Why I Stopped Collecting the Weekly Newspaper Coupon Inserts

By |2013-11-13T19:12:54+00:00November 15th|

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I'm sharing why I stopped collecting the weekly newspaper coupon inserts! I still use coupons, but don't collect the inserts! Stop by and see why!

I remember when we could clip a few coupons, head to the grocery store and fill our carts with all kinds of goodies. Do you remember the good ‘ole days?

Although there are still great deals to be had at the grocery stores, they don’t seem to be as good as they were when I first started couponing. I’m convinced that the deals have declined because people became greedy. They want everything for free, try to cheat the system, clear shelves, and all kinds of other nonsense. I’ll be honest – I blame it on TLC’s show Extreme Couponing!!!

(On a side note) When people find out that I’m a couponer, they automatically ask, “Are you an extreme couponer?” After cringing, I quickly remind them that the show is staged and those people are encouraged to make their biggest coupon hauls ever, all for TV! I can’t even watch that show, so don’t even get me started!

For years I clipped all of the coupons in the inserts and neatly filed them away in my coupon binder. Last year, that changed. I still collected the coupon inserts, but instead of filing them in my binder, I filed the entire inserts by date so that I’d still be able to find and clip any coupons I needed. (By the way, this is a great system if you still collect the inserts! Simply write the date on the front and you’re good to go!)

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And a few months ago I stopped collecting the weekly newspaper coupon inserts altogether. Here are a few reasons why:

I Was Breaking Even

Before I stopped collecting the weekly inserts I mentally tracked how many coupons I used. As each month passed, I noticed I was using less and less coupons from the weekly inserts. I would save a couple dollars here and there, but when I compared the price of the paper ($2 each) to how much I was saving in coupons, I quickly realized that I was breaking even.

The Same Coupons Are Available Online

It’s no secret that coupons are readily available online. Another thing I noticed as I would make my grocery list and clip my coupons was that I could get the same coupons online as I could in the weekly inserts. Now, there were a few times when they were different amounts but it’s still better than buying the weekly inserts.

Coupons Have Crazy Restrictions

Limit two per transaction. Not valid on travel sizes. Valid only on certain sizes. And here’s the newest one, not valid on clearance. (If you don’t believe me on that last one, just check out this post at Hip2Save.)

Coupons were originally intended as advertising for companies. But when they realized that consumers were actually using their coupons, and in mass quantities, they chose to add crazy restrictions to make it worthwhile for their businesses! To be honest, I would likely do the same thing if I was a manufacturer.

When I first stopped collecting the weekly newspaper coupon inserts, I questioned myself. But now that it’s been a few months, it’s definitely a decision I’m glad I made. When it comes down to it, collecting the weekly inserts just isn’t worth it to me anymore!

clipping couponsphoto credit

Am I still using coupons? The answer to that question is absolutely! These days, most of my shopping is done at Aldi, especially since they have fabulous deals on produce. But when I head to a store that accepts coupons, you better believe that I check to see if there’s a printable coupon that I can use on an item I’m already purchasing!

Along with shopping at Aldi, every few weeks I’ll stop by Publix to grab their BOGO deals (paired with a coupon, of course)! I still head to Walmart once a month to get dog food, and I’ll grab any staples that I can’t get elsewhere!

Are you a couponer? Do you collect the weekly newspaper coupon inserts?

Thrifty T

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Comments (19)

  1. Emily E November 15 at 11:59 am - Reply

    I do the coupon inserts- but we would buy the paper anyway, so I don’t worry about the cost of that. I go through Sunday after church and pull out only the pages with things that I might buy (usually not too many). I throw them in my coupon binder and toss it in the car. I usually cut the coupons out and organize them while waiting in carline at my kids’ school. Otherwise before I go to Target, I will check the website for coupons and cartwheel for what is on my list and print those. I don’t make a big deal out of coupons though and only cut out what I know I’m going to need.

    • Tshanina Peterson November 15 at 2:22 pm - Reply

      Since you’re already getting the Sunday paper, it’s a no-brainer to keep the coupons! It sounds like you have a fabulous coupon system down Emily!

