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April 01, 2011


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I don't think our local paper is a good value. We get coupons and grocery ad papers in a weekly delivery separate from the newspaper ads and coupons. Any other ads we can see online. I can get all of the news on-line. We keep up on the local suburb news through our free local suburb community paper.

We subscribe to daily delivery. It's not so much that we see more value over with this, but I want to try and help our paper stay in business as long as possible. Soon, we will no longer have them and it will be a sad day for America.

My kids will get their daily content from some electronic device.

In the meantime, we all enjoy having a morning read before starting our day. Even the kids now build in time to read the funnies while eating breakfast.

Playing the coupon game in the paper works well, economically, on some weeks, and not so well on others. It does give us an opportunity to buy brand name items at a good price, for some items that I demand the quality of brand names over generic. If I fail to get the paper in a given week, I miss the Brand Saver, Red Plum and Smart Source coupon books, but I can still pick up the local weekly coupons at the local stores. I do enjoy relaxing while reading the Sunday paper in the morning, too, so it's not all about the coupons.

We have two subscriptions to the local paper. We recieve newspapers four days a week, including Sunday. I pay $1/week for one subscription and $1.50/week for the other. I like having double coupons and between the three of us we make good use of the rest of the paper as well. It would be much more expensive to receive the newspaper seven days a week, so three days a week we read it on-line. The e-edition is the same content, with no inserts.

Your brought up some good points. I canceled my Sunday subscription because I wasn't seeing any benefit from clipping coupons.

Generics, produce and meat never have coupons and those make up the majority of my grocery bill each week. Even with double coupons, I rarely break even.

I do miss looking at the ads. The Home Depot and Lowe's ads are my go-to ads, especially since the home improvement list never ends.

I'm a frugal / financial blogger. I'm also a newspaper reporter.

The detail that people overlook when this discussion gets started is that the newspapers and the daily editions in particular are "must reads" for any family who is trying to save money. Why?

There are any number of public service announcements that are sent to the newspapers every week. Many of the ones for Monroe, Mich., cross my desk. Part of my pitch of launching Monroe on a Budget was that "there are five press releases on my desk that would fit right in with such a topic."

The notices I handle throughout the year include: free community expos for families with children / seniors / job seekers / those who need foreclosure assistance; free events such as the upcoming Earth Day celebrations and the Easter egg hunts; opening of a new food pantry; signups for the Christmas charity programs; back-to-school supply giveaways; the civic club and church breakfasts and dinners (often include "kids eat free" deals); deadlines and application details for scholarships that local students actually will earn; when the next round of Angel Food Ministries orders is starting ...

Do the TV and radio stations broadcast the PSAs too? Yes, but what I've noticed is that they often give the PSAs on the non-peak news times ... say the noon or 5 p.m. news instead of 6 p.m.

Do the local web sites post the PSAs too? The libraries probably will. The United Way 211 sites often do. The freelance financial sites generally do not. They often do not have the name recognition among the publicity reps to get those notices.

Think like a non-profit that wants to get word of your service or event to the community. Where are you going to send it? You'll send it to the local news media. And that includes the newspapers.

(off my soap box now ...)

For us, subscribing to the Sunday paper doesn't make much sense. We tend to use online sources for our news. All of the grocery store circulars are delivered to our mailbox in a big stack of "junk mail" each week, so we are still able to see what's on sale. As for the coupons, whenever I do buy a Sunday paper (rarely) I notice most of the coupons are for processed items that we don't typically buy. As someone else said there are rarely coupons for produce, meats and store brands, which is where we spend the bulk of our grocery budget.

Most of the chain stores (including Lowe's, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Staples) all post their circulars online. You put in your ZIP and get your regional version, same as the one in the paper. The major grocery stores around me do the same. Even some of the larger furniture stores put their circulars on the web.

If you spend the time and energy, you can save a lot using coupons. But it is a major system - is it worth it to clip, stack, go to CVS or Walgreens for this, the grocery for that? My time has value too and I finally decided that by and large, it's not worth it.

Now the Groupon deals and the like delivered to my email (we get one from our local paper and one from an advertising circular) have some excellent values. I only buy what I would otherwise ($10 for $30 of food at a restaurant we like, $12 for $30 worth of plants at a local nursery) and have found those to be very worthwhile.

I get Red Plum and Smart Source coupons that I used to get from the Sunday paper online now.

For me it's a question of Compromise.

I am an Internet junkie, my wife has never touched a computer in her life. This has advantages and disadvantages. I am up first so I scan our local paper ever morning whereas my wife reads it cover to cover as well as following CNN. The newspaper is also very useful to my wife because of the Tuesday advertisment inserts from the local supermarkets and other coupons. I also am trying to support the newspaper since I would hate to see it go away or be only available online. There's also the fact that quite a few jobs would disappear if home delivery ceased.

Last week I was behind a lady at the supermarket. Her bill went from $450 down to $170 with coupons. She was saying how it took 2 hours at home and 3 hours in the store to make it happen and how great couponing was. Her cart 2 carts were full of Mt. Dew, chips, frozen pizzas, and other junk food.
I find searching for coupons too much of a hassle over just buying generic. Plus most coupons are for overly processed food anyway (or diapers).

