Today I thought I would share some of the things serious couponers do to take it to the next level.
If you find yourself constantly stuck with valuable coupons that you are never going to use, one thing you can consider is partaking in coupon trades. Forums such as this one (Canadian Free Stuff ) is a great place to network with other Canadian Couponers and start trading coupons. The easiest way to do this is to start a thread in the coupon section of the forum and post a list of coupons you are willing to give up in the trade. You can also list coupons you are looking to receive. Other members can do the same and you can view what other people are looking for or willing to part with. No two people will ever have the perfect match of what they want and what they will give. You can personallly message or just post in the thread what kind of deal you want to strike with the person who has coupons you want.
For example, if I don’t have a baby, but have tons of Huggies coupons I might want to trade those coupons with someone that has extra Catelli Pasta coupons. I just send them a note and see if they would like to trade. We than exchange addresses and we each pay the postage to safely get the coupons to each other. It is a really simple process and once you get a few people involved, you get to know who is looking for what. Continue by keeping your wants and needs lists up to date. This is a great way to get different coupons that might not currently be available in your area and for those lucky people that have access to a London Drugs to collect multiple coupons with different bar codes in order to achieve stacking.
Another great way to get more Canadian Coupons is to ask neighbours, family, co-workers and friends to save them for you. If you are the only one you know currently couponing then most people will have absolutely no problem in handing over their unwanted coupons. Most people don’t even notice them in the weekly flyers or newspaper inserts. Say for example the Red Plum coupons are due out Feb 5th just ask everyone to keep their eyes out for them and save them for you. You can also look for discarded copies of Smart Source and Red Plum Coupons. I, for one would never go to the extremes I see on TV. I would never dumpster dive for coupons. However we have a blue recycling bin at our neighbourhood mailboxes and most people go through their junk mail and just toss it in the bin instead of taking it home with them. When the rouge magazine comes out or other small pamphlets that contain coupons we simply head on down to the mailbox and collect a few extra copies.
I also work at a very busy shopping mall. The day after the coupon inserts come out in the paper, any unsold newspapers are taken to the compactor room. (a place where they put paper and cardboard to be recycled) This is also a great, clean place to check for extra coupon inserts. A couple of girls at work subscribe to home delivered newspapers and don’t use coupons. They know any extra are to be saved for me. :O)
If you are feeling a little more adventurous you can join what many call a Coupon Train. Coupon Trains are started by an individual who wants to exchange coupons with others. You can either start your own train or hop on board someone else’s. A coupon train is where the conductor fills an envelope with lots of wonderful coupons they are willing to give away. He or she will create a thread on a forum like Canadian Free Stuff and ask if anyone is interested in joining the coupon train? Once the passenger list is ready (usually 6-8 people) the conductor (the person starting the train) will organize the order of the way the train will travel. Usually east to west or visa versa. With some trains there is a list created that is inserted into the envelope of coupons listing all the passengers and where they are in the order of receipt. The addresses are included so you know where to send the train next. Some other trains will totally be controlled by the conductor. Once you receive the train you pm (personal message) them and they will give you the name and address of the next rider you are to forward the train to. It all depends. Once you receive the coupon train you can take out any coupons you think you can use. Then you simply replace the coupons you took out with coupons you don’t need. With most trains you are required to replace the same value of coupons as you have taken out. If you take out $10.00 in coupons than you are expected to replace $10.00 worth of coupons. Some trains are more strict than others and specify if you take out a BOGO Coupon or a B1G1 FREE you are to replace it with one. This way no one person can scoop up all the coupons hence de-railing the train. The train travels around from home to home with coupons being taken out and new ones going back in. There are rules regarding expiry dates too – no one wants to end up with a bunch of expired coupons. Some trains even ask for a boarding pass. This is usually one un-used postage stamp. This will compansate the conductor for all their hard work and expense of getting the train going. Everyone that rides the train is responsible for paying their own postage to the next passenger. I have started two separate trains in the past and the first one was a wonderful success. The train arrived back home within a month and was chuck full of new and exciting coupons for me. The second train was a disaster it got stalled a couple of times (when people receive the train and don’t send if out for a week or so) and finally it crashed and burned somewhere off a cliff. It never arrived home which means one of my passengers decided to keep all the coupons as well as the boarding passes (8 postage stamps) I decided for me it was too much work and prefer just to ride trains rather than being the conductor myself. If you join a train please ask for or read all the details and rules of the train. If it asks you to receive and re-send out the train within 48 hours, make sure you do it.
As mentioned previously, watch for coupon inserts in your weekly flyers or local newspapers. For your enjoyment I have searched out the current 2012 schedule for Smart Source and Red Plum Coupon Inserts. Mark these dates on your calendar as a reminder as to when to look for these coupons.
Well I am kinda sad to announce that this is the last post in this series. I have had lots of fun sharing with you all and I hope for some it was a great launching point to start your couponing adventures. For others I hope if was just a friendly reminder of great ways to coupon in Canada.
I look forward to reading your comments and questions and if I have missed any questions on previous posts please ask me again and I will make every effort to answer them. Hope you all had fun and learned a few new ideas.
Happy Shopping Everyone
THIS IS JUST ONE ARTICLE FROM A WHOLE SERIES I WROTE ON COUPONING