      I haven’t tried Target’s cartwheel but have seen some great deals from it! I might have to give it a try someday!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

      • Oh do try the Cartwheel coupons…and the mobile ones that you get via text. I’ve gotten some incredible savings/deals that way and it’s so simple!

        • Tshanina November 18 at 11:30 am - Reply

          Next time I head to Target I’ll have to see if there are any deals to be had! Can’t wait to check them out! Thanks!

  2. sparkling74 November 16 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    I am a huge fan of the IDEA of coupons, but, like you, I’ve found that I use less and less from the weekly circulars. Most are for brands I do not use. It makes me sad because nothing is more thrilling than the feeling of saving money, but if it’s for something I don’t use or don’t like to use, it’s not worth it. I once wrote a post about that ridiculous Extreme Couponing show. It’s really just Hoarders but the people are praised instead of chastised for their obsessions.

    • Tshanina Peterson November 16 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      Hi Sparkling74! You’re totally right, “nothing is more thrilling than the feeling of saving money!” There’s just something about making a purchasing and knowing you saved a ton of money!

      Did you ever notice that Extreme Couponers aired right around the same time that Hoarders did? I found that very ironic!

      Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation!

  3. Yes, I’m a couponer and yes, I still use insert coupons. BUT I kind of hear where you are coming from. I totally agree that the deals aren’t as good as they used to be. And I too get frustrated with how people get greedy and don’t follow the rules and make it hard for those of us that just want to save some money to help our tight budgets stretch a bit further. But I haven’t been quite ready to just throw out using insert coupon totally- at least not all the time. Because I do think that insert coupons sometimes ARE much better than printable ones. The other thing is, by using multiple coupons I am still able to get some killer deals that I would never be able to get if I just used the printable coupons that are available.

    However, I don’t think it would be worth it to pay full price for the Sunday paper so if we get it, I call and ask what deal they can give me on a subscription for the Sunday paper only. Around here we can get it for as low as $0.85 a paper, which I think is pretty decent! The thing is, after your subscription expires, you have to wait 2 months (I think that’s the length) to resubscribe at any discount rate.

    So, sometimes I feel like my grocery budget can handle the expense of a newspaper subscription and we subscribe. Other times (like now), I just leave it go because I don’t feel like have the wiggle room in my budget. However, I got creative and get my coupon inserts another way.

    Several years ago I found a lady across town who gets the paper but only uses one or at the most two coupons a week. She was more than happy to save her inserts with me. I don’t pick them up every week- just when I get the chance to go over there or am in the area- but it still helps and it doesn’t cost me a cent. Yes, I miss a few deals as a result, but I’m okay with that.

    I know this has kind of gotten long-winded, but I just wanted to share some other options for people that do want the insert coupons but don’t feel like they can justify spending a lot on them. Cause, really, you are right, that often isn’t worth

    (I maybe should clarify that I take the expense of the Sunday newspaper out of my grocery budget because that is the only reason we get it any way.)

    • Tshanina November 18 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Hi Lydia!
      I’m with you and love finding killer deals where you can stack coupons!

      $.85 per paper is a fabulous price! Subscriptions in our area are usually higher than picking up the paper at a local store. I was able to get a deal on a subscription a few years ago but it ended up being a big mess when it was all said and done. (You can read more about that craziness here – http://thriftytstreasures.com/2012/01/persistance-pays-off/)

      Having a friend save the inserts for you is definitely the way to go! I’ve also heard of people going to coffee shops and restaurants on Sunday afternoons to get the inserts out of the papers there!

      Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation. I love hearing other options, and I’m sure everyone else does too.

