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We’ve advocated dumpster diving for coupons for some time and even joked about getting IN the dumpster.  Funny how things work out and I end up in the dumpster on national TV.  Lol!  I’m proud of being TLC’s resident dumpster diver, and I’ll continue to support getting coupons for free out of your recycling center!

Just a few points to make clear.  These are tips that I practice and recommend:

  • Only use newspaper-only recycle bins.  Do not dig through garbage; it is unsafe.
  • Get permission from your recycling center; they should be happy to give it.
  • Just grab fron the front of the bin.  No need to get IN the dumpster unless you’re going for style points or on a reality TV show. :)
  • Lastly,  if your 4 yr old is in the car and begs you to let him in the dumpster, you better give him your gloves!

cartoon credit:  Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey

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30 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing: Would you dumpster dive for coupons?”

I’m 14 and me and my mom go every Sunday
so much fun. now i live for couponing.

I live in Northern California also and I have not been able to find a newspaper only bin anywhere. My city recycles everything together including plastic. Any ideas of where I can start my dumpster diving excursions? Thanks

As said above- one of the perks of Apartment living was diving for coupons! My fave was the $10 off $10 or more at JCP. Why anyone would throw those away i will never know! I miss those days :-)

Mom of two, age 3 and 10 months. We have an over 6 figure income, live in a nice 4 BR house with a pool outside and on a golf course. I am blessed to have the great life I do. I am 33 and just like you…into my jeans and boots and highlighted hair! BUT…I LOVE couponing too! I live in an area where most people would look at me like I were nutz BUT YES…I would get in a newspaper dumpster for sure…if we had such a thing as recycling here in Houston. We have it but have to “pay” for it so our neighborhood voted no! SAD! We have bins at the schools…I wonder who I ask to get into those????

I would love too, but the bins at my recycling center have cameras and large signs threatening prosecution! Nothing wrong with dumpster diving as long as its a clean bin for newspapers only and not trash. It looks fun! We are just about to start curbside recycling in my city so maybe I can walk by my neighbors’ bins and get a few inserts if they are on top.

I totally would if I had any clue as to where to do it! I may have to keep my eyes out and see if we have those big recycle bins around here.

I never knew any other way growing up. I was the little one begging to get in and help my father. This was in the 80’s when it was not at all clean or seperated as it is today. I turned out just fine. He never dug threw gross bins or put me at risk to catch some crazy fungus or ebola. I am proud of how I was brought up. I would never have known how to provide for my family if it wasn’t for him. I think that people have gotten so cought up in themselfs, like they are better then everyone else around them, that they forget what is truely important, family and making sure that there loved ones never go without. When I was in the grocery store the other day a woman was behind me in line and looked at me and said you don’t look like a coupon lady. I asked her what one was supposed to look like, she replied with fat, straggly hair and un kept, a bag lady. I told her I was un aware that there was a type or look. Her response was that I was way to pretty of a girl to waste my time with this nonsense and to go use my movie star looks to grab a good rich husband because this in not becoming of me. Well, I am married and my husband is proud of me that I am not some twit that only cares about what I look like. So my question is, in a society obsessed with looks, if the media is obsessing about being bullied and how sterotyping is so bad, then why are we being bullied and sterotyped? Isn’t it the same???

Absolutely! We have paper recycling dumpsters in the parking lots of our public schools. Once a week or so I will stop (yes, I am a teacher there!) and my 14 y.o. will get out and take a quick look. If there is anything within reach (small dumpster) then we dig them out. Any staff who may see me knows why I am there because I’ve asked for their coupons, as well. My mailbox at school is always full on Monday mornings too!

I recycle bin dive indoors @ Starbucks. First, I scope the bin at the entrance for papers customers have left behind. If the coupon fairy has left some inserts, I purchase a drink w/ my gift card and ask the barista if it is okay to take the remaining inserts. I only do this when I like the majority of the coupons featured for the week.

