Reader Question: Differences in Newspaper Insert Coupons?

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Reader Melinda just sent in a question and I seem to be getting similar questions several times a week so I wanted to address it for everyone.

Newspaper insert coupons vary according to region.  Sometimes that means in Chicago they get a $1 coupon for x product and in Los Angeles the coupon for the same product is only .25.  It can also mean that Chicago gets the $1 coupon and Phoenix doesn’t get the coupon at all.  There is no way to predict what coupons you will get (or even what coupons I will get).  I see advance copies of inserts that I share with you weekly HERE.  Those are from specific areas of the country and the chances that your coupon inserts will be identical are very slim.  There are usually some variations and the coupon previews are just to give you an idea of what is to come.

For the most part a larger newspaper is going to have the most coupons.  I can’t tell you what coupons will come in your local paper.  The best thing to do is simply check it out yourself.  I would recommend buying whatever newspapers are available to you and just compare which one seems to have the most inserts or the best coupons.  If you live in a small town you might compare your local paper to a neighboring city and just see which one is better.  A city 10 minutes away from you can have totally different coupons than the paper you normally buy- so you really just need to look carefully for a week or two and then decide which paper you want to buy or subscribe to.

Also, if you intend to buy multiple copies of a newspaper to get a specific coupon you always want to check the paper first to be sure your area actually got it.  Just thumb through the paper at the newsstand and see if the coupon is included before you purchase a stack of newspapers.

If I reference a coupon or you see a store circular that indicates a coupon is coming and you can not find it in your inserts that means your area did not get the coupon.  Other areas of the country did get it.

Also some areas of the country do not get the RedPlum inserts.  RedPlum has elected to mail people the coupons rather than have them included in the newspaper.  The Philadelphia area is an example as RedPlum has decided to stop including the inserts in the paper and they will mail them to you instead.  The advantage is that you get a free copy of the insert and the disadvantage is that you only get one copy.

You can go right over HERE to RedPlum and enter your zip code.  It will tell you if the inserts are available in your area and which newspaper they will come in.

In general, there is no resource for printing the coupons online that are included in the weekly newspaper with the exception of the occasional overlap.

I hope that clears up some of your questions!

I am slowly updating all of my beginners resources so I’d love to know what other aspects of using coupons are confusing to you.  Just leave a comment and I will try to clarify things!


  1. Christina says

    Has anyone had luck with getting Red Plum to actually mail the coupons? As soon as I found out that they were no longer going to be included in my newspaper, I went to their website and filled out a request- I waited 2 months and nothing, so I called. Their only response to me: You should be getting them. I don’t know why you’re not.

    So I’ve been without Red Plum coupons for a year now.

  2. Lindsey says

    How do you handle your coupons once you are in the store? I’ve been trying to pull out the coupons I am planning to use and set them in a seperate envelope. But then I will see something on sale, and get sidetracked flipping thru my accordian file to see if I have that coupon and if I do, I’ll want to buy it! I am definitley saving money on what I buy, yet at the same time feel like I am spending more beacuse I want to shop more often now! Make any sense?

  3. Jenn says

    You can print RedPlum coupons online. I’ve found many to be similar to what I’m receiving in my newspaper inserts.

  4. says

    My mom and I live five miles apart in the same city, get the same paper, and we even have different coupons sometimes. For example, a few months ago I got a $1 electrasol coupon and hers was much higher values ($2.50 or something, can’t remember). Makes me crazy!

  5. Anne says

    This is kind of an unrelated question, but I’m wondering if there are any websites or blogs for deals at BJs? I know sometimes the warehouse clubs aren’t as good of a deal once you factor in the membership price, but BJs will let you use coupons and you can stack theirs with manufacturer ones. I’d love to find a list with the best deals each month with the coupon match up.

  6. admin says

    Jenn I don’t want to confuse anyone. I post Red Plum printable coupons on the time and you can click on the logo on the right side of the blog to see what coupons they have available. Then you can compare them to the ones that are listed in the coupon preview and you will see only a very small number of them are available to print. In my opinion, the printables Red Plum offers are no where near as good as the actual inserts. I just had this question twice last week and I want to make sure it is clear- as I said there is some overlap but you can not just print the exact same coupons that are in the inserts. I would encourage you to check both of them out to compare.

  7. Tara says

    thank you so much for this! I spent hours last week searching for a Finish/Electrosol coupon, that was not in my insert LoL! now I know why.

  8. amanda sheridan says

    Hello, just a quick question. I am sure this has been answered once. I hope makes sense. I am on week 2 of this couponing thing and trying to get the hang of it all.

    If I go to and print out coupons can i just copy those coupons or do they have a different barcode? I have read all of your 101’s and they are great! Just wanted to see if you know of anyone in my area, so maybe I could touch base with them and just have someone close to me. I live in Spring, Texas (which is right outside of Houston). Thanks again for all your hard work!

  9. Charlene says

    NO!!!! NO!!!! Amanda that is something that a lot of people ask so please don’t feel bad but it is absolutely and most positively fraud to copy coupons. It stinks and no matter what the circumstances- like you print one and the second copy gets eaten by the printer- whatever the case it you can not ever, ever photocopy coupons. Sadly you only get however many copies you can print yourself. I have a PC and a laptop so I can get 4 copies of most coupons.

  10. Shannon says

    Hi Charlene,

    I’m NEW to the wonderful world of frugality and couponing, and I’m so happy that a dear friend of mine (also here in No. Calif.) turned me on to your site. What a blessing it is to a slightly overwhelmed newbie such as myself! I have a cousin in AZ. who is madly into couponing and she’s helping me along too. I’m a homeschooling Mama of 6 (the youngest are identical twin girls 7 months old) and like everyone else, my husband and I have been feeling the financial crunch of things. After praying about ways to earn extra money and/or shave off $$ from our budget, the doors just began to open to the world of couponing and making every $ count! Thank you so much for all that you do here on MFA!

    One of my main questions is how do you “see” the weekly ads for CVS, etc. long before they are available and how are you able to do a “Sunday Coupon Review” such as this? Do you have a magic ball? LOL
    I’m not asking for your sources or anything like that, I’m just curious (and a newbie and have no clue about any of this!:)
    Blessings to you!

  11. Charlene says

    The drugstore ads are available a few weeks ahead. You can see the CVS ads by checking out the blog The Sunday previews are a little trickier to find and my friend Shannon digs them up.

  12. Rose says

    Our coupons here are mostly always off 2 or 3 instead of 1 like other places. I hate that! So I have to buy the good coupons. I’ve tried different papers, but haven’t been able to get the good ones here.

  13. harriet schmitz says

    Luv your site. curious to know if anyone else has the problem of not receiving any coupons in their paper. Called the Newspaper and they stated they never receive enough. Find it strange that they are very consistent in not having them in. time to cancel my subscription. Thanks for listening/your hard work.

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