A pennysaver (or free ads paper, Friday Ad or shopper) was a kind of free community periodical available in North America (typically weekly or monthly publications) that advertises items for sale. Frequently pennysavers are actually called The Pennysaver (variants include Penny Saver, Penny-saver, PennySaver). It usually contains classified ads grouped into categories. Many pennysavers also offer local news and entertainment, as well as generic advice information, various syndicated or locally written columns on various topics of interest, limited comics and primetime TV listings.
The term is widely used in eastern North America from Ontario through New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, though there are pennysavers elsewhere. Pennysavers are sometimes published by a locally dominant daily newspaper as a brand extension of their publication and featuring advertisements published in the same style as the parent newspaper.
The PennySaver was a publication distributed in California. Formerly owned by Harte-Hanks, it and its website, PennySaverUSA.com, were sold to OpenGate Capital in 2013. The publication went out of business in May 2015.
In popular culture
The Pennysaver plays a significant role in the 2007 film Juno, in which the main character, Juno, searches for adoptive parents for her unborn child in the publication.
In a Season Six episode of The Golden Girls, Episode 18: "Older and Wiser," both Rose and Blanche are hired to model for a local pennysaver. The two begin to bicker over who has the prettier face and hands, but the joke is on them: When the pennysaver is delivered, they find out that they appear in an ad for beauty cream—as "before" models!
In a Season 1 episode of the NBC comedy Save Me, Episode 6: "Heavenly Hostess", Beth Harper, played by Anne Heche, is told by God that she needs to have a garage sale. After multiple people start showing up to her address for a yard sale that was advertised in the PennySaver, she comes to the realization that God placed the ad in the PennySaver to make sure that she has her garage sale on that specific day.
In a Season 6 episode of the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation, Episode 3: "The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic", Ron Swanson, played by Nick Offerman, receives the Pawnee PennySaver in the mail at his girlfriend's residence, which sends him on an overzealous quest to get off the grid. When Ron asked “Who or what is PennySaver?”, Tom Haverford, played by Aziz Ansari responded “It’s a free circular with a bunch of coupons in it”.
In a Season 5 episode of the CBS drama NCIS: Los Angeles, Episode 13: "Allegiance", while Special Agent G. Callen and Special Agent Sam Hanna (played by Chris O’Donnell and LL COOL J) were interviewing a suspect, they were surprised to find that he wasn’t a threat, but instead an ambitious entrepreneur wanting to get his brand out there with his chosen method, the PennySaver.
- "OPENGATE CAPITAL SIGNS AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE PENNYSAVER FROM HARTE-HANKS, INC.". opengatecapital.com. September 19, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
- "PennySaver Goes Out Of Business After 50 Years Without Notice, Shocking Workers". CBS Los Angeles. CBS. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- The Golden Girls Forever Episode Guide
- Even God Places Ads in the PennySaver
- The Pawnee PennySaver
- NCIS: Los Angeles Knows About the Benefits of Advertising in the PennySaver