Coupon Trading

Coupon TradingCoupon trading is a great way to enrich your stock of coupons, get more coupons that you use a lot or get hold of coupons that you can’t find yourself.

Coupon trading is becoming popular for various reasons:

  • Some people don’t like to subscribe to the newspaper when they only need coupons for few specific products.
  • Some people need a larger amount of a specific coupon (e.g. diapers).
  • Some people need coupons that aren’t offered in their area.

To solve these problems, many people purchase, trade or exchange coupons with others.

Some coupon manufacturers place restrictions on coupons, limiting their transferability to ensure the coupons stay within the targeted market. Since such restrictions are not universal and are difficult and costly to enforce, limited coupon trading is tolerated in the industry.

Coupon exchange clubs (both face to face as well as online) are commonly found in regions where coupons are distributed. Coupons are also available for purchase online, but since most coupons are not allowed to be sold, these sites get around this law by stating that the coupons are free, and the fee is considered to be for the time and effort put into clipping the coupons as well as for the postage & handling.

There are quite a few coupon trading services available:

Plenty of coupons for purchase can be found on eBay. Most often they are offered in lots of 10, 15, or 20. You can either pay the seller’s price or bid against others. Shipping costs are very low as well, and sum up to the cost of a stamped envelop.

Purchase coupons from eBay cautiously. Sometimes people photocopy coupons and try to sell them as legitimate coupons. Check the ratings of the seller and make sure they don’t have complaints.

Is it legal to trade coupons?
One question I’m frequently being asked is whether purchasing coupons from eBay or an online coupon clipping service is legit.

Purchasing coupons is actually illegal, and most coupons will clearly state that buying or selling them voids the value of the coupon. Coupon clipping services get around this law by stating that the coupons are free and you are paying for their time to clip, sort and mail the coupons. With eBay however things are different.

eBay rules state clearly that the coupons themselves are the items being sold, and coupon sellers aren’t allowed to sell the “service” of clipping, sorting and handling.

eBay also posts a warning to buyers, stating that retailers may refuse to accept coupons that have been obtained, “in a way that violates the terms of the coupon.”

Although eBay does not seem to patrol coupon auctions, it does ask that if a coupon has a policy stating it cannot be resold, that  coupon should not be put up for auction.

Bottom line: there is no telling if a coupon was clipped at home or bought through an eBay auction. I’ve never heard of a retailer refusing these coupons, but if you’re concerned with what is technically right, there is the answer.

Coupon Clipping Services
Coupon clipping services offer you the flexibility to buy just a few or multitude of coupons that you need more off. They are also great for those that lack the time or the energy to do their own clipping and collecting. Click to learn more about Coupon Clipping Services, information about them, tips and a list of available services.

Coupon Trading - Exchange GroupCoupons Exchange Groups
Another good option is to join a coupon swapping group, either face to face or with an online group that mails them to each other. It’s a great way to get coupons that you want while putting to good use those that you don’t.
If you’re trying to organize such group, check the classified section of the paper. Also, consider proposing the idea to any other group that you belong to or start a group and see if your local library will sponsor meeting times.

Meeting once every two week’s for a few hours should not be too over demanding for a busy schedule,

There are online coupon trading groups that you can trade with as you become more comfortable with the concept. A cautionary note – do not pay for coupons. The most you should ever spend to trade coupons is the postage it takes to send it in the mail.

As a good practice, save all coupons that you do not need, collect a few more Blinkies, Takeones, Tearpads etc. while you shop to diversify your tradable grocery coupons stock.

Useful Tips for Coupon Trading

  1. Feel free to trade, giveaway or receive manufacturer coupons, tear pads, rebates, store coupons, grocery store coupons or restaurant coupons.
  2. Only trade printable coupons if you know the person you are trading with and trust him. Some people photo-copy the online printable coupons (which is illegal), and you may be needed to do some explaining.

  3. When giving away coupons for free, it is common to request that the receiver sends you a self-addressed, stamped envelope so that you don’t have to pay for the postage.
  4. When posting in blogs or forums about coupons that you want or willing to give away, do not type out your email address as one word.
  5. For example, if your email address is do not type out your email address in full. Instead, type it like ben (dot) wilson (at) yahoo (dot) com.

    By typing it this way you will not get spam from robots that scan websites.

  6. Also, do not type out your mailing address on the blog or forum. Instead, once you have worked out a trade, email the person you are trading with and exchange your mailing address via email.  This is for your privacy.
  7. To make a trade, offer a giveaway or if you are looking for a coupon, simply make a comment with the quantity and description, include expiration date.
  8. To respond to a request respond directly to the original comment. Exchange email addresses and then exchange address through the email.
  9. Once a trade or giveaway is taken, please leave a comment that it is complete. This helps others by letting them know that the coupons are no longer available and reduces the amount of unnecessary emails.
  10. When posting in blogs and forums about coupon trading, this coupon abbreviation, acronyms & lingo dictionary may be handy if you want to be able to converse your ideas and questions with other couponers.

Don’t throw away your expired coupons
Military Commissaries accept coupons for 6 months beyond their expiration date.

If you have someone in your family that is stationed abroad, or if you’re willing to show your support and appreciation to our armed forced, you can participate in the Overseas Coupon Program (OCP) by sending them your expired coupons instead of just throwing them away.

All that it takes is very little work (they like the coupons to be clipped and sorted into 2 categories – food and nonfood) and a regular posted envelop (a regular local in-the-US postage, although it actually do go overseas).

I send mine once a month and it takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 2 stamps on average.

Keep in mind that although the postage is local you are actually mailing internationally, so it could take a few weeks for them to arrive.

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