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Reader Tip: Couponing for a Friend

Wendy emailed in this great idea which some of you who have extra time and enjoy couponing might consider:

Now that I’ve been couponing a while, I’ve accumulated a good stash of toiletries and cleaning supplies — more than I need. It was killing me to pass up those really good deals and freebies, though, even though I have a year’s worth of shampoo already. (Getting good deals is addictive!)

My solution: teaming up! A friend of mine would really love to coupon but just doesn’t have the time, so she pays me $5 a week and I bring her a bag of surprises! I can still pick up almost-free items I don’t need, and I can pass on the free ones I won’t use. She gets $10-$20 worth of items for $5, and doesn’t have to spend the time clipping coupons. (She still buys specific items if she runs out, but that doesn’t happen often.)

It feels like I get to give her a present every week! Plus we have different “favorite brands” for several things, so I rarely have to choose whether to pass on something or keep it for myself.

It’s fun, it helps a friend out, and it makes me feel like I’m really getting my money’s worth out of my time spent couponing. What’s not to like? -Wendy

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  • Rae says:

    Love this idea 🙂 I’ve thought about doing that before but don’t have anybody I feel comfortable approaching about it lol

  • Lyndse says:

    I like that! I started a coupon club, so that other friends could benefit from the coupons I love to clip but won’t use!

  • Liz says:

    I do this for my sister and my mom. They are both incredibly busy, and this is one practical way that I feel like I can help them. Except, instead of bringing them a “surprise bag,” they’ve both told me a few specific brands or types of things they use all the time. Since I’m already clipping coupons, searching ads, and going to the stores, I just keep my eyes open for what they like. Last week I was able to score some great pet supplies at Safeway for my sister’s cats at a killer price! She was so excited when I brought them over to her. It made me really happy to be able to love on her like that.

  • Wendy, that is an awesome idea. You could very much start your own little business. Lyndse I like your idea. Group saving is cool.

  • cassie says:

    I do this for my sisters and their kids, it is so much fun and they love seeing what they get!

  • Krystal says:

    I wanna be your friend 🙂
    lol though really its been great to follow you on FB.
    I need to make a coupon binder and get a little more serious with my coupon-ing though its been so great to see my grocery budget get cut down so much.

    You can always donate to local food banks or a shelter.
    People on food stamps are in need of personal items such as toothpaste, TP, laundry soap, shampoo etc since you can’t buy those items with food stamps.
    Some people make it a much can I get for the food bank with 20 dollars this month.

    I can’t wait to be able to spread the coupon love to others.

  • Elsa says:

    What a great idea!!!

  • Beth Ann says:

    I do this with a lady from church… she pays me $4 or $5 for a bag of freebies or almost freebies. She has a family member in a group home so she gives them any toiletries she doesn’t need. Also I will occasionally take my free items to Bible study and let the ladies there pay a quarter per item. I look for specific items for people if they ask me to because I just really enjoy doing it and knowing that I can help a busy friend!

  • Erin L. says:

    I do this for my sister all the time. She’ll give me $20 here and there and tell me what she needs and is always amazed at how far that money goes. She is a single Mom and hates shopping so it is a real plus for her.

  • Jen says:

    Wow what a GREAT friend! I coupon as much as I can, but with 5 little ones under 7 it is HARD getting to the store in time for all the sales! And what is so aggravating is getting there and they are OUT! You are sooo kind for doing this! Wish I had a friend wouldn’t mind doing this! :o) However even with just a few coupons here and there it adds up! One day I hope to be better at it!

  • Jennifer says:

    My brother is a single dad, so I keep him stocked up as much as possible. Couponing is definitely NOT at the top of his priority list, and I sure don’t mind keeping his budget happy! 🙂

  • Megan says:

    I do this for my grandparents and in exchange my grandma clips and sends me the coupons from their paper. It’s a nice way for us to help each other out 🙂

  • tammy says:

    I did something similar with a friend of mine, but got burned in the end. I would charge her the price that I got the items for. If I got cereal for 25 cents a box, thats what I would charge her, if their was something I didn’t use, but she could, and I got it for free, I would give it to her for free. She has 4 kids, and I thought I was helping her. She always would say, just keep track of what I owe you and I will pay you next time. Well, she never paid me, she now owes me over $60.00 and I found out from her sister that she has been selling the things I give her, and keeping all of the money for herself, so I won’t be getting her anything anymore. I can’t afford to keep paying for her food, soap, TP ect.

  • Julie says:

    I love this idea! I would gladly pay someone to do the couponing!

  • Kim says:

    Isn’t it fun?! There are so many ways that others can benefit.

