Why your print newspaper subscription is worthless


Recently, there has been an influx of newspaper subscriptions that haven’t received coupon inserts. The LA Times has claimed to several SCS readers (via customer support) that there has been a shortage of newspaper inserts and people are not getting them.

before we get into why this could be… let us go back 3 or 4 years ago…

I once wrote constantly about why you should get a newspaper subscription. If you want to get your weekly coupons, I suggest skipping the newspaper stands or stores and getting print newspapers delivered. I suggested this because coupon theft was on the rise. Yes. People steal coupons from newspapers.


During the extreme couponing hype— I was subjected to coupon theft quite often. I would go to the newsstand to purchase a print newspapers, only to find that the entire stack of papers was gone… or to find that the papers had been searched through and coupon inserts missing. At that point, I assumed that people were catching on to couponing and didn’t want to pay $3 per paper for just the inserts (because when you are a couponer– you don’t READ the paper! 😉 ) So, I got several newspaper subscriptions that were delivered to my home…

Makes sense doesn’t it? Go right to the source to ensure that the money I spend to get inserts is sent right to me. That way, I no longer need to worry about people stealing coupons I need to help support my family.

After a while, the newspaper companies caught on to the theft in newsstands and stopped putting them in those boxes that you put your money in and made sure to sell them only in the grocery stores. problem solved? Nope!

Current day:

Getting your print newspapers delivered is no longer a sure bet of getting inserts. Now those that stole from coupons and papers from the newsstands have stepped it up a bit and are going directly to the supplier.

On Instagram–you see several “coupon fairies” posting daily “stops” of where you can pick up and purchase multiple inserts. Then there is a long list of people commenting and supporting the purchase of inserts. No questions being asked of WHERE this person got a trunkful of coupon inserts.  People are making coupon selling a business. Why?

All because you might purchase from them. 

Facebook recently closed a slew of private Facebook groups do to coupon selling and purchasing. So, I ask you… don’t you think there is a problem?

Those that are purchasing print newspapers and trying to obtain coupon inserts the right way will eventually suffer. Eventually, you will find that you will no longer be able to get coupons in the paper and your newspaper subscription will be worthless.

This post isn’t meant to deter you from couponing or getting a subscription. It is simply meant to bring awareness that the more we purchase from these “coupon fairies” the more you support and contribute to it, the more the demand will become. They will continue to steal and you will continue to buy. Where the demand becomes so great that those who purchase the newspapers will get exactly what they are paying for… just a newspaper.

Nowadays, I still get a print newspaper– it is a hit or miss when I do get inserts but I have stopped fighting it. I no longer ask for redelivery because it never comes.

How do I coupon now? 

Printable coupons 

Cashback offers

Are you noticing this trend? 

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  • Jenn says:

    I pretty much stopped couponing because of the people buying everything up the second the store opens, and a lot of the time I am missing inserts. At least I can donate the newspapers to the vets office (they handle all the kitties for the cat rescue I volunteer for), so they go to a good cause.

  • Koupons4Karing says:

    …yes, I have had an issue both I in purchasing papers in gas stations with missing inserts and the inserts missing from my delivered paper. So frustrating! When shopping a few weeks back I ran into a fellow couponer and while looking at an item she offered a few coupons. I admitted my shock at how she had so many coupons to give away…she smugly smiled and said she knows a “coupon fairy” and offered no other information. Makes me sad that it is becoming more and more a negative thing to be a couponer…

  • Lynda says:

    Just a total shame of what couponing has become. Makes me very sad!

  • Laura says:

    I’ve also always been amazed that some people will support this “theft” through buying coupons through coupon services. It’s even advertised regularly on other couponing blogs – unbelievable. I really haven’t had a problem getting my inserts in my subscription, but I only get one. If there are especially good weeks of coupons I need (which rarely happens), I buy one or more extra papers at the store. My daughter has multiple subscriptions and can count on not getting her papers on weeks of high number of inserts/paper. I’ve noticed though, at least it seems to me, that the weeks with a high number of inserts don’t seem to have the highest value coupons. I so much appreciate that you don’t promote the coupon services as some other blogs do. It’s an important reason why I think your site is the best.

  • Joan says:

    I’ll buy newspapers at the grocery store but I always check them first to make sure the coupon inserts are still in them. Have you done that too, Josie??? It’s the only way to know for sure that the coupon inserts are still in there.

  • Joan says:

    Oh, and one more thing—when I used to get newspapers delivered to my home they would occasionally be missing inserts. So, I would call the newspaper company and they’d deliver another newspaper to me. It was annoying to have to call to report this but at least I got my coupons and if my delivery boy was stealing them then he knew not to steal them from my house anymore!!!

    • Josie says:

      Joan, Yes, I call and ask for re delivery and nothing happens. I’m not the only one though.. its happening to a lot of people.. it is most def. not coincidental.

      • Joan says:

        OMG—I had no idea what a big problem this was. I really appreciate that you brought to my attention what that these coupon services area really just thieves stealing our newspapers from stores, newspaper distribution centers, and people’s driveways. I wonder if there is a coupon service out there that is getting their coupons in an honest way? For example, I used to go dumpster diving. I guess that’s an honest way to get coupons, right? Would you please let us know if you know of a coupon service that is doing this honestly and not stealing inserts?

        • Kristen says:

          There is no “honest” way considering the media groups only distribute the inserts to newspapers to which they have contractual agreements with. Even dumpster diving is forbidden as it is unlawful.

