Coupon Trading & Coupon Trains.
What is Coupon Trading?
Coupon trading is an excellent way to get more of the coupons you want and get rid of the ones that you don’t.
It’s very simple and straight forward. You first want to log on to a website that has a forum with active users (like the Mrs January forum!). Check out the users’ trading lists to see what they have available to trade. Many times they will also have their wishlist posted, which lists coupons they are searching for.
If you have something on their wishlist and they have something on their trade list that you want, send them a message and ask them if they would like to do a trade. Unless they are busy, you can usually expect a response within 48 hours. You can then exchange addresses and mail your coupons to each other. It’s as simple as that!
What Are Coupon Trains?
Just like coupon trading, coupon trains are a great way to trade all those coupons you can’t use for coupons that you can.
The person who starts the train (conductor) puts together a bunch of coupons that she/he isn’t going to use, and posts on the forum that they are starting a new train. The members who want to join send a PM (private message) with their name, address, and their wishlist.
The conductor types up a sheet with all that information, and mails it to the first person on the list. That person takes out whatever coupons she/he wants, plus any that have expired or are about to, and replaces them with new coupons of equal value. Then she/he mails it to the next person on list, and so on and so forth.
Coupon Train Tips:
1. Don’t add any coupons nearing their expiration date.
2. Don’t add a ton of duplicate coupons. 2 or 3 of one kind is fine.
3. Pay attention to other people wishlists (if applicable) and try to put in coupons that they would like.
4. Be quick about getting the train in the mail to the next person. Within 48 hours is standard practice.
1. Coupons are only for unhealthy foods and drinks.
There are a lot of coupons for these products, yes, but they aren’t the only coupons out there. I have seen (and used) coupons for fresh fruit, frozen fruit and vegetables, bagged salad, milk and more! Just because you may not have seen such coupons, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
2. Only poor people use coupons.
This is often a fear people bring up when I mention couponing. They say “I don’t want people to think that I’m poor”! I felt the exact same way at first, but you get over that very quickly. Once you learn how to use coupons “properly”, you will see how easy it is to get so many items for free and super cheap. Who cares if people think you’re poor when you’re getting such great deals?
3. You should only use coupons for products you normally buy.
This one is somewhat true. For example – you shouldn’t buy Windex @ $2.99 with a $0.75 coupon if you don’t use Windex. On the other hand, if you had a $3 coupon for Windex, you should buy this item because it will end up being free (you may have to pay tax). Then you can just give it away to a friend or family member.
4. Generic products are cheaper than name brand products.
True – unless you have coupons, then the name brand is almost always cheaper. There are not usually coupons for store brand products, so their prices pretty much stay the same. However, brand name products may have coupons that, when used toward a purchase, can lower the price of the item to much less than the store brand.
Make sure to watch the sale flyers. Grab the item when it is on sale, with your coupon. This will save you even more money than just buying the product at full price with a coupon.
5. People who use coupons spend more than people who don’t use coupons.
If you go crazy and use all of your coupons on products that are not on sale, you will probably spend a fortune, but if you use coupons combined with store sales, you will definetely cut your grocery bill. The more you do it, the better you get at it, and the lower your grocery bills will be.
6. You shouldn’t clip coupons for products you won’t use.
You shouldn’t dismiss a coupon just because you don’t use the product. You never know when a sale may come around that will get you an item for dirt cheap or even free! You can then donate those items to others in need.
7. Clipping coupons takes up too much time.
Although you will have to spend some of your time clipping coupons, scouring the grocery flyers and planning your shopping list – it’s all for very good reason – saving money.
How much time you spend clipping coupons is up to you, but it shouldn’t take that long. I spend an hour or two once a week to clip and organize my coupons (usually while I’m watching TV).