Sunday, February 8, 2009

Newspapers, Coupons, and Doing Our Part

Sunday morning begins the quest to pick up the staple of my coupon savings plan, the Sunday newspaper. I get sentimental when I pickup my extra copies of the Sunday paper to replenish my coupon files.

When Becca was born and we fell into poverty, I found that a dollar or two invested in a Sunday paper would help stretch my budget allowing me feed our family of eight on very little. With a dying baby, a job loss back in 1989 we took on early morning paper routes for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune to help feed our struggling family.

In time our paper routes multiplied and with that multiplication, so did my coupons. Saturday afternoons were spent putting the four sections of the paper together and sticking around to help the Depot manager clean up. We were rewarded by getting to take home the extra stray coupons.

Newspapers and Coupons paid the bills while my husband Jim went through two years of under-graduate course work and four years of medical school. People cannot believe that we were able to provide for a family of 8, including a critically ill baby on Newspapers. Up at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning we would begin our eight hour shift. Monday through Saturday we slept in until 3:00 as Jim and I took turns taking one of our teenagers out to deliver our as many as three weekday paper routes. On Weekends we often added downed routes to our normal 800 papers. The Yurcek team had the delivery system down, we didn't need a health club or to exercise. The newspapers provided our workouts, we walked miles, lifted and stacked the heavy bundles of papers. Through snow, rain, sleet, freezing Minnesota winters, we delivered our papers in the wee hours of the morning. We were fortunate to have nursing services for our daughter Becca so we could go out and work. The little ones were bundled up into their sleeping bags or stayed home with our oldest daughter to sleep.

We did whatever it took to keep a roof over our heads and bargain hunting, frugal shopping, and coupons kept our family fed.

In this economic downturn everywhere in the media we are hearing about saving money and being frugal and coupons are making a comeback. I recently joined the ranks of the frugal coupon saving bloggers. Hundreds to thousands of followers are joining the ranks of the thrifty. The new vogue--being thrifty, frugal and using coupons! I was in vogue ahead of time.

I remember back to when we struggled the most, my children's tears when they came home from school ashamed of their being taunted by kids for being on free lunch. The whispering of neighbors and church family looking down on us for being "poor". But we were proud, we worked hard, and my children are now young adults. The kids have embraced their fathers leading, knowing the value of a college education, they coupon, they bargain hunt, they have always worked hard and knew the value of a dollar. My heart is warmed when the cellphone rings with one of my children calling informing me of their latest deal. They watched and learned as we all struggled together. Today we no longer have to struggle, my husband is a surgeon. We still are frugal, we have to pay off student loans, our debt and save for retirement. I will always coupon.

Recently it has become harder to find my most favorite Sunday papers. By 7:00 am the local Kwik Trip which had already upped its Sunday order to accommodate the growing number of couponers in our tiny rural community. The piles of the Milwaukee Journal has dwindled. The two other papers have coupons but I have found the larger city newspapers have a larger selection. My coupon friends are recruiting new couponers everytime we shop, they watch the cashiers with our piles of coupons and they are shocked at the frugal total. I am proud to be able to teach and share my strategies. the disadvantage, I can't find my Chicago Tribune Newspaper. I used to be able to out by 9:00 am and still get my papers. I was out by 6:30 and still couldn't get the paper. The grocery store opens at 7:00 and I will have to stake out the door to get my prized Chicago Tribune.

January brought the news that the newspaper industry has come upon hard times. In January our former employer the Minneapolis Star and Tribune was reported going into Bankruptcy. Followed by the Chicago Tribune in February. The New York Times Newspaper is on the bankruptcy watch list.

As the newspaper circulation has been dwindling, the newspapers need to write more articles about frugal living and coupons. They should be working with the manufacturers to get more coupon sections, when you increase coupons they get more people buying more "extra papers". With the rise of those who are like me running out to pick up extra copies of the Sunday papers to get our coveted coupons, we are not only saving money with coupons, we are doing our part to help the Bankrupt Newspapers. On the downside, as my daughter Becca informed me, I am killing trees, but at least we recycle.

I did my part to help the Bankrupt Chicago Tribune newspaper with my three Copies and 3 Milwaukee Journals and our home delivered Dubuque Telegraph Herald. This week there were four sections of coupons. I am now very thankful that I no longer need to deliver them. My adopted daughter wants a job, we may begin her journey to employment with delivering the Tuesday shopper, while this Mom returns to driving papers again. We delivered newspapers for seven years, it was a hard time, but I fondly look back at the good times we had working side by side with my children.

Coupons, I still use them, and now with all the internet resources for finding the deals, I no longer have to spend all Sunday clipping and matching them up to the local ads. Spending an hour on Sunday mornings clipping and organizing my coupon files I can save hundreds of dollars a month on groceries and household goods. I now realize why coupons mean so much to me, and cause me such sentimentality, it reminds me of where we have come from and how far we have come.

To all you frugal coupon followers, thank you for doing your part to help support the struggling newspaper industry with all our extra newspaper purchases while saving money.


Bargain Briana said...

Cute that your kids call you about the latest deals! I'm hoping my children end up like that too! :)

Great point about keeping the newspapers in business. I buy 2-3 a weekend sometimes more if there are good coupons!

Amanda @ said...

What a great post, thank you so much for sharing your story! I think that it can be a major struggle to raise frugally-minded children in a family who has plenty and your story has really given me something to think about :)

Amanda @ /

Tara @ Deal Seeking Mom said...

Wonderful post, Anny! Thanks for sharing your experiences.