It pays to subscribe to your local newspaper: Part 1

7 02 2009

Call me biased. I’m a former newspaper reporter — and my oldest son is a junior journalism major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — so I care about the survival of newspapers in this country. Old-fashioned pulp would be nice but a viable online-only product would be OK too. But it will take folks such as you to subscribe to the paper in greater numbers to help keep the Fourth Estate at work.

So as I watch from the sidelines as my former colleagues get laid off or live in fear of getting laid off while they work under excruciating pressure to try to put out a quality product, I’m launching a series to point out why it makes sense for frugal folks to keep subscribing to their local newspapers or subscribe for the first time.

Why is a newspaper subscription a good value?

First and foremost, you get in-depth local reporting that you won’t get on television, radio or from the legions of bloggers on line. Most of these sources get their information from the newspaper and then put their spin on it. They don’t have the time or the resources to ask the tough questions, dig through records and be the watchdog that we need to keep government accountable.

OK, off the soapbox. Even if you could care less about quality journalism, there’s still value to be had in a home subscription. What other product can you get delivered to your driveway every day of the week? I’m 49 and I can barely remember the days when milk and eggs were delivered to the door.

And then there are the Sunday coupons and Sunday and Wednesday sales papers. Particularly if you live in an area where stores double and triple coupons on a regular basis, as I do, coupons from the Sunday paper more than make up the cost of  a subscription. And the only way to maximize your coupons is to match them with the sales posted in the Sunday and Wednesday circulars.

On top of that, newspapers across the country have started subscriber incentive programs. In North Carolina, for instance, The News and Observer in Raleigh has something called N&O Zone Subscriber Rewards. Right now, if you receive home delivery, you can sign up for a chance to win 11 prizes.

Yeah, it’s a gimmick, but so what? With a few clicks you are signed up. AND, some of the prizes are pretty nice. Go to and click on the small red N&O zone icon near the top of the page.

The prizes of particular interest to me right now:

*a $100 gift card to the grocery of my choice, along with a stroll down the aisles with Sue Stock, the N&O’s retail reporter, an avid couponer and the author of the blog Taking Stock.  The deadline is tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 8.

*a DVD of Disney’s Space Buddies. (20 copies) I’ve got a 10-year-old, need I say more? Deadline is Feb. 22.

*tickets to an up-coming Dave Matthews concert. My husband loves Dave. Deadline is Feb. 15.

*a four-pack of tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters. (25 winners) Deadline is Feb. 15.

New promotions are added each Monday.

In addition, the N&O Zone offers subscribers coupons to use at museums, movie theaters, restaurants and other local businesses. Some examples: buy-one-get-one-free offers for Cold Stone Creamery, the North Carolina Zoo, Goodnight’s Comedy Club, the Morehead Planetarium and Cici’s Pizza.

That’s all money in your pocket, delivered to your driveway each morning.





3 responses

8 02 2009

Hey Amy,

I found your blog via savvydollar. I’m fascinated by the idea of trying not to spend money for a month. I’ll be tuning in to see your progress. I’m currently trying to feed three people out of my pantry and freezer and cut my weekly grocery bills in half. But your goal is inspiration for me.

I also loved your post about frugal friends.

As one of your local newspaper reporters trying to survive a third round of layoffs, thanks for that blog post.


8 02 2009

Hi Andrea,
Thanks for stopping in to my blog. I hope you’ll bookmark me and keep reading. I’ll be updating again tomorrow on the no-spend challenge.
I’m familiar with your byline and often read your stories. I wish you the best as the layoffs continue. Best, Amy

14 05 2009
A good weekend for coupons « Free to be Frugal

[…] to boost those ever-shrinking circulation numbers at newspapers across the country. Click here, here and here for past posts on why I think newspapers are still a smart […]

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