Missing Sunday Coupon Inserts and Tips

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I have been receiving more and more emails from of you that on Sundays your local newspapers are omitting inserts.  For me, I’ve been very fortunate because my local Tampa Tribune has had every correct insert in it for at least the past 10 months.  I actually never used to purchase the Tribune.  When I first started couponing about 2.5 years ago, I always purchased the St Pete Times and it had the correct inserts.  I even had one paper delivered to my house each Sunday.  However, it seemed about a year into my couponing experience, the Times started omitting inserts here and there both in my delivered paper and in the papers I would purchase at the store.  I started checking out the Tribune and realizing that at the stores I shopped at for papers, the Tribune more often than not had the correct inserts. 

Many of you ask if I have the newspaper delivered to my house.  I don’t anymore.  I love the idea of getting papers delivered (yes, you can have one newspaper company deliver more than one paper to your home on Sundays!  ;)) but I am too much of a control freak.  I would prefer to go to my local store every Sunday before church and pick up my huge stack of papers.  I like doing this because, even though I’ve come to rely on the Tribune, I will still go through one of the papers in my stack to make sure it has the correct inserts in it.

Here is the thing about Sunday newspaper inserts.. every coupon insert company (SS, RP, GM, etc) in every newspaper regardless of what state you live in determines what markets they want to “advertise” in.  They will distribute more of their inserts in the areas they want to market in.  The other areas, they will withhold or just give a small portion of their inserts to the newspaper distributors.  I’ve done a lot of research into the insert problem and it seems that many newspapers will give delivery subscriptions the inserts first.  Then, if they have any inserts left, they will put the inserts into the papers sold by street vendors and stores. 

When I spoke a week ago at the Addicted to Saving 101 class in Bradenton, a common theme I heard from so many of you is that your local newspapers are not giving you ANY inserts.  There was one woman who would drive to another county just to make sure she was able to get the correct inserts each week.  I left the class really trying to think of ways we can all make sure that we get our inserts on a weekly basis..

Also – as a reminder – every Thursday and Saturday I let you know what coupon inserts to expect in Sunday’s papers.  That way, you know what to look for.  I use the website Sunday Coupon Preview which gives us a head’s up every week.

Below are some ideas I’ve come up with and I would LOVE for all of you to leave comments with your ideas as well since this seems to be a big problem.

1)  If you get your newspaper delivered on Sundays and it is missing an insert, contact your newspaper early on Sunday morning (before their cutoff time) and tell them what is missing.  If they omitted it by error, they should get the insert out to you.
2)  If your local newspapers are continually missing inserts, contact your newspaper company and complain.  They won’t be able to change anything because of one person’s complaints but if thousands of you complain, I know our voice will be heard.  (At the Bradenton class there were just under 350 people.. if all of you contacted your local papers, I’m thinking they might start to put pressure on the insert companies to provide your inserts.  Don’t you think?)
3)  Drive to different stores on Sundays.  I remember going to one store on a Sunday and finding that both the Times and Tribune were missing inserts.  I went to the store right next to it and the Tribune had the correct inserts.
4) When shopping for your inserts, always look to make sure at least one of the multiple papers you are purchasing has the correct inserts.  And, if you are really anal (like me), once you find a paper that has the correct inserts, scan through all of the multiple papers you are purchasing to make sure they all have the correct inserts!  I buy 12 papers a week (some for myself and some for a friend) and there is nothing that frustrates me more than getting home and realizing one of the 12 papers is missing papers!
4)  If you live near a big city, try going to the city to check out the papers.  Often big cities will get more inserts than small cities.
5)  Ask friends and family to save their inserts for you.  If they are not couponing (they should be though right? ;)) I am sure they would love to share their inserts with you!
6)  Considering purchasing full coupon inserts or even individual coupons online.  I have done this before and love it.  Always compare prices. 

Some of my favorites coupon clipping sites: 

  • Ebay – you can either bid on coupons/inserts or you can pay a full price using their “Buy it Now” feature. 
  • Coupons & Things by Dede – example pricing – two 3/6/11 SS Inserts cost $0.65 each.  Shipping is $2.73.
  • The Coupon Clippers

7) What are your ideas?  Please comments with the tips that work for you and your thoughts!

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  1. Karen says

    I’ve had that problem too with the Orlando Sentinel and the St. Pete Times… I just switched to the Tampa Tribune last week because I was so frustrated! (and you can’t beat the price! 50 cents every day!) I’m glad to hear they don’t usually have a problem.