  • Terri says:

    Is this just a Southern Cal thing? I live in Northern California and got a newspaper subscription through Groupon so I didn’t have to pay full price and I never had my coupon inserts stolen. But now the Sacramento Bee delivers the Sunday Your Essential Savings for FREE which contains the same coupon inserts and several of the store ads including Target. I had to call customer service four times to start getting it delivered regularly, but now it comes every week and I don’t have to pay for coupons! Have you heard of the YES edition in your area? It is becoming pretty popular up here. I see it in many of my neighbors driveways.

  • Tara says:

    This is EXACTLY why I refuse to buy from a ‘coupon fairy ‘. It just doesn’t feel right. I always wondered where in the world are they getting all those inserts from?? I have 2 subscriptions and that is enough for me. Occasionally I will trade with others on your fb trading page, but that’s it.

    • Debbie says:

      Oops, I thought a coupon fairy was a person who gives coupons away for free. I’ve called myself a coupon fairy lol.

  • Angie B. says:

    And here I thought I was the only one! I get one paper at home and one delivered to work. The one that goes to my work rarely gets coupons, and I thought perhaps it was because it was delivered to a commercial building. Guess I was wrong.

    I barely coupon anymore, I just shop sales, or print coupons for items that I use frequently. If I want an item that is a good sale price, I have to go out of my way to visit stores in more affluent neighborhoods, because I’ve found they are stocked better and don’t usually sell out of sale items as quickly.

    But I do appreciate the knowledge I’ve gained from when I couponed more frequently, like stock up prices, and sales cycles. I still feel like I save a lot of money.

  • Rosie says:

    I sometimes am missing inserts in my delivered paper (also sometimes get extras) or don’t get one of my papers, but I call and complain and they usually re-deliver. If they miss the redelivery, I call again and they’ve always been great at giving me credit worth more than that insert or paper. I hardly ever pay for my LAT now bc they give me credit when they mess up my delivery. And since I only pay $1 per paper since I get 6 a week (big family), it’s WAY cheaper than buying them at the store- they’re usually $3! It’s a pain to have to call and complain and follow up with them (sometimes for a few days straight), but it’s worth it to me.

  • Kelly A. says:

    This has really been a problem for me lately all the way up here in Bakersfield too. To make matters worse, the same lady (the store clerks say) buys like ten papers, takes the inserts out, and then puts them back in the stack of papers.

  • Kelly A. says:

    Just wanted to add…I really like couponing, so in a way, it’s really sad. But on the bright side, I don’t rely on it. I am also a whole foods, have a big garden, can, make my own cleaning supplies, type person. I believe the natural way will actually save me more time and money in the long run and be healthier for my family too.

  • Pam T says:

    This is an interesting topic. People stealing inserts for re-sale or personal use out of the newspapers. Yet I often see people bragging about ‘hauls’ of huge numbers of the same items here on So Cal Savers.. Some of these people have reached the status of being some kind of ‘guru’ and are very popular. Or removing hang tags from bottles in one store and using them somewhere else. Or taking the peelies off products and not buying the product. I find it all reprehensible, and for those of you who do it, please don’t justify it by saying that you donate said goods.

  • Jessica says:

    Supply and demand. If no one bought from coupon selling services, they’d stop thieving.

  • Daryl Ann says:

    Truth in South Carolina they have a coupon mafia. They sell inserts before even submitted.

  • Jewels says:

    I thought a coupon fairy was someone who left coupons on grocery store shelves or gave stuff away for free.

  • Lori says:

    Yeah, couponing is not what it used to be. I used to love it and would joke with my friends that it was my therapy. A few months ago, I walked into a store to purchase a few papers and to my surprise, there weren’t inserts in ANY of the papers. I then went down the street to another store and the same thing…the writing was on the wall. I haven’t tried to coupon since because I refuse to “fight” to get my inserts!

  • marlene says:

    ive had this problem i wasnt recieving my paper for a couple weeks thought that someone was stealing it but one day i was awake going out of town at 5:30 am and the paper wasnt there. i figured that its been weeks so they didnt deliver it so i called to complain and they resent it and they refunded me 3 weeks

  • Sarah Smith says:

    I don’t understand how someone can steal free newspaper? My fairy always gives me extra free paper (it’s thrown on our street) and he will leave extra for me. It’s free and it has all inserts in them. So how is that stealing? I asked him what he does with the left overs and he said he trashes them.

    • Julie says:

      Sarah, sounds like what you’re doing is fine. 🙂 As long as you don’t turn around and sell those. If they were free to begin with, that’s how it should stay. What most are talking about are those that take the inserts (especially stolen ones!) and sell them to profit themselves. It’s just not right. They are meant to come with a subscription, and that’s it. Trading coupons after that. 🙂

  • Brittany says:

    You know I’ve alwAys wondered about this. I’m on Instagram quite a bit and you see these suppliers with hundreds even thousands of inserts (stacks upon stacks) and posting prices for sale. I learned the hArd way that if you attempt to ask where these coupons come from you will be “attacked” and told that we don’t ask how coupon fairys how they get they’re inserts. I thought that was very bizarre! I assumed these people knew some one who worked for the newspapers or the coupon companies themselves and were getting them that way.

  • Kim in Rancho SD says:

    Sorry to hear it’s not just my delivery guy 🙁

  • VANESSA says:


  • Terry says:

    Wow. I always thought it was quite clear that you are not allowed to sell coupons. I used to trade coupons which is legal to do. The funny thing is I don’t even really coupon for myself, mostly for church and work supplies and shampoo for my friend who has 4 girls LOL. I used to get a lot of coupons because the people in my neighborhood would all recycle in the community recycling bin. I got tired of couponing because I would find shelves cleared. Any how, I really hope you bring back the coupon previews, Josie! They really helped me to gather coupons when I need them and leave them be when I don’t.

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