Are you really saving money buying coupons?

In my Coupon Basics for Newbies post, I talked about sources of coupons. Some of the biggest sources of coupons are the coupon inserts that come in the Sunday paper; ie. the Redplum, Smart Source and PG Brandsaver.

I’ve had several people ask me, are you really saving money by buying papers? I’ll let you in on my big secret: I rarely ever buy papers. How do I do it?

Before you get all grossed out, newspaper dumpsters are nothing to cringe at. They are only for newspapers, so you avoid dealing with any messy stuff. This past week, I stopped at the local dumpster and picked up several coupon inserts just by reaching in and picking some inserts out of some papers on the top. It’s amazing how many people don’t use the coupon inserts.

What will you need? Get one of those long grabbing tools, some kind of box/step-stool and you’re good to go.

Isn’t this illegal?
It is illegal to climb inside the dumpster. Anything you can grab without climbing inside the dumpster is fair-game. Just be sure to not trespass on private property when you go newspaper diving. Check with your local laws on this.

Don’t want to newspaper dive?
Here are some ways you can get coupons without buying the Sunday papers:

  • Trade: Hot Coupon World, Slickdeals and A Full Cup are all set up for trading. Trade and swap for your favorites, and it only costs you the envelope and stamp to send out the coupons.
  • Buy what you want in bulk: You can buy the coupons you want in bulk on Ebay or the Coupon Clippers. Just be very careful with this. If you are buying a set of 20 coupons for $1-$1.99,but you will save $30 at the grocery store, then it is worth it. But if you won’t be saving very much, then it is probably not worth it. Don’t get carried away in bidding on items on Ebay. We are in the market for saving money, not winning in a bidding war.
  • Ask Co-Workers, Friends and Family for their inserts. If they aren’t going to use them, you might as well ask.
  • Be on the look-out everywhere you go. Sometimes you can find a paper sitting out at your local coffee shop, or various other places.
  • Use the programs at CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens to include the cost of your papers. Getting the Sunday papers is a great way to use your Register Rewards, Extra Care Bucks and Gift Cards that you get by working the deals at these stores.
  • Use overage to cover the cost of your papers. Sometimes getting certain items will give you overage at various stores. Use that overage to get your papers.

Can I still be saving if I do buy papers? A big YES! The cost of one set of papers can save you fifty dollars or more if you use your coupons wisely. Find the lowest price in town if you must buy the papers. On occasion I will buy the papers for a $1 from the guys who sell them on the corner.

Good luck with your endeavors, and let me know if you have any questions.

(p.s. That is not my bum sticking out of the dumpster. image source)

crystal collins signature
  1. Where can you find the papers cheap? The cheapest I have found is $1.50 outside of Walmart. We do get the redplum for free on thursdays in the mail atleast.

  2. I was just telling my husband how the other day when I was dropping off our newspapers for recycling, I saw the Pamp;G insert from the Christmas paper sitting right there on top of the pile, so I grabbed it. My first dumpster dive!

  3. Around here in Atlanta, there are groups of people that sell the papers on Saturdays and Sunday. They stand on the corners and the papers are $1 each. Cheapest place I have found them. You can also get the double packs at stores Sunday for $2.50.

  4. Another good tip – if you have a Starbucks in the area, haunt it on Sundays! People will just leave the papers they buy on the tables, and if they’re gone, it’s going in the trash. Even if there aren’t any lying about obviously, there is sometimes a bin for read papers, and you can find coupon inserts in those too sometimes. Happy hunting!

  5. Some places will sell the “left over” Sunday papers, on Monday, for half price. You have to ask which locations do this…

  6. Maybe a dumb question?!? But where do you find a newspaper dumpster? Thanks!

  7. I sent out an email to my church and people started saving their coupons for me! Thanks for the post, always looking for ways to get more coupons!

  8. Don’t forget about posting an ad on Freecyle! I have 2 ladies that save their coupons for me just by placing a simple wanted ad.

  9. Ask at some gas stations if they have any sunday papers left over on Mon morning you can get they half price or free that is how i get mine. At our gas station i get mine for free on Mon Morning.

  10. I’m not dumpster diving but asking other relatives and/or friends/co-workers helps too. I saw someone post on a bulletin board that they collected and recycled coupons. Church, supermarket, farmers market BB’s and more are a good source of advertising.

  11. I read this post yesterday and laughed to myself, thinking I would never dumpster dive. Well… never say never. Today my family went to the city park to play tennis and on the way in I saw the recycling bins LOADED so full that people literally stacked their papers next to the dumpster. I didn’t dig through anything but got 1 PnG and 3 RedPlum off the top of several piles. My family thinks I’ve lost it!BR/BR/I also buy my papers for .99 at the .99 Store.

  12. Oh now I am tempted… I am buying Qs for a wags deal this week and would rather not have to do that again!

  13. Our Walgreens has Sunday newspapers for 88 cents. A few other places have it for $1, but most carry it $1.50. BR/BR/I’ll be buying 8 tomorrow.