    One problem I am now having more and more frequently is not being able to find a coupon in the insert it is supposed to be in. I understand that some coupons are regional and prices may vary and even once in a while one region may not get a coupon, but last night when I was trying to put together tonight’s Publix run I think it happened no less than 5 times – which I just find odd! One week a coupon was listed in the Red Plum, so I pulled that folder and looked through BOTH Red Plum inserts I had for that week with no luck. I know I don’t have the dates I got them wrong… I’m wondering if possibly the newspapers are throwing ads in randomly? Like maybe I didn’t get a Red Plum one week, but they stuck it in there the next week? (causing me to have a bad date on it?) Haven’t had time to research it further, but BOY is it frustrating! I told my fiance “I feel like I’m getting totally different coupon inserts than I’m supposed to!”

    • Karen says

      PS to my above – My term “prices” really means “dollar amount” and my ads = inserts! I’m not very good about using proper lingo but didn’t want to confuse anyone!

  2. says

    Thanks for the great article. I bought both the St Pete Times and the Tampa Tribune when I started couponing (about 10 months), and a majority of the time both papers had the same inserts but different values on some of the coupons. I have stopped buying the St Pete Times and only once have I had a problem not having all the inserts with the Tampa Tribune, which they promptly mailed them to me. Also, the Tampa Tribune also has 99% of the coupons listed on the preview and the same value of coupons as the preview.

    *Karen-I would love to get home delivery of the paper who did you talk to to get .50 for the entire week? I was quoted .50 for just Sunday delivery or .75 for the entire week delivery.

    • Karen says

      Lindy – Sorry to be confusing… I meant that the Tribunes cost 50 cents each day, including Sundays — I am used to the Orlando Sentinel which is $1.25 on Sundays (I think… my fiance is the one who buys them in exchange for me doing all the cutting!) or the St. Pete Times being $1.25 for a double. 50 cents each on Sunday is cheaper than both and it’s even better that they are the one that seems to be carrying the coupons most consistently!

  3. Lisa says

    I buy the St. Pete Times too. The last 2 weeks there was only an SS insert. I am getting royally pissed off about it. Maybe, I too should switch to the Tribune.

  4. Lisa says

    I live in Jacksonville, fl and get the Flordia times union and I bought five this past Sunday and it only had red plum inserts in it. I went back to the store b/c I was pretty sure there was suppose to be a smart source insert too.

    I went almost through the whole stand and found some that had both but most of them were missing the smart source. Weird and annoying at the same time!

  5. Di says

    Karen, I have the same experience. 4 times out of 5 when I use a coupon database or read about a coupon on a blog and go back to my inserts, I don’t have the coupon. It is frustrating.

  6. Melissa says

    I am over in Lakeland, and from what I have been told about paper distribution is.. you have to have home delivery to guarntee the coupons. The national coupon companies are no longer paying the local papers to put the inserts in the paper boxes or newstands. How the Ledger works is home delivery first,and then any that are left are randomly distrubuted throughout the county to the stores and then boxes. I am teaching classes over this direction and have worked out a deal with the paper for half price delivery. This is the info I have been instructed to tell people who are having problems.

  7. says

    I am well known at my local CVS (from lots of trips there) so i just told the cashier (that is there every sunday morning) that i have been missing lots of inserts, and would she mind if i just looked thru my papers and make sure all the inserts are there. she was so nice and said of course i could, that she has heard lots of people saying they are not getting their inserts lately. i just make sure that i do it where she can see me so that she knows i m not trying to steal inserts. I also order inserts on the weeks there is only 1 insert. it is cheaper to buy them on those weeks than it is to buy the paper. I also live in Tampa so i have found that the Tampa tribune almost ALWAYS has more inserts than the St pete times. But i still always look first. (=

  8. Kathy says

    The Sarasota Herald Tribune no longer puts coupon inserts in their papers sold in stores. I was told by a person selling them (in Albertsons) that in order to get the coupon inserts, you have to get it delivered!

    The Bradenton Herald generally has all of the coupon inserts, however this past Sunday I was missing the RP inserts. I called and emailed the paper and no one ever responded.

  9. Michelle Ace says

    The Tampa Tribune said that they would have drop off locations in the Sarasota/Bradenton area if they have enough subscribers interested. (I learned this from them at the TrueCouponing Workshop in Bradenton I attended a few weeks before your workshop in bradenton). The Tampa Tribune was at their workshop which had significantly less people than attending yours!) so perhaps you could get them on board for your Sarasota/Bradenton people and have a link on your site from them for drop off locations to order our Tampa Tribunes!

    • Ileana says

      I have bought both Tampa Tribune and St. Pete with both of them missing inserts. I go into the store and go thru St. pete first. I did get the information from True Couponing on the Tampa Tribune delivery service. You can have up to 10 delivered @ .50 each. There is a contac person to call if your inserts are not in so that they can be delivered to you. I think this is what I am going to do now.

  10. Gladys says

    I am in Cape Coral, Fl and had the same problem this week with News-Press. Looked through several newspapers and none had the Smart Source inserts…only RedPlum!!

