Jan 12, 2012 Sara Keenan
Kansas City's Savvy Shopper
Where to get Coupons (Legally)
I was recently contacted by a reporter from a local news station that was doing a story on the fact that thousands of copies of the Shawnee Dispatch had been stolen from local grocery stores in recent weeks. The small community newspaper included coupon inserts and is distributed for free. However, some greedy folks decided to take each and every copy from many different grocery stores, leaving none behind for anyone else. (The story suspected that they were selling the coupons on eBay). This is just another demonstration of how shows like TLC's Extreme Couponing have driven people to greed in the name of getting a good deal.
That newspaper has changed their policy now and officially states that each person is allowed ONE free copy and additional copies must be purchased. See how the actions of a few selfish couponers can lead to policy change that affects everyone? I'm sure there were plenty of couponers in that area that were happy to take one or two extra papers to get a few extra coupons each week. That was not a big deal. But now they are not allowed to do that. Add it to the list of policy changes that have been brought about since Extreme Couponing debuted.
So beginning couponers may wonder where they can get coupons in a legal and ethical way. Clearly stealing them from grocery store racks is not the answer! :) But there are a few ways you can score a few extra coupons to help you amp up your deal hunting.
- Buy an extra paper. I have a subscription to the KC Star but on weeks with a lot of extra coupon inserts I will buy an extra. It's not every week, but when there are 4-5 inserts you had better believe I will grab another!
- Research local newspaper options. As I mentioned above, the Shawnee Dispatch includes coupon inserts and it is free to Shawnee residents. Check to see if there is a local paper in your area that includes inserts and make sure you are on the distribution list or pick one up at your grocery store.
- Ask your neighbors/friends. Many people get the Sunday paper but they couldn't care less about the coupons in it. Ask around to see if anyone would be willing to save their inserts for you.
- Print coupons. Many times you will find that there are printable versions of the same coupons you find in your weekly inserts available online. In most cases you can print off two coupons per computer (so feel free to use your husband's computer for a couple of extra ones if you want). Visit these sites to search for coupons:
- Sign up for mailings. Many companies mail out coupon booklets, so visit websites for your favorite products and see if they have a mailing list that you can sign up for. Also visit www.HomeMadeSimple.com to sign up for their mailing list...they send out coupon booklets for cleaning supplies every so often.
- Don't buy online. I am very hesitant to recommend purchasing coupons online. First of all, most coupons forbid the selling of the coupon, so technically it's not legal. Second, you may be buying coupons from people who obtained them illegally or unethically (such as the folks that stole the Shawnee Dispatch). Third, why buy coupons when you can get them for free? Buying coupons just decreases your savings and you have to be careful about spending too much on the coupons and shipping to make the deal worth it.
See...there are plenty of ways to get coupons legally and you can still get all of the deals you want. There is no need to have 50 copies of the same coupon (don't get me started again on shelf-clearing extreme couponers who use 50 of the same coupon)...get your 2-3 coupons and call it good!