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Thursday, November 12, 2009

8 Steps Closer To "Saving Your Cents": Step 3 Coupon Resources: Newspapers

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One of the most common questions that I get asked is "Where do you get your coupons from?".

The #1 way to accumulate an ongoing stash of coupons is through your local newspaper.

Here is a list of the coupon inserts that you will see in your local papers.

Smart Source
Red Plum

General Mills
Proctor & Gamble

  • Proctor & Gamble releases their insert the first weekend of each month. Occasionally you will get 2 P&G inserts within the month.
  • Smart Source releases their inserts every week. Sometimes you will get 2 SS inserts in one week.
  • Red Plum releases their inserts 2 or 3 times per month.
  • GM releases their inserts about once every other month. (This insert varies!)
  • On occasion you will see additional special inserts (One entirely devoted to Betty Crocker products or Cambell's soup products) and you usually see these in a seasonal pattern. Soups for fall, cereal and snacks for back to school etc. Kellogg's is a great example of a seasonal "special" insert. They usually release one when it's time for the kids to go back to school!

Regional Inserts: What's the difference?

The word "Regional" covers 2 grounds for me. Different Regions of the U.S (Southeast...Mid-Atlantic...etc) and different regions within each state (Metro and anything away from the metro area)

If you live in a metro area (or within so many miles of it) you will receive the best coupon inserts (the ones with the most coupons in it). If you live in a not so populated town (compared to the bigger cities) you will get what I call the regional coupons (the ones with 2 - 4 pages worth of coupons and the remaining pages are ads). This varies by each state and each city individually!

The metro coupon inserts have a ton of coupons in them. The regional inserts will have some of the same coupons...but not all...and the dollar off amount may be different.

The term "Regional Inserts" can also be considered for what they are...different regions of the U.S. In Georgia we may get a $1 off coupon for a specific product but Washington may only get a $.35/1 coupon for that same product. Some regions my get a specific coupon while others may not get them at all!

Personal Note: This is one of the 7 wonders of the world to me...why don't we all just get the same coupons. I understand that marketing has something to do with it...what consumers purchase etc. but wouldn't you think that this would be easier on them when printing them up and shipping them out to the newspapers? Oh Well...just my thoughts on the process!
This is just a generalization...I do understand that certain products are only sold in certain states etc!

Which newspapers do I buy?

My suggestion is to do a little research.

Each town usually has 2 or more newspapers that print each week! One may have coupons and the other doesn't! My particular town has 3 papers and coupons come out in 2 of them on different days of the week (want to know how people get the coupon previews? This is how!)

When we first moved I knew that the Macon Telegraph carried the regional inserts (so sad!). I made some phone calls and found out that the Sun (Warner Robins local paper) also had coupons in it. I found out that you could purchase the Macon Telegraph on Sundays but that the Sun paper released coupons on Sunday and on Wednesday. On Wednesdays we get the freebie version of the paper (that has at least 1 coupon insert in it from the prior week). If you subscribe to the Sun you will get the same coupons that are in the Sunday Macon Telegraph paper.

The moral of this part of the story is that there are multiple papers that may or may not all have the same coupons inserts and be released on the same day..do a little research to see what your town has to offer! Key: Call the big paper first...they usually have the contact information for the smaller papers (especially if you are new to a city and don't know what newspapers are printed!)

How many newspapers do I buy?

Initially I was only purchasing 2 papers each week! I soon realized that I wanted to be able to take advantage of purchasing more of the items that were cheap or free each week...so I bumped it up a little at a time.

I currently have 4 of the Atlanta papers mailed to me by a wonderful friend Reagan! I knew I couldn't live without those Atlanta papers so this agreement was made! As far as my local papers go I purchase 4 of the Sunday Paper and get an additional 4 of the freebie papers (from my neighbors).

When I lived in the Atlanta area I would purchase a constant 10 papers each week! Yes...this was a lot of clipping and organizing but it allowed me to purchase more than one item (whether it was free or just a really good deal) to build my stockpile!

How many papers should I buy?

When I teach my classes I recommend that any family purchase a minimum of 2 papers. A rule of thumb can be applied for you to purchase 1 paper per family member. If you have growing teenagers or a husband who has the appetite of a wolf then I would consider purchasing 2 papers per person. The key is to be able to buy enough of any particular item to last you until it goes on sale again. These numbers will vary within each family.

A Quick Look At Store Sales Cycles in comparison to how many papers you should buy!

We will go over sale cycles later on in this series of articles but to give you a quick insight let's talk about cereal.

At our local Publix cereal is on a 3-4 week sales cycle (brands and varieties may vary). Let's say that Kellogg's Fruit Loops go on sale for $2 every 4 weeks and that your family will eat 2 boxes of cereal each of those 4 weeks. Let's also say that you have a coupon for $1 off of 1 box of Fruit Loops. The idea is to purchase enough cereal (2 boxes of cereal X 4 weeks = 8 boxes) to last you until it goes on sale again (This prevents you from paying full price for the item.). In this particular case you will want to have at least 8 of the same $1 off Fruit Loops coupons to make the savings work for your family!

Tip: Most newspapers cost between $1 - $2 each on Sundays. With the scenario above you have just gotten back your savings (or more if you paper costs less than $2 each) with just this one coupon! This is my #1 argument when someone asks me if it's worth it to purchase the papers every weekend...that I can usually recuperate my purchase with the use of 1 or 2 coupons out of the paper!

Coupon Previews:

You don't necessarily have to purchase 4 or 8 or even 10 papers each week...but you can adjust the amount of papers bought by knowing what will be in the inserts and if it's something you want to stock up on!

I know plenty of coupon users that purchase their 2 papers each week and on the weekends that they want more of a coupon...they will purchase more!

How do I know how many to buy?

Taylor Town Preview has been a coupon preview site that I have used for quite some time now!

Sunday Coupon Preview is a newer site that has recently been released and seems to be very accurate also!

Keep in mind that the coupons you see on these 2 sites may or may not be the coupons you will actually receive. Use these sites as guides not exact resources!

Stay tuned for more coupon resource articles. I plan to share my coupon class program with you over the next couple of months! Many of you contact me each day for tips and tricks to get started...this will be my answer...to make it availiable online for everyone! "Share the Knowledge"

If you have any questions about this article or things you think I should add, please email Lissa at savingyourcents @ gmail . com!

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