Why We Stopped Our Newspaper Subscription

posted by Andrea | 10/11/2013

Grand Rapids Press

I’m sad, and even slightly ashamed, to admit that (as of 2 months ago) Dave and I canceled our subscription to the local newspaper.

The newspaper was the first subscription we set up right after purchasing our house (a few weeks before we got married). Dave was still living and teaching in California at the time, but because we put our engagement and wedding photos in the Press, we got a really good deal on our first year of service — I think it was about $75 for a full year of 7-days-a-week delivery.

For the next seven years, we dutifully supported our local newspaper by purchasing the full subscription each year.

Dave read it cover to cover every day — laughing out loud at the comics and finishing every single puzzle. I used the ads and coupons to save hundreds and hundreds of dollars on our groceries and other necessities each month. I used the paper itself as a creative and frugal way to wrap gifts.

However over the past couple of years, there have been lots of changes with the newspaper — namely that the coupons have majorly gone downhill and I rarely even use them anymore. Plus, Dave decided that he was spending WAY too much reading the paper, re-reading the paper, and doing the puzzles (seriously, it was all his decision – I didn’t even bring it up!)

So before school started, he decided that it would probably be better for his productivity if we stopped getting the paper… and after weighing the pros and cons, we decided to save the $140 per year (and mass amounts of paper recycling) and we canceled our subscription.

But we are surviving  just fine.

Dave can still get the major news online or on TV — and if there is something we want to learn more about, we can find it in within minutes on our local news website.

Since I strongly dislike shopping, I’ve really only been using the Meijer ad for the past few years, and I can get that for free using the Weekly Ads & Sales App on my iPhone or iPad (seriously, you can find ANY ad for ANY store in your area using this App — it’s really cool.)

I use Meijer’s online coupons (that are sent right to my phone) or print higher value coupons off the internet if I find a good deal — and I still get discount coupons sent to me from Meijer directly (with our credit card statement) and they are often better than anything I could find in the newspaper. Also, Dave’s mom often gives me her coupons from the paper so I always have that to fall back on too :)

We still get our beloved Culver’s and Arby’s coupons mailed to us (at least for the time being — and we hope this doesn’t stop any time soon!)

I got Dave a book of puzzles from our local dollar store.

The best part of it all is that we almost have NO paper clutter around our house anymore! Since we just get a few freebie magazine subscriptions each month, and since I’m pretty good about managing and eliminating the junk mail that comes to our house, I’m hardly ever picking up piles of paper or bringing the paper recycling to the Paper Gator at church.

That part has definitely been nice.

So while I feel bad that we are no longer supporting our local newspaper — and really bad that we are one less customer for our single-mom delivery lady — I think this was a good decision for us, for our current needs, for our time, and even for our space.

If we change our minds later, we can always start our subscription again — and maybe we’ll even get a discounted rate for coming back!

How about you, have you recently canceled any paper subscriptions or opted to switch to a digital-only subscription?

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23 comments

  1. Barb

    10/11/2013

    I cancelled my paper subscription 1 month ago too. I decided that it had become more devoted to ads rather than the news. I realized one Sunday morning that I read everything in the Sunday paper that I wanted to see in less than 15 minutes! I’ve taken the daily newspaper for 30 years – why? Mainly because my parents always did and I guess I though that’s what adults did! I decided to try it and see if I missed it. So far, I haven’t missed it one bit! And I love not having that $18.28 bill every month!

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  2. Jane

    10/11/2013

    I struggle with this. I have wanted to cancel our paper because it contains barely anything anymore and I often see the articles on Facebook before I have time to sit down and read it. Yet, there are still bits of local news that I like to get and opinions I like to read that I may not seek out if it were not in the paper. I am similar to you in your shopping style, so I don’t use the coupons and I have trained my eye not to look at the ads. I think I am clinging to it for nostalgic reasons.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes Jane, I can understand the nostalgic part — we loved getting the paper (until we realized we weren’t really using it). So far, we haven’t missed it at all — but who knows, we might find we want to start up again in the future. We’ll see :)

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  3. Organize 365

    10/11/2013

    We just cancelled our last month. To save the $275. I didn’t realize so many others were doing the same!

