The Growing Problem of Stolen Coupons
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The Growing Problem of Stolen Coupons

Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2011 at 8:12 am
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Although finding free newspaper coupon inserts is always exciting for an extreme couponer, it’s important to be aware of the risks of going overboard. Be sure you know when it’s okay to snag a few extra coupon inserts so that you don’t find yourself accused of newspaper theft!

Recent Incidents of Stolen Coupons

Several months ago, an extreme couponer from Springdale, Arkansas was caught stealing 185 editions of the Sunday newspaper for the coupons inside, totaling $231 in theft. Her charge? A misdemeanor for theft. The woman explained to the police that she was unaware that what she was doing was wrong. The extra newspapers were left outside a local grocery store for the newspaper carrier to pick up and return to the printing company. Unfortunately, the woman accused of theft was most likely unaware of this. So, before you snag any papers that appear to just be lying around, be sure to ask for permission to avoid any misunderstandings like this one.

Reports of missing newspapers have also been popping up in Idaho. The coupon inserts have been vanishing from newsstands and even from people’s front porches! One newspaper sales manager watched as a woman purchased one newspaper from a vending machine and then proceeded to take the coupon inserts from all the newspapers. Police in this area have been notified on the increasing problem of coupon theft and are now on the lookout for the cause of the disappearing coupons.

How to Play it Safe and Avoid Coupon Theft

Although these are extreme cases of coupon theft, it is very important to be aware of the law. If you buy one newspaper from the newsstand, be sure to only take the coupons that you honestly purchased. Just imagine if you bought a paper only to find out that all the coupon inserts were already missing! Yikes! Again, don’t take coupons or newspapers that aren’t rightfully up for grabs. Here are several situations in which people may be stealing coupons without knowing it:

  • Taking the free papers off of driveways.
  • Taking multiple newspaper copies from the newspaper machines without paying for all of them.
  • “Double Stuffing” coupons into newspapers before purchasing them.
  • Dumpster diving for coupons without checking with the owner of the dumpster.
  • Taking newspapers from hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. without asking – these papers may be intended for guests and customers only, but the owner may be happy to give them to you at the end of the day.

When in doubt, be sure to ask someone with the proper authority if it is okay to take some extra coupons you see lying around. By asking around, you’ll find you can come across plenty of extra coupons without having to take extreme measures. Good luck, couponers!

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.