Coupon “buying” becomes a big deal!

June 18, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Coupons 

A couple of days ago I noticed that some pretty big coupon service sites weren’t processing new orders. I dug around the internet and found some interesting information.

So I wrote an article about the future of buying coupons and inserts from services and from places like eBay. It’s a subject I’ve mentioned before here at Green Bay Consumer.

And then a funny thing happened.  My story got posted by one blogger who follows this site, then another, then another.  It got posted on some very popular couponing discussion boards, sites and blogs, many of which I had never heard of.  In short, my little post went viral.

Wow! All of a sudden the entire couponing community had it’s eyes turned to me as The Oracle on this story! Gulp.

My journalism training kicked in and I wanted to do a follow-up story.  All my internet research turned up very little beyond the speculation I presented.  And I wanted answers, so I wrote to Jill Cataldo, an author, teacher and more importantly, a coupon industry consultant.

You may remember that  Jill’s the one who dissected TLC’s Extreme Couponing when it appeared one of couponers was committing fraud. In short, Jill’s the expert I wanted and needed to talk to.

Jill replied almost immediately that she was working on a piece that began in April of this year when she attended a conference for the Association for Coupon Professionals:

“At the conference, the CiC (Coupon Information Corporation) gave a presentation where they said they are focusing hard on sellers this year… and that ultimately, they would like to shut them all down. They do consider ANY coupons sold to be void at that point.”

Jill just wrote a great piece on how manufacturers are looking to end the buying and selling of coupons.  You can read that article here. And while I bust on TLC’s Extreme Couponing for making life more difficult for “Normal Couponing”, this is something the industry as a whole has been working on for some time.

Whether we like it or not.  Growing pains are just that, aren’t they?

Change coming for Coupon “buying”?

June 16, 2011 by · 84 Comments
Filed under: Coupons 

If you are like me and buy some of  your newspaper coupon inserts from a service, there is a major development. Today two sites that I know of (and probably more) posted that they are temporarily unable to process new orders but did not go into detail.   One actually sent an email to customers explaining the situation.

As many of you know I am a newspaper manager. We received emails today from our corporate office regarding coupon distribution and disposal. 

Apparently Red Plum, Smart Source and P&G are filing suit against eBay for allowing the buying and selling of coupons. They are also in talks regarding the same with TLC. According to them it`s all considered coupon fraud.

Before, we were allowed to give away the leftover q`s and those returned from papers that did not sell. We must now destroy all leftover inserts immediately. Newspaper employees are allowed to take home ONE insert per family member , per household.

They are going to do everything possible to make it almost impossible to get coupons without buying the actual newspapers. They are also going to shut down all online sites that sell whole coupon inserts.

So, it appears MAJOR change is coming.

Of course, I’ve had lots of crazy theories over the years:  that the insert services had someone who worked at the printer and ran extra copies, someone worked for the newspaper and the bosses let them have all the extra inserts, someone worked for the newspapers and did unauthorized collection of inserts, that they worked at gas stations or places that sold a lot of newspapers, were newspaper delivery people, etc. Or that they simple buy a huge subscription amount that gives them a discount which then allows them to get many copies of inserts.  But again, these are all just my theories, not facts.

I do know for a fact that the Green Bay Press-Gazette does not give away extra inserts because Circulation Manager Dave Sielski told me when I interviewed him a few weeks ago. He said they have strict agreements with the advertisers to destroy extra inserts.

Now, don’t panic. My favorite go-to site for whole inserts is appropriately called Whole Coupon Inserts. They posted the following statement on their Facebook page:

I was contacted by, a representative from, SVP News America Marketing, GM Smart Source iGroup. After looking into sources of our supply, I received an email back stating that “As long as you are buying the newspapers at retail rates or subscriber rates, I don’t believe there is an issue”.

So for those who get their inserts through legitimate sources don’t have anything to worry about. For those that buy them off eBay or some sites where their acquisition of inserts is unknown, the future is questionable.

And you can be sure that this is further backlash from the TV show Extreme Couponing.

But don’t get me started on that one…
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UPDATE: Please read my follow-up story on this hot topic here!

Sunday coupon preview: 5 inserts?!

April 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Coupons 

What coupon inserts are going to be in this Sunday’s paper?  Sounds like it will be a big week with up to FIVE inserts, two from Smart Source, two from Red Plum and one from P&G.

You can check the rundown at Sunday Coupon Preview.  It will tell what inserts and more importantly what coupons are in the inserts. You can even subscribe to their email.  It’s great for those who do NOT have newspaper subscriptions but decide week-to-week whether or not to buy the paper.

The problem with the site and many coupon insert preview sites is that not all the coupons listed will be in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

One week I looked at one Green Bay Press-Gazette insert by Smart Source.  There were 34 coupons inside.  The ones I saw for sale at Whole Coupon Inserts had an additional 65 coupons!  And that was just one insert.  That particular week there were five inserts nationwide–GBPG only had four and they were all very thin compared to the ones I bought from Florida.

Also remember you can get $1 Sunday papers at Tracy’s Groceries and Uncle Bucks.

Sunday Coupon Inserts

January 21, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Coupons 

What the heck did we do before the internet?  Did you know that there’s a place you can go to find out what is going to be in the Sunday newspaper inserts?  It’s called simply Sunday Coupon Preview.  It will tell what inserts and more importantly what coupons are in the inserts.  It’s a great site for those of us who do NOT have newspaper subscriptions but decide week-to-week whether or not to run to Tracy’s Groceries or Uncle Bucks  to pick up a Sunday paper for $1.00.

The problem with the Sunday coupon preview sites are that not all the coupons listed will be in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.  In fact, many of them will not be in the inserts based upon advertisers’ choice.  Last week I bought several papers anticipating some coupons that I saw on the Sunday Coupon Preview website and NOT ONE was in the Green Bay paper!  UGH!  But you CAN get ahold of those coupons if you want.

One place is Whole Coupon Inserts. And no kidding, they sell whole inserts from newspapers that DO have most of the coupons listed on the preview sites.  For example, I looked at the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s insert by Smart Source this past Sunday.  There were 34 coupons inside.  The ones I saw for sale at Whole Coupon Inserts had ALL of the 34 coupons the Press-Gazette had AND an additional 65 coupons!  And that was just one insert.  If there are a bunch of coupons in a particular insert that you anticipate using, this is a great option.

What’s the cost?  Well, that depends on how valuable the coupons you want are to you.  I blogged about it this summer and gave a few examples.  If you are an avid coupon user and take advantage of double-coupon days at Copps/Roundys/Pick-N-Save, then the cost will be minimal.  And if you are going to buy multiple copies of the same insert, the cost drops even further.

Your other option is to pay someone for the coupons you want clipped (It is technically illegal to sell coupons so you are paying someone for their time).  I like My Coupon Hunter.   I tried their subscription service one month and found it AWESOME.  I tried the $10 for 60 coupons option.  Didn’t matter which coupons I picked and I didn’t have to pick them all at once.  As inserts came out each week during the subscription period, I was able to pick and choose the ones I wanted and even ordered some for a friend.  Since the $10 included shipping costs, this was the best choice for me because otherwise I would have had to pay for shipping each week.  There are also other subscription offers but I found this one was more than adequate.  When the month was almost done I just made sure I had totalled 60 coupons so I know I got my full subscription’s worth.

Most of the coupon/insert sites will also have the information and inserts ready for shipping a few days before Sunday, meaning you can place your order and sometimes get your coupons as early as Monday.  Pretty cool!

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