Get the most out of the paper in your newspaper

In 2008, the Internet surpassed newspapers as an outlet for people seeking news. Yet analysts estimate that newspaper circulation is still about 40 million. That means that there are a lot of people willing to pay a fee—usually between $10 and $15 per month—to get the daily newspaper. Since the news is readily available elsewhere for free, newspaper readers must value the tangible product. In other words, they value the paper part of their newspaper (I know because I’m one of them).

If you are paying for the paper, I recommend you get the most out of your investment. Following are eight ways to extend the usefulness of the paper in your newspaper. As a bonus, many of them can save you money!

Wash windows. Use newspapers instead of paper towels to get sparkling windows. Check out these step-by-step instructions from

Pamper pets. Newspaper can be used to line bird cages and potty train puppies. Shredded newspaper is also a great substitute for kitty litter. As your veterinarian before using newspaper as bedding for pets such as hamsters or mice.

Prevent messes. Newspapers are perfect for soaking up stuff. Put newspapers on the floor of your garage to catch your car’s drips, line a dining room table before messy meals, and protect your floors from paint spills. You can even use newspaper to drain grease from oily foods like French fries.

Wrap gifts. My mom never used to buy wrapping paper, so why would I? The Sunday comics make fun and festive gift wrap that comes with a sweet sense of nostalgia.

Protect packages. Everyone knows that newspapers are great for protecting things during a move, but they’re also great for storing fragile things around your house, such as holiday ornaments. And next time you ship a package, use crumpled up newspapers instead of packing peanuts.

Get crafty. Newspapers are great for kids’ crafts. In fact, all they need is a balloon, glue, newspaper and paint to make a paper mache masterpiece. Newspapers are also good for making homemade pom-poms, hats, airplanes, and confetti.

Help your garden grow. Diane from the Big Green Purse recommends using newspapers as a natural weed barrier. Ground newspapers can also be used as mulch, but experts recommend that you avoid glossy color supplements.

Finally, if you can't use them, recycle them. Instead of letting old piles of newspaper turn into a fire hazard, recycle them. According to, recycling all newspapers read in the U.S. each day could save 41,000 trees a day and reduce 6 million tons of waste in the landfills.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.