Every great chef keeps a well stocked pantry, including the basics, like flour and sugar, as well as those rare ingredients and secret spices. So, too, the great savers keep a well stocked pantry…of coupons. And every super saver relies on the basics, too. The Sunday Paper!
Sunday newspapers are the most reliable source of coupons. They also provide savings on a broad range of products. Three publishers print inserts, which are generally “inserted” into the pre-printed ads and store circulars:
- SmartSource (SS, one or two inserts each week)
- RedPlum (RP, usually one every other week)
- PGBrand Saver (P&G, usually the first weekend of every month, with a second “special” mid-month)
SmartSource and RedPlum do not provide inserts on major holiday weekends; P&G DOES, so keep your eyes open fro them. The schedule for inserts in 2009 can be found at Newspaper Insert Schedule 2009
It is important to realize that not every newspaper subscribes to coupon publications (inserts). Also, not every newspaper subscribes to the same set of inserts, even within the same city. Even more complicating, coupon value in inserts, from the same publisher on the same weekend, frequently varies by region, even by town! “30 cents on two” in Baltimore maybe “$1.50 on one” in San Diego!
You can research which newspapers in your area carry which coupon inserts here:
Before you decide good Sunday coupons are not available in your area, do some investigation at a large supermarket, newsstand, restaurant, airport, hotel, or wherever you will find the largest selection of Sunday newspapers in your area. Look through them. You might be surprised. Even the local free “rag” may provide great coupons.
Once you’ve determine which paper has the highest volume of coupons, look through the inserts themselves:
- Check the front page of the coupons; it often will state the $ value of offers contained (i.e., save $55 in this SmartSource).
- Check if there are specific brands featured that week — for example, Unilever typically publishes their quarterly coupons for all brands in a single edition of RedPlum, as does Nestle. Kraft publishes coupons for their brands together in SmartSouce, as does Kellogg's. General Mills and Betty Crocker coupons come out at various times, but typically are featured together in SmartSource. (e.g., if you are waiting for a Cascadian Farms or Muir Glen coupon, they will likely be published with other General Mills brand coupons. If you don't see General Mills coupons at all, you probably won't find coupons for the brands you are looking for, BUT, if you DO see General Mills brands, the coupons you want might be there too).
- Check for any show stopper super coupons
- Check for ultra high value, free item, or hard to find coupons
If you don't see anything of interest, you may not want to waste time, energy, or money obtaining additional copies. If it does, however, it’s time to move into Super Saver mode!
You need to receive the best coupon inserts offered to achieve super savings. Another key to super savings is having multiple copies of the coupons you really want. You need to have a coupon for every item in your shopping cart! If you are going to buy 5 of one item, you need five coupons good on that item! You can achieve this by obtaining multiple copies of the inserts, as inexpensively as possible. There are several ways to do this:
1. Double Check Your Paper: If you have a paper delivered make sure you go through it thoroughly. Frequently extra inserts find their way through the sorting process and into your paper. Don’t assume that you’ve found them all.
2. Call Your Newspaper: If you don’t receive your regular inserts call the paper on that day and request that they deliver them. You are paying for the paper; you’d probably complain if the news section did not come; the inserts are money in your pocket. Make sure you get what you are paying for.
3. Buy A Paper: If your paper doesn’t carry the best inserts, or if you find some really outstanding coupons, you can purchase a second or different paper. Make sure the coupons are physically in the paper you pick up before you buy it. Look through them. You need to balance the cost of that paper against the savings you will actually see. Are the coupons worth the price of the paper to you?
4. Check “Free To The Public” Papers: Many subscribe to the inserts. Get as many as you can.
5. Check At Your Local Store: Many grocery stores discount the price of Sunday papers. Stores also return unsold papers for credit when the next paper is delivered; generally inserts do not need to be returned. Ask the late night shift, you might be surprised.
6. Check Local Restaurants, Hotels, Hospitals, Airports, etc.: Basically anywhere people purchase papers and sit down to read them. Ask people if they are going to use the inserts. If they leave their paper behind, take it before it gets tossed. Make friends with the receptionists, hostesses, lobby managers, and ask them to save them for you when they are tidying up the area.
7. Check Newspaper Recycling Bins: Apartment, condos, hotels, businesses, neighborhoods, communities, even the recycling centers will often allow you to look through their paper recycle. If you live in a town with curbside recycling, taking a evening stroll the night before they are picked up can give you a lot of extra coupons inserts at no cost.
8. Inquire Within Your Community: Ask friends, family, neighbors, even colleagues for their inserts. Most people don’t use coupons, and are delighted to contribute.
9. Start A Coupon Collection / Recycle Box: People are usually glad to donate their inserts at work, in the break room, at church, at your club, your child’s school, wherever people you know gather.
10. Contact Friends, Family, A Coupon Train, and Exchange Coupons Across Locales: They may not want that $2 coupon on toothpaste from their insert, while you may have one they are looking for!