I’ve Paid For This Twice Already…

Frugal living and debt reduction tips for a better financial future. This is one family’s story.

August 28th, 2007

Ebaying for Coupons

I don’t do a lot of coupon-clipping. I don’t even get a Sunday paper with the inserts to get coupons. I would say on a scale of 1 to 10 on coupon using I am about a 3. I am not saying that it is not worth it to clip coupons weekly – in fact, I am a big proponent of many small savings adding up to a big savings. I’m just not to that point with coupons yet. But there are a few things that I almost always, if not always use coupons for. These are my “big ticket” items, the single things that on their own cost me the most. For me, the most important of those is diapers, because they are expensive and there are coupons out there that can save large amounts of money at a time (or on multiple items at once). So when I want coupons, I turn to eBay.

eBay can be a great source for multiple and/or high-value coupons if you know what to look for. The “cost” of the auction is for compensating the clipper for their time clipping, for one can’t sell a coupon. But we have to decide what their time clipping was worth and what we are willing to pay. Here are some tips I use in finding the best clipper for my money:

Be as specific in your search as possible.

Don’t be worried that you’ll miss some by being specific. You can always run multiple searches, tweaking your keywords, until you see the results you want. And you can click-up a category once you have results if you think you need a broader base to search. But too broad and there are so many results that the perfect coupon could be completely lost in the shuffle. Especially since many titles you find, you’ll have to click and read the description before being able to discount them as not the one you were looking for.

Shipping should always be the cost of a first class stamp (or less!)

Some people charge $2-3 for shipping! How heavy are those coupons? You might be willing to pay a little more than $0.41 shipping for the right coupon if you can’t find a more fair shipping cost on the same coupon elsewhere, but make sure that is factored into what you are paying for the coupon. Don’t end up paying more than what you’ll save!

Don’t pay for what you don’t want

Many many times, a bunch of coupons are sold together in a bundle. When deciding what you are willing to bid for a coupon, base you bid *just* on what you actually want from the bundle, not the entire bunch. Bidding on coupons you don’t want is worse than clipping them, it doesn’t just cost you time, but money as well. It doesn’t matter if you could save $10 on a baby bouncer if you don’t want a baby bouncer, and if that is included with another coupon you do want, base your bid solely on the coupons you want.

Look out for internet-printed coupons you could find on your own

A big red flag for this is many many multiples of the same coupon in a single batch. If the coupon seems like it was printed from the internet, do a little searching on the internet yourself and see if you can find it. A few google searches will usually do. You don’t want to spend an hour searching for something you could buy for $1 necessarily, but you don’t want to pay $1 for something you could have found in two minutes and printed yourself.

Pay attention to expiration dates

Very often, coupons up on eBay may be expiring soon. If you aren’t going to be able to use it before the expiration date, it is not going to help you. This is especially true when there are 20+ of the same coupon in a batch. Are you going to commit to buying 20 gallons of orange juice in the next two weeks? Probably not.

I hope some of these tips help you find a great bargain! There are many other places you can find coupons online, eBay is just my preference right now. If you have to be a consumer, be a savvy one!

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14 Responses to “Ebaying for Coupons”

  1. Who knew that ebay did coupons! LOL. I never use the coupons in the Sunday paper. Maybe I should ebay them?? :)

  2. I’m cheap, so I refuse to pay for coupons. I usually trade coupons on slickdeals.net forums…

  3. Yes, but you can freeze orange juice! :-D

    I figure for non-perishables this is a great strategy.

  4. Well, it has to be a good coupon :) .

    Since I don’t collect coupons, I have none to trade. I generally buy the $7 off per case of the diapers we use which is published once a quarter and I don’t get any more because Babies R Us thinks my kids are too old to send me their circular or something. I can use it for unlimited cases, so I buy 3 or so cases at a time (I used to buy 6 but I have less cash now).

    So for ~$1.50 I save $21.

    But if I had coupons to trade I would try and trade them, I am big on the trading in general.

  5. lol you can! we actually use frozen from concentrate OJ.

    How much I want to drink in a short time period is debatable though :)

  6. @Paula

    you could try ebaying the coupons :) I would look up what they are going for generally first. I have no experience in the selling part.

    Or maybe trade some like SavingDiva pointed out.

  7. What a great post. I kept reading about it, but never knew how to optimize the process.

  8. @Kris

    Thanks! it’d be better to find the coupons oneself but I have limits lol.

    Or find them yourself and then sell them on ebay… lol

  9. GREAT article! I don’t know how I missed this one. I’ve gotten coupons on ebay in the past. But only if the shipping and price is low enough. Usually for events like triple coupons etc… I do better trading coupons I don’t use for coupons I do need. It depends.

    If you want to save on diapers be sure to keep on eye out for deals at Target. They’ve had some AMAZING printable Target Pampers coupons this year. You can combine the Target store coupons with a manufacturer coupon. Combine that with a sale and voila! Super cheap diapers.

  10. I actually thought about trying to start selling coupons as a business. The only problem was that I thought it would be way too much work for the amount of return. Maybe I could hire out some kids to do it for me, but there goes any profits.

  11. Selling the coupons themselves I think is against the law. But I use sites where they charge a handling fee. To use a car analogy, you get the parts for free and pay for the labor.

    If I just used the one off coupon, I wouldn’t go to these sites. But I use places like grocery game to find good deals and then order the coupons I need. For example, there is a current coupon GE Energy Smart $1.50 off two pack of CF bulbs. I am working on switching all the bulbs in my house to save energy. Plus my local electric company gives 50% rebate on your purchase. So I ordered 20 of these coupons which will give me enough to refit the entire house with CF light bulbs. 20 X $1.50 is $20 in savings and it only cost me $2.40 to order them plus 59 cents shipping (UPS – gets here faster).

    I can’t get that many coupons at once just by clipping and trading.

  12. There’s absolutely no reason not to use coupons. I’ve become very fond of them, especially lately with prices in the grocery skyrocketing. Why wouldn’t you use coupons, its like free money!


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