The Good: Some great values, Some enticing Coupons, Good local edge for businesses
The Bad: Not much in the way of reading material.
The Basics: Not big on reading? Like saving money? Clipper Magazine might be the best value in magazines today for the thrifty shopper!
My consideration of magazines has often been both contemplative and highly critical. It is odd having high standards about everything, up to and including one of the most disposable forms of reading material. Why, then, would I rave about a magazine like Clipper Magazine? I have panned award-winning journalism magazines and glossy magazines geared toward my favorite television shows, why would Clipper Magazine receive genuine accolades from me?
The answer is pretty simple: I am cheap. I am remarkably cheap, in fact. So, for all of my complaints about how addy many magazines can be collapse when I look at a magazine like Clipper Magazine because all it is are advertisements and coupons. The thing is, while most magazines would have a sense of journalistic integrity that could be compromised by businesses supporting the magazine entirely, this is not a liability with Clipper Magazine because the whole point of the magazine is to promote businesses working within a certain region.
For those not familiar with Clipper Magazine, this is a glossy publication that is published every two months and is entirely filled with coupons and advertisements for local businesses within a region. So, for example, Clipper Magazine in upstate New York is significantly different for the Binghamton Edition vs. the Syracuse Edition vs. the Watertown Edition. The magazine is identical in terms of size, page count and method of getting into the magazine (for a business), but the content is different in terms of the specific advertisements and coupons inside. The magazine is free at local businesses - at least in upstate New York. Clipper Magazine also has an enthusiastic presence at most business shows in order to promote themselves. Subscriptions to Clipper Magazine may be purchased, though it seems odd to have to pay for something that is otherwise free (I suspect most shut-ins who would want it delivered would not actually be using the coupons).
I have found Clipper Magazine throughout New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts (the company which publishes it is located in Pennsylvania). Every two months, a new thirty-six page Clipper Magazine hits newsstands and the glossy magazine is packed with coupons. The magazine tends to be a pretty decent blend of local businesses and national franchises offering deals and while there is a website for the magazine now, there have been stores and restaurants that refuse to honor on-line coupons (coupons found at a company website and printed out). My usual environmental complaints about publishing such things are somewhat voided by the fact that I live in an area with recycling, so the waste from this magazine is easily recovered.
Clipper Magazine, in my experience, is a pretty healthy blend of full page advertisements and coupons and half-page ads with coupons for mixes of nationally-recognized stores or restaurants and local ones. So, for example, in the current issue of the Binghamton Edition of Clipper Magazine, there is a full page Pizza Hut advertisement with eight coupons ranging from lunch buffet deals to pizza wing combo deals, followed by a similar ad for a local restaurant, the Grande Bella Cucina with four coupons like a free topping on a pizza, $10 off the overall check or a half priced pizza! Clipper Magazine can be a wealth of deals for those who want to shop local like that! Of course, the next page is another national chain (KFC), but the principle is pretty cool. There is a tiny table of contents for the advertisers and coupons on page 6, but I almost missed it, it was so small!
Clipper Magazine is a great value for those who see it as their patriotic duty to actually spend money in these economically fractious times by offering value for one's dollars. The average Clipper Magazine spreads out the savings; the copy I reviewed had thirteen national chains as opposed to sixty-five local or regional-only businesses represented. The issue I perused for review has twenty-one restaurants, thirty home and garden advertisements/coupon offers, and twenty-seven "speciality businesses" like fireworks distributors, financial planners and an advertisement for the magazine's website!
Clipper Magazine is about saving money and there are no pesky articles to get in the way of a shopper's wishes and attentions. If one does not like the offers on one page, they need only turn the page and there is a whole new set of coupons. Out of the many advertisements and promotions in Clipper Magazine, only thirteen were not actually coupons or special offers exclusive to the magazine (i.e. just advertisements for a business). For some of the offers, like one which was 40% off duct cleaning from an anti-mold company, were harder to actually find amid the pictures, but generally the coupons were clear and easy to understand.
Clipper Magazine is remarkably friendly to businesses who are placing advertisements and coupons within their pages and the process is easy, though because the magazine is published and distributed free in most venues, the advertisers bear the cost of keeping the magazine up and running. For many businesses - certainly the franchises like A&W, Pizza Hut and KFC - this is often worth it as having a coupon in the magazine can drive business in in a highly competitive market with a ton of other choices.
The only real drawback to Clipper Magazine is in that it is not very portable. As one who travels a lot, there have been several times I have pulled a coupon from Clipper Magazine in one region and been unable to use it in another (despite the fact that I am shopping at a national franchise). That said, oftentimes, the biggest businesses advertise and have similar offers in multiple editions of Clipper Magazine and it is just a matter of tracking down a copy in the region I find myself in to get great deals!
For other magazines reviewed by me, please check out my take on:
Car And Driver
Syracuse New Times
For other book or magazine reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.