Pros and Cons of Trading Coupons

I love checking our mail everyday. On most days I get an envelope from a coupon trade I may have done that week. Every time I open an envelope and find coupons in it, is like found money to me. When I first started using coupons I was very excited about saving money. However, there was something missing. I felt I could do more if I was able to get my hands on more coupons. If you haven’t looked into trading coupons, these are some of the benefits you can reap, so you can take your savings to the next level:

  • You benefit from economies of scale: we all know it is always best to use a coupon when the item is on sale. But what do you do when you only have one or two of those coupons and this is a good you purchase frequently? You have missed the opportunity to stockpile these item for a cheap price. Trading coupons will help you get a hold of more coupons so you can build a stockpile of those items you use often.
  • Trading coupons allows you target your savings: There are two ways trading coupons helps you target your savings. First, if you live in a small town like I do, chances are your insert coupons are not as good as the ones from a large metro area. I get shafted from a lot of good coupons. Trading coupons has allowed me to be able to get my hands on some of those coupons. Second, manufacturers customize coupon savings by region. One region may get a different coupon value from another. If for example you have a store that doubles coupons up to $0.50, but your inserts had a coupon $1 off two items, this coupon has trumped your opportunity to maximize your savings because you can’t double this coupon. But, you may be able to find a $0.50 off one item coupon if you trade with someone who lives in the area that got that coupon value. The same holds too if you live in an area where coupons are not doubled, in that case you want to get your hands in the coupon with the higher value off one item.
  • Trading increases your coupon pool: If you have been using coupons for a while you know that inserts coupons are only a subset of all coupons out there, a very small one actually. Trading allows you to obtain tearpad, magazine, booklet and blinkies coupons that may not be available in your area.

But what are some of the cons about trading coupons:

  • Time and effort spent: This will depend on how much trading you do. I suggest you start small and focusing on only getting the coupons that are useful to you. If you want to move to the next level then you will start trading some of the coupons you find in your area with someone in another area. This takes more time because it involves more communication and negotiation.
  • Costs involved: if you are trading coupons for coupons then your costs will be the envelope and the stamp. Add $$ to that if you are trading for a handling fee.
  • Chance of being involved in a bad trade: unfortunately there are dishonest people out there, who will promise to send you something for what you have offered to send them. In reality they don’t send it on time or never send anything and in turn they have profited from the trade.

I am sure there are many places to trade coupons, and maybe someone can share other resources. I have been using the trading forums at Hotcouponworld and the reason I like it is because the moderators are very good at policing the trades. You can provide feedback and file a bad trade form. Not just anyone can start trading there, you have to have a certain amount of posts before you are approved for trading. Here is the link to their FAQs.

So go ahead, take the leap and take your coupon savings to another level!

Check out more frugal ideas in Crystal’s Blog.