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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wasting money on coupons? Are you?

Buying habits
For years I have bought the Birmingham News or the Huntsville Times in order to get the coupons. The smaller, local paper did not have coupons. The larger Sunday papers are $2; the local Sunday paper is $0.50.

I divide my purchases between the paper machines or purchase in a store. Last Sunday, I was purchasing in a store and decided to check out another small newspaper a friend's daughter buys for coupons. Since it was not available, and I was right in front of our local paper, I checked for coupons.
The large paper from Birmingham had coupon insert, Red Plum, I think. That is $2 for one coupon insert. The local $0.50 paper had three, three, three coupon inserts. I was stunned, shocked, appalled at the money I perceived I had wasted. I did buy one of the larger papers along with two of the hometown papers. That is three papers with coupon sections--$3.

At home on Sunday
I gleefully extracted the coupon inserts from the!...7 inserts of coupons for $3. Other tasks occupied my mind and time, so I cut none of them. Then, I discovered that the fronts of the coupon inserts were different, and some of the coupons were different also. No problem. I am way ahead of this game, I decided. Yes, I do realize that two inserts from the same company are in the papers often.

Wednesday, few things
Today, I decided to take a look at the coupon inserts. I just glanced at the Red Plum and decided not much interests me, except for one or two coupons. If anyone wants anything in there, just let me know!

I looked at the sales receipt from the paper purchases and other items I bought. It seems I was charged for only one of the local papers. Soooo, that makes $2.50 for the seven coupon sections. Even though Red Plum is not very useful, I still came out ahead. Now comes the moral dilemma: the cashier made a very small mistake. Do I go back and pay for the paper? I really hate to have to rectify mistakes like this. I was still in the parking lot when I took back the jelly beans to pay for them.  That was clearly my mistake, having put something over them before I checked out. Aaaargh!

Regional coupon sections
Two of the Red Plums are L'Oreal-heavy, it appears. The other two inserts of Red Plum contain more useful coupons. Hmmm, it appears I have four Smart Source inserts--3 with Allegra on the front and one with Safe Kids on the front. I didn't mark these with the paper source, so next time I will have to pay more attention!

Not so clever
I feel really dumb for all my assumptions and wasted money. Why did I not know that there were coupons in the small daily paper? Yes, I do actually read the hometown news--online. Or, I go to the library and read a week's worth of news.

Wasted money?
Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and go on and do better. I will put on my big girl panties, pull up my boots and save even more money from now on.

Coupon Schedule
According to Southern Savers, there will be no coupon inserts next Sunday. There never is on holidays--Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and others on the schedule.

The Grocery Coupon Guide is from a man on the West Coast, but it has relevant articles and a schedule for coupons in the paper that may be different from the Southeastern US. If you check, you will find many educational sites on the blog.


3 — (2) Smart Source
10 — Smart Source & Red Plum
17 — (2) Smart Source & (2) Red Plum
24 — No Inserts

Penny Experiment
One day, I sat and read the whole two years of posts. Check out the table at the top right to see how much The Penny Experiment has donated to food banks.

The hens are calling me. They are hungry. Dishes need to be washed. THEN, and only then, will I cut coupons.

Your turn
Have you come across a cheaper newspaper insert source than you were using?  Do you find, as I did, that the cheaper, local paper has more coupon inserts?


  1. aarrgh is right...a cashier bunged it up recently and I ended up with a free organic chocolate bar. When a mistake happens and I catch it at the store, I point it out. didn't figure out this mistake until later, so I let it go...I live halfway across the state from where I bought it. If the mistake were BIG, I'd likely have felt obligated to mail in some money. sketchy business this money is!

  2. Dmarie, I just had a guy short me a dollar tonight. Before I would put out my hand and take the lone bill, I said, "Don't you owe me another dollar?" He said, "yeah." He held out the dollar to me once more. I said, "The total was $3.24. I gave you a $5 bill and a quarter. You gave me a penny. You owe me another dollar besides that one." He still looked confused, consulted the cash register, and finally said, "OH!" and pulled out another dollar to give me. Someone save me from younger cashiers who cannot get it right.

  3. I'd hate to have that job at this age...too many sinus meds under the bridge, so to speak. ;) I probably wouldn't pay any better attention than that kid!

  4. Yes, I understand about allergy and sinus meds playing havoc with the brain, but older folk don't make those mistakes, just kids who never learned to do math without a machine. The allergy and sinus meds were a part of my life until menopause. Hooray! Now, I only take a few meds.but not enough that I am groggy like I was until I was 42! By older, in the context of math I mean people under 30.


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