  4. Cathy November 19 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    After going coupon crazy for a year or so, I decided several things: #1 – How much it was costing me in TIME spent clipping, organizing, and filing the coupons, #2 – How much it was costing me in GAS costs, driving to 4 0r 5 different stores to get the deals, #3 – How much it cost us in SPACE allotted for storing massive quantities of coupon bargains, and #4 – How much MONEY it has cost us by having to toss expired foodstuffs because I didn’t use it by the use-by date.
    Another thing has transpired since the beginning of my coupon craze days: I have eliminated a LOT of processed foods from my diet, so most of our food budget is spent on meat, eggs, cheese, fruits, veggies, gluten-free items, and staple foods, such as rice, beans, salsa, nuts, and paper goods. I rarely buy packaged cookies, because it’s cheaper and healthier to bake my own. Have you notice that most food coupons are for heavily processed “foods”?
    I still organize my coupons in my binder and try to make my menu plan around the sale circulars and family schedules, but I am no longer a slave to the coupon thing, after realizing the coupon savings seen on TV are staged to amaze the viewers. Only 1 store in our area doubles coupons, and then only 3 coupons can be doubled, up to $1 value. Very restricted. I first make my list, based on what we need, and THEN I see what coupons I have for the items on my list. In the meanwhile, I have razors and toothpaste enough to last us until the Second Coming of Jesus!

    • Tshanina November 20 at 8:54 am - Reply

      Hi Cathy!
      Thankfully the stores I shop at using coupons are in the same vicinity so I never wasted much money on gas. Stores are definitely feeling the crunch from coupons and many are doing away with their doubling. I’m crossing my fingers that Publix doesn’t follow suite!

      Yes, most coupons are for the processed foods, but you can still find those that aren’t. It’s always healthier to cook our own foods – I’m guessing your family loves your homemade goodies!

      I love that you make menu around the sale ads – that’s definitely the way to go!

      Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation!

  5. semi crunchy mama December 5 at 12:14 am - Reply

    Thank you for posting this. I have always wondered about it. I tried to do the couponing. I even asked my coupon group if anyone has ever done a spreadsheet showing how much money they spend, how much time they invest, and what they spent weekly on groceries. No one can give me a ROI . Even a friend would send me stacks of used inserts to go through. I spent more time sorting and cutting than shopping. So I switched gears, cook from scratch mostly all foods, make a bunch of homemade and the items I know I will use that I cannot make my own, I use those coupons. Mostly digital. No clipping. Less time in the store , more time at home teaching my kids to cook healthy meals . Things are better since I stopped stocking up on processed crap and got rid of it all my husband and I have both lost over 40lbs together. and our weekly menu is full of fresh fruits and veggies, very little to no processed foods . I spend 80.00 a week ( 320.00 a month) on groceries and toiletries for our family of 6. I find coupons work , but only as long as it is an item I really need and use. I would love to find out what the average couponer spends in gas, ink, paper, time, ( time is money) supplies, inserts etc. versus what they actually save. Thank you!

  6. Tshanina Peterson December 5 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Semi Crunchy Mama,
    A few years ago when I was knee deep into couponing, I kept a spreadsheet of my savings. Using coupons proved to be very profitable, and the ROI was fabulous! But, as with most things in life, that’s changed.

    Wow, you’re doing a fabulous job feeding a family of 6 on $80 per week! Cooking from scratch definitely makes a difference doesn’t it? And, congrats on your weight loss!

    Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation!

  7. […] #5 – Why I Stopped Collecting the Weekly Newspaper Coupon Inserts […]

  8. […] though I’ve stopped collecting the weekly coupon inserts, that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped using coupons. On the […]

  9. Jill July 5 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Yes, I coupon and yes, I still collect inserts. However, I have been strongly considering no more inserts and just buying the coupons I need online. I did also cut back from 4 inserts a week to 2. Why?

    Kroger stopped doubling. I also noticed I was rarely getting anything other than toothpaste free. I am going to continue to receive inserts, mostly for cleaning products and personal hygiene.

    It does stink though that a few bad seeds have ruined it for everyone else!

    • Tshanina Peterson July 5 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      Jill, it was sad when Kroger stopped doubling coupons!

      If you have dollar stores in your area, and you’re not brand specific, you might check them for your cleaning/personal hygiene products!

  10. […] Why I stopped Collecting Newspaper Coupon Inserts […]

  11. matt January 31 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    I go to garage sales for a living. Too many people selling tons of shampoo, deoderant, etc for $1 to $2 each. How cheap are they really getting them as stores in my area don’t double?

    As for the inserts, i tend to breeze through them when i get them, and about every month and a half go fully through them. That doesn’t work any more – few coupons expire more than a month away. I used to have a coupon envelope that i could bring shopping and find that item on sale, but now the dates are too short and im tossing them before i get around to cutting them out.

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