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Lately I’ve had people ask me how many papers I buy.  It seems that a local newspaper is encouraging people who attend their “free coupon classes” to purchase 5 or more Sunday papers through subscriptions.  Now I have nothing against subscribing to newspapers so let me say that right up front.  What I’m telling you is only my opinion.

Newspapers and magazines are losing subscribers every day.  People get most of their news on the internet so why buy a subscription to a print copy?  Magazine & newspaper subscriptions are a luxury for many in this economy.  Speaking of the economy, did you know that coupon usage has grown exponentially in the last 2 years. More and more people are redeeming coupons now than in past years.  If you look at the trends you will find that coupon usage increases in tough economical times but then decreases when the economy starts to improve.

Now, let’s look at marketing concepts.  If you know that your newspaper is losing subscribers you need to find a way to increase sales and gain back your customers.  You know couponing has become the thing to do and most people only buy the Sunday paper for the coupons.  So who do you target?  You are exactly right if you said “couponers”.  All of a sudden we have classes and all kinds of stuff to “teach you to coupon” but we’re really selling papers in the end.  Have you been told that it’s a good idea to subscribe to 8-10 copies of the paper?

When people try to get you to subscribe to a ton of papers on Sunday they are trying to make a profit.  Now you have to decide if you want to spend the money on multiple copies of the newspaper.  This is a personal decision and you should not follow in someone’s footsteps because they paid a penny for 23 boxes of Pop-Tarts.  You need to look at the products your family uses and look at ad scans and previews to see if there is something you need to stock up on.

You see, we don’t get the best inserts with many of the high value coupons.  It’s not our paper’s decision, it’s the market we live in.  There are even some weeks that we don’t get inserts.  Keep in mind that when you subscribe to multiple copies you pay for multiple papers without inserts several times a year.  You may hear some say that you need 10 copies of each coupon because you never know when a money maker will come along.  I disagree.  My whole reason for using coupons is to reduce my spending.  If I fall for every deal that comes along simply because it’s a good deal, then I defeat my purpose.  You can clearly see ad previews and always go through a clipping service.  Here’s what I mean.

I find out that Speed Stick is going to be on sale from $2.69 to $1.00 each. I also see a coupon for $.50/1. Knowing that my store doubles I write this down as a great deal. Then I order coupons. Here is my invoice:

“Buy It Now” lot of 10 Speed Stick $.50/1 exp 8/17 = $1.00

Shipping: $.48
Total: $1.48

10 Savannah Newspapers would cost me $15.00.

I take the coupons to a store that doubles but even if your store only doubles the first 3 coupons you still got a good deal. So let’s look at the total savings:

10 Speed Sticks = $26.90
Less store sale = -$16.90
Less coupons = -$10.00
Total out of pocket at the store: $0 (tax if you don’t buy anything else.)
Remember I spent $1.48 on the coupons making my total expenditure = $1.48 for 10 Speed Sticks or $.14 each

Now you also have to examine the reason you are using coupons in the first place.  Are you shopping just to collect stuff and hold on to it until it expires or are you using it?  Some people actually donate all of their excess items to charities.  If you are really trying to cut back on what you spend then you need to look hard at the options.  You need to include your time involved as well.  Are you taking time away from your family to coupon and shop?

My family does not use anything but Charmin.  I don’t really need to spend my money on Cottonelle even if I can get it for $1.00.  I’ll trade my coupons before I spend money that I don’t need to spend.  I actually did read on a message board that someone bought 20 large packs of Cottonelle.  I’m happy for them but I don’t have the room nor the extra $20 to spend on something just because it’s cheap.  My family doesn’t use that product. 

Add up the cost of your subscriptions for an entire year.  Now see if that is an expense you will recoup and will that expense actually keep more money in your budget.  It’s a personal decision that needs to be made based on the reason you are using coupons.  If it just a chase for you, then maybe multiple subscriptions are right for you.  I opt for something different.

Subscribe to 1 or 2 papers.  I recommend making one the Jacksonville Times Union but that’s my opinion again.  If you follow me then you know why.  Then if you see that we actually get an insert with more coupons than ads, buy as many as you want.  I’ll even go through the paper in the store to make sure it’s going to be worth my while to spend my money.

My final thoughts on this subject…
Businesses are in business to make a profit.  If they aren’t making money on you they wouldn’t keep doing what they do.  It’s not a scam, it’s just business.  I prefer to help people save money.  That’s why I give you previews and coupon lists.  Never be afraid that you might miss a money maker.  Deals will always be around.  If you see a deal and you need coupons, visit the database and search.  You can always print or order coupons you really want to use for a deal.  The whole reason we clip is to save money.

I will only post deals that I will do myself.  The ads you see on the side are affiliate programs I belong to.  When you click these and either sign up or buy a product I will receive a small percentage.  I get a few pennies each time you print coupons from my page.  That money goes to offset the cost of having the site.  Honestly I haven’t broken even but that’s not why I do this.  I do it because I am learning new ways every day to save money and I hope I help you too.