My "plan" has been set in motion for about 2 months now, so I can tell you from my personal experience that it works for me.
First and foremost, I print MOST of my coupons. Between Coupons.com, Red Plum, Smart Source, and Cellfire's e-coupons I, usually have all I need. Sure, the cost of paper and ink comes into play but here's how I save there: I buy my printer paper at Costco (or Staples if I can score a sweet deal). For ink cartridges, I always buy them on ebay. What would cost me around $90 in the store, I can get for under $15. They seem to be refills but they work beautifully. Just type in your printer model + ink and you should have a nice selection to choose from.
Now, since I know there will be many great coupons that I absolutely can't print online, I have found lots of other great resources for getting those insert coupons without dealing with the AZ Republic. Every week I check out the Sunday Coupon Preview and see what coupons look like ones I'll use. If I spot a few I can't live without, I will usually call up my mother (or someone else) and ask them to save me those. TIP: You could always go dumpster diving or hit up the Recycle bins if you're brave.
If I'm really lovin' the coupons, I know I have options besides running to the corner store to grab a paper-only-to-find-out-that-someone-stole-the-inserts-from-it (man, I hate that!).
I am a frequent shopper over at The Coupon Clippers, where I can pick and choose which coupons I want and pay pennies for the admin. fee per coupon. Yes, sometimes I spend more than I'd spend on a Sunday paper, but the coupons I get are invaluable. For example, if I spend .50 total on five pasta coupons (@ .10 each) and end up yielding five FREE boxes of pasta (less the .50 fee) I'm doing much better than if I only got one coupon with my insert. NOTE: Some of the coupons require a minimum/maximum purchase and there is a minimum of $4 per order that must be met. Team up with a friend to order some coupons!
Ebay is another great place to order coupons. In fact, you'll see everything over there - not just newspaper inserts. In fact, I purchased (and by "purchase" I mean paid an admin. fee b/c technically we can't purchase coupons) about 20-$1 off Greek yogurt coupons for about $3.50. When they went on sale for $1 at Fry's, I cleaned house. When they ran out, I got a raincheck and used the rest of my coupons then. I yielded 20 "FREE" Greek yogurts for less then $4 - I saved $16 just by ordering the coupons! Check out their HUGE assortment on ebay -- they may even have some local coupons just for your stores.
The truth is, I never use half of what is in those entire inserts. BUT, if there ever is a week where I see a whole lotta coupons I must have, I know I can always order the ENTIRE coupon inserts from Coupon Dede!!
And, finally, for those very hard-to-find coupons for the products I just LOVE to death, I can usually score a few coupons by emailing the companies directly asking them nicely
So, tell me, how do you get your coupons?? Anyone got any tips to add?