    One older lady at our church just likes to cut coupons. When she found out that I did couponing, she started giving them all to me. I insisted that she didn’t need to cut them out, but she said that is part of the fun. In exchange, I bring her bags full of stuff every now and then. She’s thrilled.

    My newest “exchange” is my favorite. I have a friend who is the homeschooling mother of 5. She really wants to coupon, but doesn’t have the time to cut and organize and shop with little ones in tow. So, once a week she watches my daughter for the day and in exchange, I supply all of the toiletries and goodies for her family. I have more than I can ever use anyway, so we both win!

  • Jennifer says:

    I just went to the store today with a friend to buy snacks for a family in our church who has a son in our local children’s hospital. He has leukemia and they are spending so much money on food at the hospital. We used coupons and saved a bunch and got catalina rewards that we split to use the next time. We had so much fun doing it for someone we love!

  • Lydia M. says:

    I sent a large box of items I got couponing to college with my daughter and again when she was home for Christmas break. What she doesn’t use, need or want she sells for $1 to earn extra spending cash.

  • Sydney says:

    I do the same for my mom.
    I would share with her what I bought and just how much I paid for it and she would just smile and say, “Whaaaat?”. She was always so happy to see the deals I had just gotten.

    So now, I carry her CVS card, her green tag card and make the same deals for her. She gets so excited when I go to her house with a bag of goodies and then tell her how much oop it was:)

  • jenwindy says:

    Great article!

    Every other week I’ll send a bag of freebies/goodies to my Mother-In-Law. Every week she sends me home-cooked food. She’s a great cook, which I’m not– so we both win!

    I visited family in Michigan for Christmas break recently. Instead of packing what people normally think to bring, I brought home a big suitcase of full of freebies. Too bad United charges a $25 bag check-in fee ($23 for early check-in). It was still better than what the shipping charges would have been.

  • Jana says:

    Something my family does is we do our best to supply all of my aunt’s toiletry needs and some groceries. She is 80 and is a widow and money is very tight. We save portions or our meals for her and then buy whatever products she needs and take them to her whenever we pass her way (she lives 2 hrs away). She totally appreciates it, and my daughter has a very special relationship with her that we may not have had otherwise! James 1:27

  • Jane says:

    I have a very good friend and her husband that have both been out of work for quite some time (a sign of the economy huh?) whom I let raid my toiletries /cleaning supply cabinet every once and a while. Anything from shampoo to bodywash, windex and mouthwash. I get the products for pennies so I figure I could help them any way I can and who better to help than your friends? 🙂
    Soooo any of you out there…if you expect your friends that are going through tough times to ask for help…don’t expect them to say a thing – it’s hard to ask for help sometimes even if they are your close loved ones. However, you can take the initiative and say “take anything you need & will use.” 🙂

  • amanda says:

    I wish I had a great friend like you. Just squeezing in what I can on my lunch break is hard- and the stores around me are usually out of the best deals. 🙂 Such a nice thing to do!

  • Theresa says:

    I do this for my sister in law. Even though she lives across the country, I have a box of goods for her everytime we get together. She repays me with card making supplies. 🙂

  • Nikki says:

    I need a friend like you. 🙂 I want to be better about planning and saving money, but I work outside the home full time, have a severly disabled daughter and another 5 year old who is involved in several activities. …This doesn’t leave a whole lot of free time to plan and run errands. I really admire all the things you all do to be such great budgeters.

  • CyndiMac says:

    I have become addicted to the couponing high as well. My husband told me if I brought one more bottle of shampoo or deoderant in this house he’d kill me LOL! Now I take my extra stuff to work and sell it for $1 a piece. The girls love when I bring in a bag! This is mutually beneficial as I get to keep shopping and they get the goodies for super cheap AND they don’t have to do the leg work. Win….win!

  • kimme says:

    I’ve been doing this except I haven’t been taking money and it would be awkward to start suggesting they pay for it since I’ve already set the precedence of “giving” away all the stuff lol!!

  • I do this with my mom, mother in-law and occassionally friends. I pick up extra items for free to give to them or if the item will cost a little bit of money, they pay me for the item. My mom has preferences on most personal care products, so those are always on my watch list. I may not spend $2 on body lotion but she’ll pay me $2 instead of spending $10

  • Cheryl says:

    I do this for my best friend too. She and her husband barely get by. He doesnt work and she makes a measly $10/hr to support them and their son. I however am blessed enough to be able to stay hm w my kids and have time to cut coupons so when she needs items, I just fill up a grocery bag w paper and toiletry items. No charge. I feel bad and if I can help I will. 🙂

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