Where To Get Coupon Inserts: Day 47 – Eating Well On $1 A Day


I have a single Sunday newspaper that comes to my house, but I usually have 20+ coupon inserts each week. It has taken me awhile to figure out how to get them, but now it has become a routine. I don't have the time in my schedule to be spending hours looking for them, so I had to figure out a way to incorporate getting them into my current schedule. These are the methods I use:

1. On Sunday, I have a walk mapped out where I go by a number of coffee shops (I walk daily for my exercise, so this is something that I would be doing anyway – it is just a different course) where I take the coupon inserts from papers that people have left. I will usually get 5+ Sunday newspaper coupon inserts this way, and often many more.

2. On recycle days, I take my walk in the evenings (again, this is something I would do anyway, I simply change it from the morning and take a different course) when the recycle cans are placed out for the week. I can usually pick up 10+ Sunday newspaper coupon inserts this way.

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This is part of a continuing challenge to eat well while spending an average of only $1 a day on food. You can find the beginning and the rules of this challenge here

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3. I have asked the local convenience store manager (7-11 in my case – a short 5 minute walk from my house) if I could have the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts for papers that aren't sold and he has agreed to let me do this (your mileage may vary in this technique). This varies quite a bit – from none to 5 Sunday newspaper coupon inserts each week.

4. I ask friends and acquaintances to save the coupon inserts for me. This is something that I have just started to do, but I think I will increasingly do in the future. They like it because I will usually give something that I have been able to get for free as a “thank you” when I get them and this seems to be a mutually beneficial trade for both of us.

5. There is a recycling center that is close to one of the grocery stores I shop at. I don't usually go there to search for coupons unless there is a coupon that is a moneymaker or one that I know from experience will likely mean free food. In those cases, I go and get as many Sunday newspaper coupon inserts as I can lay my hands on.

Since I have incorporated getting the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts with my current daily routine (with minor adjustments), I really don't spend any more time getting them than if I didn't. Here are some other ways people get Sunday newspaper coupon inserts that I do not use:

6. If the coupon inserts also come by mail in your area (they don't in mine or I would do this), the local post office can be a great place to gather a lot of the inserts because most people that have PO boxes will simply throw them away in the recycle bins at the post office.

7. Libraries often get multiple subscriptions to local newspapers. It might be possible to talk with the library to have them save the Sunday newspaper coupon inserts for you (someone else beat me to this in my area)

8. If you know someone that works at a newspaper distribution center, they should have access to plenty of extra Sunday newspaper coupon inserts that you could get from them (no such source for me)

9. If you have restaurants in your area that serve breakfast, I am sure that they have many of their patrons leave Sunday papers (much like the coffee houses). This is something that I am considering.

10. If you have no time at all, there are a lot of people that coupon that simply purchase multiple Sunday paper subscriptions. This costs you money for each insert, but if you coupon regularly, you will still come out way ahead.

If you want to coupon and take full advantage of deal, you probably need a bare minimum of 2 inserts per week and should shoot for at least 4 copies of each. Of course, the more you have, the more you can take advantage of the weekly deals and also help local food banks (that is the main reason I collect so many).

I am continuing to keep my eyes open for more 6/6 RedPlum Sunday coupon inserts since it is still possible to use them as a moneymaker at Safeway this week, but much harder to find them now that it has been over a week since they were distributed. I will probably stop by the recycling drop off when I go shopping to see if there happen to be any there…

I had a really tough food day because I just didn't feel like making anything. I'm actually surprised I haven't felt like this more considering how much time I have been spending in the kitchen. It doesn't help that I'm still trying to catch up in my work making any extra time spent in the kitchen mean I have to stay up later to get things done. Hopefully this is a temporary feeling. This is what I had during the day:

Blackberry Banana Smoothie

I had my old Blackberry Banana smoothie morning standby (7 ice cubes, handful of blackberries, 1 banana – since there is free yogurt this week I will pick some of that up to add to this recipe) for future days) to start the day:

morning blackberry banana smoothie

Cheerios Topped With Banana & Blackberries

I had a bowl of Cheerios topped with banana and blackberries, although I didn't get to eat most of the blackberries since my sister's kids were over and decided that they looked really yummy wanted to eat them.

blackberry cheerios

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Since I didn't feel like cooking anything and my afternoon was way too hectic, I simply threw together a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat toast.

peanut butter and banana sandwich

I actually made a second one and also snacked on tortilla chips and the nut clusters to make it through the afternoon. I also had several glasses of water with fresh lemon squeezed in.

Spinach, Onion and Carrot Quiche

I definitely wasn't up for making dinner, but then Carolyn sent me not only a recipe, but photos for a spinach, onion and carrot quiche and since my cooking continues to be challenged, I love photos. Of course, seeing what others make and me being able to duplicate it are two entirely different things. Here is the recipe she sent:

I only used things on your list. I meant to add onions but forgot to pick some up. It was still good though.

1/2 cup frozen spinach thawed (squeeze most of the excess water out) chop it up a little so that it mixes better.
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup small diced onions
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cream cheese mini (this isn't essential but I think it makes it taste creamier)
2 eggs
salt (I just put a little in the mixture, I'm not much of a salt user but if you usually use extra salt, go for it)

Dump everything in a bowl and mix, the cream cheese may clump a little but I just worked it in.

I'm not sure what type of baking dishes or oven safe containers you have but as long as it isn't too big you should be fine. The depth of the batter will make the cooking times vary.

Put it in the oven at between 325 and 350 degrees and when it starts to brown on the top check it. It will be done when a toothpick or something like that comes out clean. I jiggle the container a little and if seems firm I check it.

