Earlier I mention joining/starting a coupon train is a great way to aquire coupons. Well let me explain what that is a little further in detail.
Coupon trains are simply a way of exchanging coupons by snail mail. This means those “Great Coupons” that aren’t available in your local paper, supermarket, or even mail just may be in someone else’s. That pile of “free” products or coupons you were going to discard may be exactly what someone else is looking for.
Basic Coupon Train – The basic coupon train begins with a group of 3 – 6 members at different mailing addresses. An envelope of coupons (typically 40 – 200) is mailed from the “conductor” to the first person on the “train route” (mailing list). That person takes out the coupons they want and replace them with other coupons at least equal to the number they took out. They then mail the envelope to the next person on the route, who does the same.
Ideally each person keeps the envelope for no longer than 1 – 3 days, and pulls out any expired coupons. The train needs to keep moving along, since the idea is to send and receive those much needed coupons before the next sale, or the expiration date.
There are exceptions to this rule, particularly great coupons or those on someone’s wish list. Again, the rules for each train are different, so check with your conductor.
Only Add Acceptable Coupons – There is something exciting about generating and receiving a bigger pile of coupons. However, bigger isn’t necessarily better if they are not coupons other members can use. Bigger piles are also heavier piles, increasing postage costs, which can outweigh the cost benefit of the coupons!
In general, never put in expired coupons! (if you have expired coupons, read this article on how you can use them to help others) Also, store-specific, Catalina (check-out tape), or internet printed coupons are of limited use to others, and can increase postage costs. In contrast inserts, non-inserts, wine tags, peel offs, rebate forms, etc. can add great value.
These are just a few of the basics of a Coupon Train. There are alot more details and if you decide to join or start one you should hash out the details with the other involved.
SPEAKING of Coupon Trains… If anyone is interested in starting a Train let me know… I have a ton of coupons I never use.