Tuesday, February 17, 2009

coupon swaps

i've recently seen a ton of posts online about coupons which is not surprising considering our nation's current economic situation including a post on one of my new fav blogs balancing beauty and bedlam http://inpassionatepursuit.blogspot.com/2009/02/curing-economy-with-couponingfreebies.html with some neat tips about saving money on dairy products. scroll down far enough and you'll see my comment which i think is by far the longest big surprise since i seem to specialize in being verbose. so, it got me to thinking about some of my favorite coupon tips. i grew up with a mother who definitely used coupons. one trick i picked up from her is coupon swapping. our extended family would help her out by giving her coupons they would not be using and she would likely use either via in person or by mailing them to her. they included me in this when i went of to college by including coupons i could use mainly for hair dye since i am the only one in family who dyes her hair in letters. since then, i have gotten into the habit of coupon swapping with friends and coworkers. i usually bring in to work coupons for baby or dog products 2 things i can't use. and, if i find a coupon i see in the paper that i really want more of, i let my friends know to see if they can save for me. the internet has now made this even better. there are several sites and forums online where people can do just that. one of my favorite websites http://www.freestufftimes.com/ has a section titled coupons that lists great online coupons, but also has a coupon trading site under forums for coupon trading. i also have found that craigslist and freecycle often feature people trying to pass off coupons to people who can use them.
keys to good coupon swapping:
1.start saving and clipping all the coupons you come across. if you have something to give to others, you'll be more likely to find others willing to share. now, this does not mean printing out every online coupon, you can obviously just email or tell friends about those great ones. no need to use your ink unless they don't have access to a computer.
2. let people know as specifically as possible what you are looking for especially what brands you may prefer. for instance, while i am always on the lookout for hairdye coupons, my favorite brand is garnier.
3. swap with people who have different needs than you. i have cats and can always swap with my dog owning friends.
4. find other friends who are avid coupon clippers and make it a regular part of your plans to swap. if you and some friends who clip coupons are already planning to get together recommend you bring extra coupons to share with one another. or, make it an event. have everyone bring coupons and some food. good chance to catch up while helping you save money. who wouldn't love that.
5. don't expect something for nothing. don't horde coupons you know you'll never use when someone else can use them. if you have something to give, other people will be more likely to share.
6. organize your coupons. if you organize your coupons, it will be easier to see what you don't need and can give away. balancing beauty and bedlam showed her huge coupon notebook in her post. i use a little expando that you can purchase in any dollar store and most walmarts, targets, etc. i like it because not only was it just $1, but it easily fits into any of my purses i would take with me to the grocery/drug store.additionally, i really love the color scheme of this one; cute and practical how me.

i picked the categories i most use and changed tags for some to meet my needs. i even use index cards to separate coupons within the categories ie putting the ones i know i plan on using on a trip to the store in front of the index card. you can see the cards sticking up and my unpainted nails.
7.check out online coupon trading sites. i mentioned some above, but here are more:
when using online coupon trading sites, be sure to only list a coupon on one forum that way you don't have too many people all thinking they got lucky and found what they were looking for. and, when you do agree to send a coupon to someone else, mail it asap ie that day or the next since someone is is eagerly awaiting its arrival. hey, you would want someone else to do the same for you. if you post a coupon for trade, check your emails frequently afterwards. someone may be waiting to hear back from you. basically, its a case of do unto others as you would hope they would do unto you.
8.sometimes just bringing in coupons you can share to work or friends can get the whole coupon swapping thing going.
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