and include 20 new coupons. As long as everyone keeps the train moving, this method can be very successful and you’ll likely find yourself with many more coupons for the products you want.
If you are wondering about the ‘no transferring’ rule on a coupon, I’ve had lengthy conversations with friends at the Coupon Information Corporation – the watchdog group promoting ethical couponing. Honest shoppers trading coupons with friends have never been prosecuted for any violation. People who SELL coupons or provide ‘clipping’ services have, however.
4. Check local businesses to see if they have extra papers or coupon inserts you can have. Examples might be restaurants and coffee shops, hotels, laundromats, and even some offices get a Sunday paper delivered. While this method may be very hit and miss, it never hurts to ask.
5. While I wouldn’t encourage “dumpster diving”, I would encourage you to look at clean, safe places where newspapers are collected for recycling. Use your discretion and always ask permission if you aren’t certain as to whether it is okay to pick the coupons out. Every so often, you can come across a gold mine of coupons. You can always establish a newspaper recycling service of your own by picking up newspapers from neighbors or others, take the coupons you need, and bring them to your local recycling pickup bin.
6. Rain checks give you more time to get coupons. I love showing up to a retailer who is out of a product. Legally, a retailer must give you a rain check unless stated otherwise. This gives me more time to get additional coupons using the method above. A 30-day extension on the sale seems to be the norm.