We all know that coupons can save you money. The Coupon Council estimates that Americans save approximately $2.6 billion each year by clipping those coupons.
But unless your friends and family are giving you coupons, there’s still a cost involved.
Here’s a breakdown of the common places to get coupons and a rough estimate of what they cost you.
Friends and Family. Free – if they don’t lay guilt trips on you when you get really fabulous deals.
Companies. Free. But you are giving them your contact information when you request coupons from companies.
Dumpster diving. Free. A slight loss of dignity may occur.
Clipping them from the newspaper. If your Sunday newspaper costs $1.50 and there are 30 coupons in there, then those coupons cost you 5 cents a piece. You won’t use all of those coupons, though, so that would make the cost of each coupon go up a bit.
Coupon-trading groups. Usually the cost of a postage stamp, or if your group is local, the cost of gas to pick them up plus the coupons you trade. The perks to trading are that you get rid of what you don’t want, and get the coupons you do want.
Coupon-clipping services. Using a service like The Coupon Clippers or The Coupon Master will cost you a small handling fee per coupon plus shipping. These sites also have a minimum purchase requirement. If you bought 10 coupons, you’d probably spend about 30 to 50 cents per coupon. The more coupons you buy in an order, the more the cost per coupon would go down. This is one of the more costly ways to get coupons, but you’re guaranteed to get what you want and you can get high value coupons that might never have been in your local Sunday paper. Keep in mind that while using a clipping service is not illegal, it is against manufacters’ couponing policies. Use these services at your own risk.
eBay. eBay can be a great resource for buying coupons, but you have to be extremely careful that you don’t get ripped off. You’re not saving any money if you end up with fraudulent coupons. Here’s a guide to buying coupons online through eBay. The cost can really vary – from a few pennies a coupon to $1 for really high value coupons.
Coupon Printing. There are several great sites to print coupons from – Coupons.com, SmartSource, and RedPlum. So many of us deal hunters rely on printing coupons, but keep in mind, you are spending a lot of ink and paper to do so. With the ink and paper costs, I’m estimating (a very rough estimate, by the way), it costs between 10 cents and 20 cents to print a full-color coupon.
The bottom line is that no matter how you get your coupons, you are going to save money if you use them wisely!
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About Christina Brown
Christina loves clipping coupons, pinching pennies, and chasing her three boys (a 9-year-old and twin 7-year-olds) as a stay-at-home mom.