    :)
    Lisa

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  4. Summer

    10/11/2013

    I hear you! I canceled it, then got it again just for the Back to School ads. I saved hundreds starting early and buying at the lowest, the ladder half of the summer. I am tempted to quit it, it is a bit of a chore to recycle and the coupon values have gone down substancially and my Mom also gives me her coupons!

    I am off to Meijer’s now and out of the dozen+ coupons I have, only 2 are from the Press. I was already debating canceling and yes, I feel for the Paperguy too, but I could do without the clutter and the time waster.

    It’s really about making the choices best for you and your household. We aren’t big on TV either. I canceled that a year ago, we watch movies (from the local library free) and it’s amazing how much more everyone reads! And you can get all your news online these days.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Luba

    10/11/2013

    I have not subscribed to the paper in a while, but yes, the coupons are getting to be fewer and fewer for the things I buy. I used to beg my husband to stop at a gas station or CVS every Sunday afternoon to get the paper, but I probably get it only twice a month now, and if we do not have the time to stop after church, I don’t fret over it anymore. Probably 90% of my coupons I get online, and I print them on paper I get for free after rebate from Staples.

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  6. Amanda

    10/11/2013

    I keep considering this too. We cancelled the daily several years ago, and went to just getting the Sunday paper. But honestly, since we’ve had our son, I barely read it. We’re considering getting rid of it, because we’ve also reformed the way we eat and shop for food, so many of the products we now buy don’t have coupons available (or they do on their websites).

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  7. Crystal Kooienga

    10/11/2013

    For many of the same reasons we also cancelled our GR Press subscription. We have been married 37 years, and subscribed until last year. (For 3 years we got the Houston Chronicle.) We felt that when the Press went down to a few days a week, and we didn’t love reading it online, that it was time to cancel it. I picked one (Sunday paper) up this week when I went to Meijer on Monday morning. Today is Friday, and I still have not got through it all. It just isn’t as good as it used to be.

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  8. Irina

    10/11/2013

    I haven’t had any subscriptions for the last few years and I’ve never subscribed to a daily paper, but I used to subscribe to national Geographic and The Economist about 6-7 years ago. I loved both magazines but I found that I had no time to read them cover to cover like I used to, so they kept piling up in the to-read pile… So I cancelled both. I do have the National Geographic channel as part of my cable bundle, so I can watch the shows I’m interested in for no extra cost. As for The Economist, in my line of work I have access to a wide variety of research and news, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

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  9. Janice

    10/11/2013

    My husband and I still get the local newspaper but we stopped our subscription to Newsweek magazine after contacting them about the trashy publication they had become. I was ashamed to have my grandkids see a copy of some of the issues on the coffee table because some covers were inappropriate. We aren’t even interested in going online to read the mag and don’t need to anyway because news, interviews, and opinions are everywhere these days with cable tv, Internet, and radio. I find my local Christian radio station makes my day go better and I don’t have to worry about what my g’kids are exposed to.

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  10. Tragic Sandwich

    10/11/2013

    We canceled our paper subscription five years ago–we moved to a new house, and it didn’t make sense to move the subscription as well. I’d already been reading the news online for years, and Mr. Sandwich didn’t want to keep taking the paper to work. The only thing we’re missing is coupons, but few of them were useful to us anyhow.

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  11. Rebecca

    10/11/2013

    We cancelled ours about 4 years ago. We live in a really small town, but our kids go to Catholic school in another town and our oldest son goes to a Catholic high school 45 minutes from our home. The local paper doesn’t have coupons and the news was about people we didn’t know or events we weren’t interested in – I really only used it for the garage sale ads. It only came 2x a week and saves us $40/year, but I’m glad we cancelled.

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  12. Kristen @ Joyfullythriving

    10/11/2013

    We cancelled ours…and then resubscribed just for Sundays. It was cheaper than buying it at the grocery store, plus they gave us a $25 Meijer gift card as incentive. I’ll reevaluate again when our subscription is up, because, like you said, the coupons aren’t what they used to be. For now, I’ll use up this subscription and see where we are then.