  14. I found 32 Sunday Papers that were simply discarded by the newspaper person!!! 32 Redplums and 32 Smartsource!! Yippee! I am so glad that I started “diving”

    • I’m not in Dallas anymore, but when I was there, I would go to the newspaper dumpsters that are in front of the Kroger that is next to Kmart. There are four there, and you can really get a lot there. One time I got 20 inserts that were just sitting right on the top. Took me about 2 minutes to grab them. :)

  15. I recently was thinking about buying coupons on ebay or a clipping service, and was wondering about the “transferability” issue (becoming void when transferred). What does this mean in regard to buying them? Just was wondering your thoughts…thanks.

  16. My son calls me a recycle bin hobo because the night before garbage night I raid the neighbors recycle bin of there coupons. I agree, it is amazing how many people don’t use their coupons.

  17. My husband works for our local paper in circulation you wouldn’t believe how many papers they just throw away. My tip is find out where the people who deliver papers pick up their papers and look in that dumpster. There are times they throw away several bundles (10 sections per bundle) Another tip is if you volunteer or go to nursing homes or similar facilities most of the residents get a paper but usually don’t have any use for the coupons so they just throw them away. The Facilities that I have been to have a specific place just for newspapers so you most likely won’t have to dig through a bunch of junk.

  18. how can i get news papper coupions in bulk and clip them out and sell them on ebay, so i can make extra money for me andmy son

  19. We have a subscription to the AJC and when we worked the numbers we found out that we pay $.52 for the Sunday paper!! This year is the most we have paid for the subscription, but in years past, the Sunday paper was as low as $.35!!!

  20. Wow, I envy you gals! I subscribe to the papers because (1) I get deals and they are usually either 49 or 59 cents per Sunday, which is reasonable and (2) it’s our way of supporting the local newspaper industry so they don’t go out of business (that’s a personal preference). But I wouldn’t mind having multiple copies of the inserts! I don’t think I will go out on a special trip just to look for left over coupons, but I’ll try to remember to keep my eyes open. Oh and I also keep track of the total amount of coupons I actually used during each subscription period. I think the last round the total cost of the paper was less than $16 and my total coupon usage was over $150. I just started the new subscription term (26 weeks each time). It is week 7 and I have already used over $50 (total cost is less than $13).

  21. What do you say if someone comes out and sees you? Either neighbors on the street when you are looking throught their recycling on trash night or a dumpster at places that have been mentioned?
    New to this and want to be prepared, lol.

  22. Hi,
    fyi, the Walmart by me sells their Sunday paper at half price. So I pay $0.67 per paper.
    nice article by the way..makes me want to search for some dumpsters….

    I had NO clue WalMart sells Sunday papers for $1, and the Dollar Tree even sold them at all! Where I live in the ATL area most stores sell double papers for $3, which ain’t too shabby. If you subscribe to the AJC you only get one Sunday paper, unless you reqeust 2, I suppose.
    It kills the hubs when I pay $9 for 6 papers! But when you get a lot of FREEBIES it pays for itself expedentially. If I go DD he would be a happy camper! HA! But he would also think I’ve just gone wayyyy too far.
    Where I attend church we have 14,000 members, so you would think I could get a lot of free coupons, but it seems like most everybody is couponing these days – which IS a good thing. Oh well, ONE of my neighbors gives me his Sunday circulars.
    And, all or our local stores – Kroger, Publix, etc. have stopped selling Sunday papers on Saturday evening – and I think it’s because a lot of people were raising a rucus because they were all GONE come Sunday afternoon. If I don’t purchase my papers before I go to church most of them are sold out. Two weeks ago we had to go to two stores just to find two papers! GAHHHHH!!! And, the newspaper guy gets to the stores I shop at VERY early; they don’t save papes for anyone – you have to get there before he comes if you want to PAY for extras. They guard the Sunday papers like the Holy Grail! A cashier at RiteAid says THEY guard their coupons better than they do their money. So many people try to steal coupons that have not been put out of site, in a safe. And, there are those peoople who try to scam the system and confuse older cashier. One poor guy at Publix gets so confused with coupons, so I try to go to his aisle so I can help him. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I knew I got free or next to free items because someone doesn’t fully comprehend coupons. Yet I see ladies and gents waiting in line fora long time to get in line for this one cashier. I don’t want to tell the mgr about him, becase I don’t want him to get fired.
    I’m going to GOOGLE where newspaper dumpsters are in my area, if it’s even on the web. I do know that most schools – elementary through highschool, have newspaper bins because it’s a way to raise money.
    I have been EXREME COUPONING a loooonnnggg time, but I still learn things all the time – which is ALWAYS good!

  24. Almost all of the newspaper recycling bins around here have covers on them so you can only shove the paper through. Can I take an extension grabber and dig them out? It’s illegal to dumpster dive in California, but I’m not actually GETTING IN…so would I still get in trouble? LOL.

    • I’m unfamiliar with California laws, but here I can use an extension grabber. Same here on the climbing in though, it’s a “no no.”

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