Red Plum and Smart Source both get mailed to me every week - plus we get a sunday "ads" paper that is free, that has one pack of coupons and some ads. Its not as much as when you have a full sunday paper, but we don't use coupons that much. We usually buy generic, and we also go to Aldis a lot... It looks like it would be about $10/month to buy the weekend-edition (Fri-Sun). They have the Sunday posted as 1.39/week for 10 weeks special introductory offer, but there is no mention of what it raises up to after that 10 weeks.

Either way - we don't ever read the paper, so it would be for the ads / coupons only, and we just don't get enough worth out of them. I have found that, although looking at ads is fun, it just makes me want to buy things i don't need. If I am shopping for something in particular, I will pull ads from those stores to find the best price.

I'm with Monroe on this one.

My mother is on a limited income. As a result of advertisements in the local newspaper she: (1) got into a top-ranked senior apartment at a rate substantially below market rates: savings over $1200 per month for the past three years. (2) got a check for ~$500 in a prescription drug class action suit that was announced in the newspaper and (3) applied for some local assistance that was published in the paper (maybe it was on the radio or internet, but this was easier to spot). Well worth the $52 a year for 6-day delivery including Sunday!

This year, I'm going paperless. I can get the news online--cheapter than getting the paper with coupons.

We try to time our trip to the gas store for sunday mornings. One of the local Gas chains has a free paper with fillup. Since the local paper costs 2.00 each sunday I look upon that as free money on that day. If it wasn't offered for free would I buy the paper. Ummm No. There are many reasons. First, I don't trust nor like the news source(I get my news online from a variety of trusted sources), Second, When researching products to purchase I use the interwebs for my research on prices. Especially if an item is over $50. Third and probably most importantly. I don't like dealing with the extra "trash" in my house. The Sunday paper to me is clutter after it is devoured by my family and is a hassle dealing with the space. My tablet offers a much smaller footprint and is more economical in the long run.

I used to love reading the daily paper & Sunday--for 2 local papers--because I'm a news junkie, not because of the coupons. (The coupons are always for junk that I wouldn't buy anyway--packaged junk food, or pricy new detergents etc. I find them annoying and I always throw them away without looking at them-I consider them just garbage).

But then I moved to the burbs. It became impossible to actually get anyone to deliver the papers regularly--they were always late or didn't come at all many mornings. Apparently they couldn't find anyone to be the paperboy. One time I paid my quarterly delivery subscription online--but I didn't get the paper for a week. When I called, they said "oh, our website doesn't work for payments, you have to pay over the phone" and they didn't seem to even care. And it was expensive, too! I gave up then and cancelled my subscription. The paper went bankrupt about a year later, although it lives on in a free online version. I now read all sorts of newspapers everyday for free online.

I'm not surprised newspapers went bankrupt. Besides their bad business practices/payment/delivery service especially on Sunday most of the paper was just filler--recycled articles, human interest stuff same as last year. When they gave up on content, I think they lost their readership.

At my job we get a couple dozen papers every week, so I have the privilege of searching for useful coupons without having to buy the paper. However, as my fiance and I rarely buy name brands, which is what the majority of the coupons are for, we can go a few weeks without finding a useful coupon.

Despite that, doing the math it looks like I would just about break even if I had paid for the papers, but in the long run we would probably be paying more than we were saving since we have stocked up on many of the toiletry items (mostly her hair-care products) that were the biggest savings.

I do want to start keeping an eye out to see what brands friends and family buy though, perhaps I could pass some coupons on.

I agree with Monroe. Coupons are the least of reasons to buy a newspaper, especially like in my small town where it costs $27 a year and comes once a week. We get coupon bundles in the mail and our paper does not give any out. But - it details most of the news around our area and lists all the meetings, luncheons, sales, etc. in our area also.

I do not belong to the American Legion so I would not know they were having a whole roast pig barbecue and silent auction on such and such a day, which I put into my PC calendar if I've a mind to go.

Other items of use are the political news from our local reps and senator, the local school and sports news, the activities of the group Neighbors Helping Neighbors, the garden club info, the Red Hat Society notice of meetings,OATS news and trips, fires, death notices, sales, and so on and so on. It is invaluable and I cannot believe you would not be able to use this, even in bigger places.

This reminds me of a friend who was living in a very large city and moving back home to marry. Her friends kept saying - what can you do in a small town. She informed them that between work, school, church, politics, gardening and other clubs, you could be on the go 8 days out of 7. I often used to do that when I worked at the local S&L, had a son in high school football, was on the local businessmen's council and went to church in another town. And most of these are of value, helping neighbor, friend, city, etc.

I love reading the morning paper with a cup of steaming coffee. So we won't give up the paper unless it becomes too costly or it doesn't exist anymore.

Between the ads, coupons, and the Boston Globe being a pretty good paper, we pay for the Sunday paper. I don't read many of the articles since I read so much of it online, but I like that my wife has made it a ritual for herself. She works hard and deserves that time to relax.

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