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  13. Vickie Poel

    10/11/2013

    Maybe it’s my age, but I can’t stand reading the news online and I like to clip things out of the newspaper. I also don’t like going online to read it because then I waste more time because I’m tempted to go on other sites. I feel like I save time by getting it in printed form. I think I would miss a lot by getting rid of the Press. I save a ton by using the ads and I save a ton by not having a smart phone which I also think are a waste of money and time.

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  14. Elaine

    10/11/2013

    Add me to the list of newspaper subscription cancellers. It cost $240 per year for old news or items that I wasn’t interested in. But what put my over the edge was their use of super sticky notes for advertising above the fold on the front page, which always ripped the paper when removed. Calls to customer service resulted in vierbal equivalent of shrugs, no apology, so bye-bye paper. Don’t miss it for the most part. Maybe the sports page, but that’s it. This after 30 years of subscribing.

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  15. PW

    10/11/2013

    We cancelled our newspaper subscriptions a long time ago, and I cancelled all of my magazines at renewal years ago. I pass the local library on my way home from work and we stop renting movies also as our library is our common stop for: movies on DVD, have to get on waiting list but can see a newly released movie within a few months with the wait, and they subscribe to all newspapers from all over the country and local, and they have all the magazines I used to order. A WIN!!! My husband still gets his magazines on planes and flying because those are not generic enough for the library. The other win for me, I don’t warehouse any dvd’s, books on tapes, music cd’s, another WIN!!!! I pick up the local news and other news on the internet. I have never been a coupon user so no loss there.

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  16. Laurie

    10/11/2013

    We actually haven’t had the subscription in a few years now. Our local paper gives out a free YES (your essential shopper) paper every Wednesday and Sunday. It has most of the sales papers and all coupons. What is not in the paper I can easily look online and check out. There are so many ways to get coupons these days that the paper is just not worth it.

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  17. Abbie

    10/11/2013

    I still get a newspaper delivered to the house. I could get most of my news online, but there is information in the newspaper I can’t always find online. Information that lets me know about the local church that is hosting a series of talks about C. S. Lewis or that the little community a few miles away is having a fall bazaar to support a local charity. I am an avid user of my computer tablet for reading the news and books, but I can’t get all the information I am looking for online.

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  18. lyss

    10/11/2013

    We’ve never gotten a newspaper subscription in our 8 yrs. of marriage…is that too weird? Perhaps a weirder fact is that we don’t have tv service, either. Walking thru a store one time, I was asked by some tv salespeople what service I had. When I replied that I didn’t have a tv, I don’t think they believed me. lol But honestly, with the internet, you can watch just about anything. Even my sister who has a tv told me that they aren’t planning on getting tv service at their new house because they can read news and watch shows on the internet, so why pay for both?

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  19. Dianna A

    10/12/2013

    I haven’t received a newspaper in probably 10 years now for all the same reasons and I have not missed it at all – especially the “read” newspapers lying around.

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  20. Bev @ The Make Your Own Zone

    10/12/2013

    We have subscribed to the GR Press for over 30 years, but I am starting to question it too. They recently had a re-design and now when you open up a section, it is filled with super large advertisements and only one tiny article up in the corner. I guess I understand that they are struggling to make ends meet but it makes for a very disappointing reading experience with a paper that is 80% ads and only 20% articles.

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  21. Katie

    10/14/2013

    I cancelled our subscription when the paper delivery person couldn’t seem to get the paper to our house early enough in the morning for me to read it. Despite me calling to complain and remind them I was simply asking for it to be in my driveway by the times they had promised when I signed up (6am on weekendays, 7am on weekends) they apparently didn’t care enough about my subscription to change their behavior.

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  22. Felicia

    10/24/2013

    Such a timely post for me to come across! I am in the process of making this decision too. My reasons are much like yours- quality of coupons has diminished and it all just makes for more recycling. And for better or worse, we are living in a digital age with most of our news being delivered through TV and online. The newspaper industry around our town has already seen dramatic changes over that last couple of years. I do wish things were different for the benefit of those working in the industry (like my own dad) and for “old times sake”, but things do change and will continue to do so…

    I think this post and others comments have helped me justify my decision and I won’t be renewing our subscription this time around.

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