Again, Carolyn's photos are a much better indication of what it should look like while preparing (how the hell do people keep their kitchen so clean while cooking? It looks like a tornado hit every time I cook something). This is what I ended up with:

spinach quiche

day 47 dinner

I ended up making 2 pie pans worth and ate an entire one last night (and have another one to eat whenever things get hectic). It even looked good enough that my sister decided to steal a thin slice indicating that my cooking is slowly moving in the right direction.

This is the current list of food I still have
This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Money Spent $36.42
Money left to spend: $24.58 ($1.33 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of everything bought: $989.34

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The Beginning ::: Day 48: My Simple Coupon Strategy

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19 Responses to Where To Get Coupon Inserts: Day 47 – Eating Well On $1 A Day

  1. Denise says:

    You should really think of investing in a vintage cookbook called, ‘The I Hate to Cook Cookbook’ by Peg Bracken. It is out of print but you can find it on Amazon for as cheap as a penny,not including the $3.99 shipping fee. Some of the recipes are a little dated, but most of them are still relevant. Besides the book is funny and you get a look into a bygone era.Needless to say her recipes take very little effort to make and she even has a chapter on cooking for one.

  2. Jenelle says:

    Thanks for answering my question as to how you get so many inserts. Right now I just buy 3 papers, and that is usually enough, but it would be nice if I could get more when there is a free item involved. 🙂

    As for the quiche I think yours looks great! And that is a great recipe for you to have because you can change it up based on what you have on hand. It’s also a great way to use up veggie odds and ends that would otherwise go bad.

  3. Colleen says:

    YUM! Thanks for the tips!

  4. Sheila says:

    Looks good. I always make quiche with a ton of grated cheese and a rolled pie crust. And I also saute the veggies. Turns into a major production so I don’t make quiche often. This looks fast and easy, just my style!

  5. Rebecca says:

    You should look into making your own yogurt. It is very cost effective, many times you can get milk for free when you buy cereal. All it takes is a cooler, a large pot, some glass jars (save the ones from spaghetti sauce). You need one carton of yogurt to start with. It isn’t always as thick as store bought, esp if you make it low fat (whole milk gets best results and is TASTY). but runny yogurt is still great for smoothies, and just to drink. It can be a little time consuming to make (about 30 to 40 min active time, 6 hrs of non active) but when you make a gallon at a time, it lasts for several weeks, so you only need to make a new batch once a month or so.

  6. OM says:

    With all the banana intake, your sh!ts must be epic.

  7. Julie says:

    Hi Jeffrey. I was wondering if you knew any Canadian sites that are equivalent to yours. I’ve become more interested in couponing since I started reading your adventures, but all the Sunday inserts here in Montreal don’t actually have coupons, they just have deals of the week. And I’ve never seen a “blinkie” in any store I’ve ever been in. Do you know where I can get coupons that work for Canada? Thanks!

  8. nicole says:

    Have you ever tried the webtire supercook.com? It gives you recipes based on whet you have in your fridge/cabinets.

  9. beth says:

    I want to second Denise! I love the “I Hate to Cookbook.” Super funny. Unfortunately, I hate to cook so much that I never made any of the recipes in it.
    I’m sorry people made fun of your cooking. I know I put noms together in combos that other people would laugh/gag at.
    Keep up the good work! Keep up the willpower! Look how many people you’re helping!

    PS. I bought a razor. And I WILL send everything in for a rebate!

  10. Shara says:

    A tornado is about what all new cooks leave behind them. I used to hate it when my roommate would cook because I would have to do the cleanup and she just didn’t understand the economization of dishes.

    Since the clean up sucks if you do your own it’s amazing how quickly you start to think “If I just rinse this under the water I can use it for my next step” or “If I rinse this RIGHT NOW I can throw it in the dish washer, rather than have to scrub it if I wait until I’m done eating.”

    For example I use my chef’s knife (the huge one that always makes you think of “Psycho”) to cut just about everything and rinse and wipe it immediately. When measuring you can use that dirty 1/2 measuring cup twice to get to 1 cup, and when you’re experience enough to know when close enough is good for something you can use it for 1/4 cup as well.

    Ultimately the more you hate to do dishes the more creative you get.

  11. erika says:

    I thought taking trash or recycling materials from someone elses bins was illegal?

  12. jeffrey says:

    @erika It is in some areas – check with your local laws before you decide to do something like this.

  13. Megan says:

    Can you post a list of what you still have (including spices?) maybe you can keep a page and keep updating it as you use things. I just found your blog today, and am really interested in what you’re doing – and I like to cook, and will gladly give you ideas if I know what you have. It sounds like you’re already getting some awesome recipes, though.

    For example, if you still have carrots, cream cheese, sugar, and raisins, you might very well have the ingredients for carrot cake…

  14. jeffrey says:

    @Megan,

    Yes, I have a link to that list a the end of each post now: http://www.grocerycouponguide.com/1-a-day-current-list-of-what-i-have/

  15. Rob says:

    Great ideas for coupons…I hate cutting them..and printing them costs expensive ink!

  16. Dawn says:

    Have you tried calling your local newspaper distributor especially for the older inserts? If you’re in a metro area, they probably have extras on hand for the readers that call to say they didn’t get any in their paper (I used to work at my local paper’s customer service call center). I know one of our local distributors had on hand up to 30 days worth at a time, but he was a major distributor with many areas and employees. You can call the paper’s customer service to find out the name/number of the distributor and see what kind of deal you can work out with just getting extra inserts.

  17. Ann says:

    I’m a newbie when it comes to couponing and you mentioned get coupon inserts in the mail. How does one find out if they can get them in their area?

  18. jeffrey says:

    @Ann

    You would know as they would come. I’m not sure if there is a way to request them in most areas of the US.