If you've been couponing for any amount of time, you know that you don't always get every coupon or even the highest value coupons. It's especially disappointing when there's a coupon you really want but don't get. What to do? TRADE! It's much cheaper than buying from a clipping service. You put your coupons in the envelope, an address and stamp on the front, and it's on its way! No per coupon charge or ridiculous shipping fee, and you can make a new "coupon buddy" out of the deal.

I've done several trades with many different people. I now have a great "database" of trustworthy people I can trade with. If you're new to trading, here are some things that you should know.

  • PLEASE NOTE: All trading is done via the KCL Facebook page. This list is NOT all inclusive and is based off my personal experience. Your experiences may vary.

Learn the Lingo

Check out the Beginners page on KCL for your typical abbreviations. Some additional ones are:

  • ISO – In Search Of.
  • IDSO – In Desperate Search Of.
  • IVDSO – In Very Desperate Search Of.
  • PM – Private Message.
  • Stamps – Postage Stamps.

I’ve learned that ISO is sufficient. If you need it and someone has it, they'll respond to you. Using "IDSO" or "IVDSO" does not necessarily increase your chances of finding someone to trade with.

Make Your Post

There are some key elements you need to have in your post to get the highest chance of response:

  • Name the coupon you're ISO.
  • Value – They vary.
  • Source – Is it printable? From the news paper? Indicate specifically where to find it.
  • What you are willing to trade – You can be generic and say "lots." However, offering a hot coupon will elicit a quicker response.

Check Your Notifications and Messages

Many people will respond on your post while others will message you directly.

  • Make sure your settings allow you to receive messages from anyone.
  • There's an "Other" folder below your regular message folder–check it!
  • If someone is interested on your post, move it to a PM as quickly as you can. This eliminates any confusion that might be caused if you have more than one person interested in your offer.
  • If the offer has been fulfilled, update or delete your post on Facebook to avoid responses you have to deny.

Work Out the Details

This is very important and where many trades get fouled up.

  • After you figure out what you are trading, send a message with a complete recap, "I am sending you 4 $2.00/1 Old Spice Body Wash, excludes trial size exp 1/31 and you are sending me 12 $0.25/1 Bounty Paper Towels, any exp 1/31. We are both mailing out this afternoon. Is this right?"
  • Once the trade is agreed upon, make sure you exchange addresses.
  • If the other person is sending stamps, you can ask if they would like to send them at the same time or wait until they receive your envelope.  Whatever you expect of them, make sure to include this in your recap message.

Follow Through!

Make sure you send your envelope when you say you will! Life happens. If you are unable to meet the expectation, message that person as soon as possible. That's the nice thing to do.

Don't Get Burned!

Unfortunately, not all traders are honest. I've been lucky and have had some amazing experiences, but not everyone has fared as well. It can leave a bad taste in your mouth if your first few trades are bad. Here are some tips to avoid getting burned:

  • If it's your first trade with a "stranger," keep the trade small. Send coupons you never intend on using or send 2 or so of the "hot" coupons. That way if the other person doesn’t hold up their end of the deal, you aren’t put out more than a stamp.
  • Watch out for people wanting large quantities of hot coupons. If the previous tip also applies here, make sure to follow those suggestions. If you’ve traded with this person before, it's probably okay.
  • When in doubt, ask around. You'll see many of the same people on the page through the day/week. It's okay to message them and ask about a person you might trade with. They'll give you an honest opinion and will ease your mind or prevent you from getting burned.
  • Follow Your Gut. If you have a bad feeling about it, it's okay to back out!
  • If you do get burned, it is NOT okay to post their information on Facebook! We all want to know who the bad traders are, but putting them on blast is not cool! If you follow the first tip under this section, it makes getting burned much more bearable.

More often than not, trades go great! You'll build relationships with people and will have great sources to trade with. There are many newbies out there starting just like we did. They need the opportunity to prove themselves! While I can't guarantee you'll never get burned, I can say that you'll have better experiences!

This has been a guest post by Daphne from Colorado Springs, CO
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To Trade or Not to Trade? How to Get the Coupons You Want