    • Desiree Ricks says

      I live in Cape Coral as well and have had many problems recently with missing inserts. My Mom was over visiting 2 weeks ago and went out to get the papers on Sunday morning. She went to the CVS on the corner of Del Prado and Pine Island (in the Lowe’s plaza) and the cashier there said that they always check to make sure the papers have the inserts before selling them. So that is where I will be getting mine from now on.

  11. Linda says

    Unfortunately, I live in Sumter County,where there is no delivery available for either the Trib or the Times, I have been driving into another town to buy papers, only to find out there are no inserts in the store or box papers. I was getting the Daily Commercial delivered, but recently discontinued my subscription when the inserts stopped. I guess I will have to go to mail order.

  12. Ann says

    I am not sure if the advertisers caught on early here in Austin, TX. but the inserts that are listed for the upcoming newspaper arrive in my mailbox with weekly grocery ads every Wed! Despite the newspaper advertising that there coupons; are inserts I very rarely find them in the paper here so it is difficult to acquire more then one insert.

  13. Teresa says

    Liza, you must be a mind reader!!! This past Sunday I got a late start on buying papers (I usually do the paper boxes). Every box I normally go to for the Tampa Trib was sold out. I was on a time crunch and just decided that since the Times boxes were full just to grab some of those. Stupid me being in a hurry forgot to check before I paid for my six papers….no inserts in any of them! I didn’t find this out until Monday when I sat down to put my inserts away. Never again will I give that newspaper money! Every time I make the mistake in purchasing that paper, I’m missing inserts or the coupons are different than the trib. I have definitely learned my lesson this week! Thanks for all you do for us.

  14. kimberly lawson says

    I have been buying 4 papers each week, and sometimes 4 St. Pete Times and 4 Citrus Chronicle to make sure I get all, as between the two I usually get everything. Here’s the issue that I think we are all overlooking, and perhaps the coupon providers can offer an alternative….Do we realize how many trees we’re killing just to get the coupons? How many are there of us on this site? Times 4,6, 8 etc papers each week? Why can’t there be a package we can purchase that has JUST the coupons and save all the paper that we are not going to read 12 times…..just a thought…..

  15. Kathy says

    I wrote earlier about my Bradenton Herald not having the Red Plum insert on 3/6 and not hearing back. I finally did get a response to my email and today received 2 Red Plum inserts and 1 SS insert from 3/6!! They also mailed me a P&G insert as well! So, it is worth emailing or calling! ALL of the inserts were in this past Sunday’s paper on 3/13.

  16. Daryl says

    We have been getting all of our inserts in both the Tampa Tribune and the St. Pete times. However, some of the manufacturer inserts are missing. This week its was the two Nivea $2/1 coupons in the RP. Last week there was a good manufactures coupon missing from the SS. Why is this? and what can I do to all manufactures coupons in the inserts?

  17. Nicole L. says

    Hello all! I’m new to couponing and would like to purchase copies of the Tampa tribune in stores rather than have it delivered to my home. Anyone from the Wesley Chapel/New Tampa area know of any good spots to purchase where missing inserts aren’t much of an issue? Any info would be greatly apprecaited. Thanks!

  18. Katie says

    Hi, I know this was posted last year, but I’m hoping you will still see this! I am having the hardest time finding P&G inserts in the News Press! I’ve contacted both the News Press and Cape Coral Breeze to find out how I can get these inserts… But have had no such luck with either! I’m new to the area (from NW Indiana where I never had this problem) and could use some help! Thanks and hope to hear from anyone who can help with this :)
    Feel free to email me if anyone has any tips, or if anyone wants to start a coupon club, as I don’t know anyone here that’s into couponing!
    [email protected]

  19. Jackie says

    I’ve read all your comments and wanted to share a little insight from the newspaper standpoint. I work for a newspaper and we too are aware of the insert problems. As a newspaper we would LOVE more inserts which means more advertising revenue for us. When we receive the insert shipments, we know instantly if and where we’ll be short. At our paper we have a team that work very hard trying to convince the advertisers that we need more inserts to cover our total circulation but we can’t get some of them to budge. We’ve even had some major retailers cut back and eliminate some areas altogether. We love hearing from our customers but there’s really not alot we can do. Believe me when I say that newspapers are on your side. Again, more inserts = money. I guess I just wanted to give a shout out for all the newspapers nationwide that are overwhelmed by hundreds of phone calls about an issue that is not always in our control. Newspaper are not ignoring you, trust me. We even know it’s an issue approximately 3 months before you even know. Again, we’re doing everything we possibly can to please our customers and we appreciate your patience and loyalty. We love you couponers!

  20. Jacky says

    And what options do you have if you pay for 4 papers and someone has rummaged through the inserts and taken all the Red Plums out? Will they reimburse you or did I just waste my money?

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