Getting coupon inserts from the newspaper is a great way to start your coupon collection. But you may be wondering if you really must buy the newspaper to get coupons. Who reads the newspaper anymore, anyway?
Good news: there are lots of different ways to get free newspaper coupons, and you won’t even need to dumpster dive.
Plus, you’ll be able to put the coupons to use instead of having them end up in someone’s recycling bin. If you pair these free newspaper coupons with sale prices on items you would normally buy, you’ll get some significant savings.
Ways to Get Free Newspaper Coupons
It’s not that hard to get free newspaper coupons…most of the time, you just need to ask. Here are some ideas for where to start looking.
1. Ask a Librarian
Most libraries subscribe to at least one local and/or national newspaper that their patrons can read while inside the building. This includes the Sunday paper along with all the coupon inserts.
Chances are the staff won’t mind passing on the coupon inserts to you once Monday comes around – just ask.
Some libraries may also have a coupon donation basket in which people can leave their unwanted coupons and take the ones that they do want. (Think about it like a “take a penny, leave a penny” holder at gas stations.)
If your library doesn’t already have a system like this setup, see if they’ll let you start one.
2. Check for Free Local Papers
Here’s something you may not know…some newspapers give out free versions. Yes, actual physical hard copies.
I live in a major metropolitan area, and one of the biggest newspapers has a free, Saturday-only version available for certain zip codes.
It’s not the full issue, but it does contain some articles of interest as well as the coupon inserts – all for FREE. Your local newspaper may do something similar. Try searching for “[your local paper] free edition” and see what you can find.
One source of free local papers is called Yes! Your Essential Shopper. Yes! partners with local newspapers around the country to provide reading material and advertising, including the weekly coupon inserts.
To find Yes! near you, just search for “[your city] your essential shopper” and see what comes up.
Sometimes you’ll even find that these free local papers are mailed directly to you, or they just show up at the end of your driveway. Don’t just toss them in the recycling – check first to see if they contain any valuable coupons.
3. Ask Your Family, Friends, Neighbors, Coworkers, Etc.
It’s likely you know someone who subscribes to the Sunday paper and doesn’t want their coupon inserts…or at least, they’ll be willing to give you the ones they know they won’t use. Just ask.
Just brainstorming…the easiest people to ask would be your friends and family that live close, as well as your neighbors (of course).
Beyond those close connections, think about other people you see regularly, like your coworkers. Try posting a note in your office breakroom, letting people know that you are interested in taking their unused coupon inserts off their hands.
You could even leave a basket in the room where people can leave the inserts, so you don’t have to hunt them down.
If you regularly attend church, Sunday School, or a Bible study, you could post a similar notice in a shared space. Or just ask at your next meeting.
I think you’ll find that most people are willing to help in this simple way. You can always express your gratitude to people who give you coupons by treating them to some baked goods, a gift card, or even just a thank-you note.
4. Start a Coupon Exchange or Coupon Train
A coupon exchange is like asking your family and friends for coupons, but instead of just having them give you coupons, you each get the coupons that appeal to you.
For example, if you have a baby and your mom has a dog, you can give her the dog food coupons and she can give you her diaper coupons.
Some people formalize a coupon exchange and have a set time when they meet up with like-minded coupon users to swap coupons. You could do this weekly or biweekly at a local meeting spot, like a library or community center.
Another idea is to set up a coupon train. With this, you would find a small group of family and friends that use coupons and exchange mailing addresses.
Here’s a quick overview of how this works:
- One person starts the “train.” Put coupons you won’t use in an envelope, then mail them to the next person on the list.
- The next person takes any coupons they want from the envelope, removes expired coupons, adds any coupons they won’t use, and mails them to the next person on the list.
- Continue until the train gets back to you, then keep it going.
It’s best to keep a coupon train relatively small so that you regularly get the envelope back. Otherwise, the coupons may expire before you get to use them.
5. Check with Local Businesses
Think about the businesses that sell newspapers – gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, etc. They may be able to give you the coupon inserts from the newspapers that they don’t sell.
The key word there is may – some newspaper carriers require the locations that sell them to return the entire papers that aren’t sold. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
There are also lots of businesses that subscribe to the newspaper for their customers to read.
Consider checking with your area coffee shops, community centers, fast food restaurants, and hotels to see if they have coupon inserts available to pass on to you.
You may find it a little awkward to just go inside and ask for newspapers. It’s probably easier to start with businesses you regularly frequent that know you who are or at least know your face.
Or consider asking people you know who work at places like this to see if they can pick up the coupon inserts for you.
6. Look Around Your Mailbox
I already mentioned that you may get coupons in the mail.
But if you live in an apartment complex or anywhere where lots of people live or work in the same building (condo, dormitory, high-rise building, etc.), you’ll want to check the mail area for unwanted coupons.
People who live in or work in the building will no doubt leave their coupon inserts behind, especially if there’s a dedicated spot for recycling near the mail.
Of course, you can always check the recycling area in the building, as well. Just be sure you get permission before you start your search.
And speaking of mail, another place you can check – especially if you rent a post office box – is the post office. All those mailers that go to the neighborhoods in your area may also get delivered to post office boxes.
Check the common area around the boxes to see if people have left their unwanted inserts out for others to take.
7. Contact Your Local Recycling Center
Speaking of recycling, another place to look for free newspaper coupons is your local recycling center. This is one step up from dumpster diving in that the paper is typically separated so it might not be as gross.
But even if you get permission to look through the paper bins at a recycling center, there’s no guarantee that you’ll easily find coupons. The paper will probably be all mixed together, so it may be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Not sure where your local recycling center is? Earth911 has a comprehensive database of local recycling centers with over 100,000 listings across the country.
8. Check with Local Schools
When I was in middle school and high school, I remember that my school subscribed to the newspaper so that we could keep up on current events.
I specifically remember one year in which we were required to look through the newspaper every day and save clippings that pertained to a specific subject of our choosing.
It’s likely that schools near you may continue to subscribe to the newspaper so that their students can stay informed and engaged with local and national news.
Again, it’s a little weird to just go into a school and ask for their newspaper coupon inserts, but if you have a connection to a particular school, it’s worth a shot.
9. Go to the Dollar Store
OK, so this one isn’t free, but $1 is close enough, right?
Many dollar stores like Dollar Tree sell the Sunday newspaper for just $1. Some stores may limit the number of papers you can buy, but you’re probably only interested in a few copies, anyway.
Just be sure to check the paper before you buy to make sure the coupon inserts are included.
10. Get a Discounted Subscription
Again, not free…but if you want a guaranteed way to get the coupon inserts each week, signing up for your own subscription is the way to go.
DiscountedNewspapers.com offers discounted subscriptions to over 400 national and local newspapers like USA Today, The Washington Post, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and more.
Other Sources of Free Coupons
I’ve been using coupons for over a decade now, and I can’t help but let you in on a few secrets. Here’s a big one: the newspaper isn’t the only way to get free coupons. In fact, it’s not even the best way.
If you’re wondering, “Where can I get coupons?” the newspaper is just one option. Other ideas include:
- Grocery Store Websites – many have digital coupons that you can add to your store rewards card
- Printable Coupon Websites like Coupons.com, PGGoodEveryday.com, and Pillsbury.com
- Best Coupon Apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51
- and lots more!
Another tip: Using coupons doesn’t save you money if you’re buying something just because you have a coupon for it. There’s a better way, and I outline it in this tutorial on Couponing for Beginners.
Getting a stash of free newspaper coupons is a great way to get started with your couponing journey.
Try one or more of these methods and see how much you save – not just with the coupons, but also with not having to buy the paper yourself.