As you're cleaning out the remainder of those coupons that expire at the end of the year, it's a great time to think about building up your coupon stash! In the coming days, I hope to share a series of posts with you on some of the best ways to create an abundance of coupons. It's always easier to save and stock up when you have a variety of savings to choose from!
Most of the coupons in existence arrive each week in the Sunday newspaper. While it can be more convenient to have a subscription, it's not necessary. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- BIGGER PAPER = BETTER COUPONS
Newspapers in large cities (like the Detroit News/Free Press, Chicago Tribune, etc) generally offer more coupons with better values than smaller papers. In the Macomb area, the Detroit News/Free Press is your best bet.
- HOW MANY PAPERS DO I NEED?
A good rule of thumb is to purchase 1 copy for each person in your household. I purchase additional copies if the coupons are especially good that week (i.e. savings on items I know we'll use) and less if there aren't many inserts. If you're just starting out, 1 or 2 newspaper copies will still help your budget. Many deal matchups may require you to use 2 or 4 coupons in one transaction in order to save - and you'll want a few to be able to stock up on items when prices are at their lowest.
- WHAT CAN I DO WITH ALL THAT PAPER?
First of all, you'll want to be sure you've grabbed every coupon in the paper. Some coupons will hide in the Parade or USA Weekend inserts and others have been found in the newspaper itself. Then you can find a creative way to recycle it! You can wash your windows, line your bird cage, wrap a gift or donate copies to a classroom if you'd rather not take it to the recycling center!
- ISN'T IT EXPENSIVE TO PURCHASE EXTRA PAPERS?
Since the cost of a newspaper copy has risen recently (in our area to $1.50), you will want to make sure you're serious about using your coupons if you're thinking about purchasing extras. You can quickly earn back the money you spent on a paper in one well-planned shopping trip. Many dollar stores (including Dollar Tree and Dollar Castle) offer the Sunday paper for $1.00 - and often you can still find remaining copies available on Monday and Tuesday.
Ask your friends, coworkers and neighbors for extra coupon inserts - those who don't use coupons have no use for them! If you're able to pick up items for cheap or free with those coupons, you might consider bringing them a little treat every once in a while to show your appreciation or letting them know what you were able to donate with their help.
If you're a CVS or Walgreens shopper, buying papers is an easy way to use up your Extra Care Bucks and Register Rewards before they expire.
- DO I REALLY NEED TO CUT ALL THOSE COUPONS?
NO. And if you're short on time (like me), I don't recommend it. I like the method Coupon Mom endorses. Group your coupon inserts each week (use a paperclip, binder clip, staple, rubberband, file folder, etc.) and write the date on the front. Then use the free Grocery Coupon Database she provides to search for existing coupons and clip only those you'll use as you prepare your shopping list each week. (You'll be asked to register, but there's no cost).
If you like having your coupons with you in the store, you'll want to cut a couple copies worth. You can stack each identical page from each insert together and cut at once to save a little time. Organize them in a way that works for you (coupon box, file, binder, etc.) and you're ready to shop!
Do you buy extra papers each week? Do you have any questions about collecting coupons from newspapers? I'll be back with more on swapping coupons to beef up your coupon stash even further!