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Money Saving Strategy: Buying Coupons Online

coupons

Buy coupons online? You bet! Buying coupons online is one of my best money saving strategies to get really cheap (even free!) groceries, health & beauty products and household goods. I only purchase coupons on Ebay, mainly because it is just easier for me. There are other places to buy coupons, but I really have no experience there. Ebay works for me, and if ain’t broke I’m not going to fix it. You can buy lots of 100 different coupons, or you can buy a lot of coupons for the same item which are generally sold in lots of 10, 15 or 20. And, you can buy multiple lots from the same buyer. For instance, I recently purchased two lots of 20 $.50/1 McCormick Seasoning Mixes for $2 each. So I got 40 coupons for $4. Now these are on sale at Shaw’s for only $1 through September, so that’s 40 free products and I’m only out the $4 I spent on the coupons.

Keep in mind you are not actually paying for the coupons; you are paying for the time it takes someone to clip and organize them.

Why Buy Coupons Online?

Have you ever picked up the coupons in the Sunday paper and gotten really excited to see a great coupon for a product you love and buy all the time? And, it’s a product you know goes on sale all the time? How great would it be to have a bunch of those coupons to score that deal multiple times! That’s what buying coupons online can do. You can score that great deal 10, 15, even 20 times!

For me, buying coupons is a great way to save time and money because I can stock up on items cheaply. For example, I recently bought 20 $.71/1 Bertolli Pasta Sauce coupons for $2. The regular price is $3.29, and it went on sale at Shaw’s for $2.50. Because Shaw’s doubles coupons, I was able to get 20 jars for only $1! And, because the Bertolli’s happened to be part of a CAT deal, I essentially got them all for free. I won’t have to buy pasta sauce for probably the next 6 months.

What Types of Coupons Can I Buy?

On Ebay, there is no shortage of coupons to buy. You can buy a set of 100 different coupons or a set of coupons for the same product. You can also buy BOGO coupons, or coupons for free items. Folks out there will sell ANYTHING.

How Do I Search for Coupons?

When searching for coupons on Ebay, it is best to be as specific as possible. For example, don’t just type in “coupons” as you will be sucked into a vast sea of coupons for sale. You could start by being a little general; for example searching “ice cream coupons” or “cereal coupons.” You could also be more specific by searching “Breyer’s ice cream coupons,” or “Hood ice cream coupons,” or “Kellogg’s cereal coupons.” If you are searching for a coupon you saw in the Sunday paper, be very specific and search “$.50 off Hood sour cream.” Because I really like the $.50/1, $.60/1 and $.75/1 coupons, sometimes I’ll simply search for those. But beware, a lot of coupons do show up in the search so this can take a lot longer. I also search “BOGO coupons” or “Buy One Get One Free” coupons.

How Much Do Coupons Cost?

Ebay is an auction market, and the price the market is willing to pay determines the price. High value coupons, like a BOGO, demand more money. Low value coupons are much cheaper, and these are the ones that I tend to buy because stores in my area double coupons! So a $.50/1 coupon may not mean that much to someone in Florida where they don’t double coupons, but here it is worth $1! I generally spend $2-$3 on a lot of 10, 15, or 20 coupons. That price typically includes shipping.

How Much Should I Bid?

Like anything, I guess this depends on how bad you want the coupons !For me, I never bid. I don’t have that kind of time. I search for the “Buy Now” option. In my experience, they almost always sell for the “Buy Now” price so why dick around? And, often times I don’t have time to wait around for a bid to end – I need my coupons NOW to hit a great sale before it ends!

Where Do Sellers Get the Coupons?

They come from the Sunday Smart Source and Red Plum inserts. Where these people get all the inserts, I don’t know and I don’t care too much. SmartSource and Red Plum, along with the manufacturers, issue a finite set of coupons that they expect to be redeemed – call them coupons “outstanding.” The percentage of coupons actually ever redeemed is still very, very low.

What Should I Look Out For When Buying Coupons?

(1) Product. Make sure you understand exactly the product for which the coupon is valid. Is it valid for ANY Orville Redenbacher Popcorn, or just the “Natural” Popcorn? Is it good for ANY Breyer’s Ice Cream, or just Breyer’s Frozen Yogurt?

(2) Expiration Dates. Be sure you are going to have time to use the coupons. And the closer the expiration date, the cheaper the coupons.

(3) Restriction on Doubling. This is a big one for me. If it is a coupon that says, “DO NOT DOUBLE,” I don’t want it. I made this mistake once before, and I won’t do it again. The seller is usually very explicit about this; if in doubt do not buy or confirm with the seller prior to purchase.

(4) Seller Feedback. A seller on Ebay is only as good as his/her feedback. Make sure you are buying from only highly rated sellers.

(5) Quantities. Make sure you know how many you are buying! Is it 10, 15 or 20?

(6) Coupon Value. Make sure you know the exact value of the coupon. Is it $1.00 off 1 or $1.00 off 2? Is it $.35/1 or $.35/3? I made this mistake once before too; I thought I was buying a $1.00/1 and it turned out to be $1.00/2. Bummer.

(7) Shipping. Make sure you are clear on whether shipping is extra or included in the price of the coupons.

How Long Does It Take to Get the Coupons?

The quicker you pay, the quicker your coupons will be shipped. I always pay at the time of purchase. My coupons typically arrive in 3-4 days. It depends on from where they are being shipped.

How Do You Know What Coupons to Buy?

When I’m looking to buy coupons on Ebay, I’m thinking about several things:

(1) Where do I need to stock up? Right now, I’m looking to stock up on juice pouches so I’m checking Ebay and prices at different stores to see where I can score the best deal. For example, I know Capri Sun pouches are about $1.98 at Walmart, so if I can score $1.00/1 coupons on Ebay I’d pay only $.98 each.

(2) What great coupons have I seen in the Sunday paper? If a coupon has been in the Sunday paper, someone is selling it on Ebay.

(3) What grocery items are on sale at my local grocery stores and where can I score a deal with a coupon? I always get the sale papers ahead of time. For example, I’m usually at Shaw’s sometime on Wednesday to pick up the next week’s circular that starts on Friday. My Price Chopper paper arrives on Friday for the sale starting Sunday. So there is some lead time. I’m usually buying coupons on Thursday or Friday, and they have always arrived in plenty of time to hit the sales.

(4) If there is a good Catalina (CAT) deal going on, I am buying coupons on Ebay. So is everyone else so I try to buy my coupons as quickly as possible.

(5) Is there a great deal somewhere where I can get a free or close to free item after coupon? These are the best. The McCormick Seasoning deal I mentioned is a perfect example. They are on sale for $1 through September and with the $.50/1 coupon (doubled) they are free! Those are the coupons I want to buy. I also recently purchased 20 $.50/1 Green Giant coupons on Ebay. They were on sale at Stop & Shop so I got 20 of those for free. And, a couple of weeks ago Big Y was tripling all manufacture
r’s coupons up to $1. I noticed Viva paper towels on sale for $1.50, so I bought 20 $.50/1 coupons which tripled. I got 20 rolls for free.

(6) Most important – am I getting a DEAL? It’s always about the per unit cost, including the cost of the coupons. I always do the math. Sometimes the deal ain’t that great so I pass. I zero in on the really good deals that are worth my time.

The best thing about buying coupons on Ebay? It’s FUN! It’s a HOOT! And, it gets better with practice. Sure, I’ve made some mistakes. But what did it cost me – a couple bucks? It isn’t like buying stocks where your downside can be unlimited, i.e., you are totally in the crapper. It’s just a couple of bucks. Keep it fun!

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