My library usually has the coupons in it still — my favorite trick is to leave goodies for my newspaper delivery guy (stuff I got for free of course) and he leaves me extra papers every week!

Sure would – Just waiting for the weather to allow it. :)

Once a week, my hubby spends an hour sifting through 3 paper recycle bins scooping up inserts for me. He actually enjoys it because it’s the only place he can go that’s quiet (4 women in the house). He said he drove by his recycle bin the other day (hasn’t visited due to the weekend without any inserts) and he heard it whimper. LOL! With great power comes great responsibility, so we’ve started a Sterilite container loading up with free bar soap for next winter’s food and consumable goods drives at school. Can’t wait to see what we can amass by next November!

The first time I went to the paper bins I felt like I was a thief and kept looking over my shoulder. I have no shame now though and going to the bins a weekly event. We (my 2, 3 year old and my hubby) go every Tuesday. Without using “dumpster diving” I don’t think my stockpile or coupon binder would be even close to what it is today. It’s amazing how many people throw away their coupons! And to htink I used to throw mine away!

When we were on vacation this summer in Montana, the local FREE weekly paper had coupon inserts in it. I will admit to taking a few but there were a lot left and the new paper came out the next day. A few weeks ago I picked up a coupon in the parking lot that had been run over a few times and used it. I don’t know where to go to find a dumpster to get inserts from but I would do it!

Are there any tips to asking about how “collect” coupons from recycling centers? Im sure there’d be some safety issue… how can I “ask”? They are recycling… and I’d be using and recycling remainderrs…. help!

I just finished watching a re-run of the show and was wondering where did you purchase your mustard ruffle jacket from? Was there a coupon for it???

How do you find out if your city has a newspaper recycling bin? :/ I’ve looked at the City website for recycling… no info. Would love a hint!

I do it all the time…I don’t get in though, just a quick grab as I’m recycling my papers.

I do it every Monday morning!! I have a hot spot where I pick up 20 Sunday papers for me and 4 friends (4 papers each), then I deliver them to one friend at work and take the rest to the preschool where I meet my other friends at pick-up time! It takes me about 40 seconds to grab what I need. I haven’t bought papers in months and my friends LOVE me for it!

Where do you get your inserts? 20 of them… hotel?

I would if we had any nearby and we got the full inserts!

I’ve done it several times! There is a really nice walk-in trailer by my parents house…barely even have to dig. Most of the places by me do not allow it though. :(

My friend gets mad if I go without her…. and our kids LOVE helping out! ….ours is a big trailer, and with my 8 month preggo belly can’t reach over, so I go in. :)

Funny that you have this post up. My cousin and I just went through a recycling dumpster two hours ago and that was our first time doing that lol! It was actually fun.

lol THIS IS ME TO A T. I call the hubs at work if I see a bundle I can’t reach and he will go and get it later. My 2 year old and baby go with me and they know what dumpsters get us! My 2 yo came up to me in Dillion’s yesterday with the exact Bic razors we had been getting for free at Walgreen’s the week earlier. He says to me, “price match momma!” I have no idea what made him say that or how he would know enough to say that or that he could even remember we bought that exact pack of razors, but he gets the coupon lingo! Just hope this TLC show doesnt upset the local businesses who put the dumpsters out for recycling. I am excited to watch and hope for a positive outcome! Thanks for all you do on the website!


The recycling dumpsters are my main source of inserts!

Mine too! We dont buy papers at all

Same here. The cartoon says it all. My husband will drive me to the recycling center, but he stays in the car and pretends he doesn’t know me. Then he gets excited when he sees all the coupons I was able to find! :)

Heck yes I would! I’ve had this desire to do it for nearly a year, I just don’t know where to go!

When we lived in an apartment complex a few years ago, we used to get coupons in the mail every once in awhile for free coffee drinks or smoothies or whatever that came in postcard form. Inevitably, at those times, there were always loads of them in the recycling bin right there by the mailboxes. I use to grab those out of the bin, so that all the kids and I could have the freebie and not have to fight over the one treat from our box. :-)