I lamented to a few friends and family that I was getting disappointed with coupons and it seemed that I was lucky to get my money's worth from the newspaper subscription. I wonder just how many coupons we need for room deodorizers, do we really smell that bad?

Back even 2-3 years ago I would have the coupon section looking like the after effects of cutting out paper dolls, it was shredded. Now the coupon section looks untouched, there are Sundays that I cut out nothing of use. But not wanting the subscription to go to waste I think of different ways to put them to use.

* Mail them out to family or military families
* Take them to work for others to look through
* Leave them around the grocery store aisles for impulse buyers

First, I send them to family if I know they are looking for something specific like diapers or they are addicted to Pillsbury frozen cookie dough; it only costs a stamp for sending a dozen. Sending to military families is more expensive since it is overseas but it helps since military pay can be, well, poor and they accept coupons that are up to 2 months old. (correction: Miss Tish has commented below that "If you are sending to an APO or FPO address (for military families) you only use a 44 cent stamp - there's no overseas rate for those addresses")

Second, I take them to work and lay them in the breakroom for others to flip through and tear out what they need, hopefully they leave the rest for others. The downside is the cleaning crew getting to them first and pitching them or someone just taking the whole section and pitching it after they are done. But, I have to remember, this is the alternative to myself tossing them in the trash.

Finally, I do leave behind coupons in grocery aisles if I realized the store brand is much cheaper but someone else is brand loyal. Recently the Consumerist had a post about coupon fairies: nuisance or nice? and had to vote that it was nice because I have been on both sides of the coupon fairy idea.

As former Wal-mart stocker I would see these coupons wedged in between cans of food and bags of bread, I just left them after organizing as long as they weren't expired. Some stockers didn't like them and they would crumple them up and toss them in with the broke-down boxes. If they considered them a nuisance than they were being nit-picky because it took them all of 2 seconds to crumple up and toss away. And the rare amount of coupons we had on shelves didn't make the aisle look poor. What did annoy us were expired coupons that customers would try to then use at the registers.

As a 'coupon fairy' on the other-side I have no qualms about leaving behind coupons as long as they are not expired (couple days or more), easily seen and don't fall behind the product, going unused. The amount of coupons that I have seen have been relatively few but that could be to people picking them up, employees tossing them or people just not leaving many behind.

Over all I am a fan of trying to get as much use out of coupons as possible whether it is providing for family members, sharing at work or being a mystery coupon fairy - I think it is all good.


  1. Paul // Monday, October 05, 2009 1:49:00 PM  

    Interesting! I have never heard of the coupon fairy idea, but perhaps that's because I don't do the grocery shopping for my family.

    Is it that widespread?


  2. Anonymous // Monday, October 05, 2009 4:02:00 PM  

    This would occasionally provide someone some benefit, and that may be worth the time involved for you.

    But I only need so many coupons for toothpaste, and if I'm inclined to using them, I probably already get the paper (or go to that website). I don't eat very many Kraft foods, and it feels to me like they pretty much sponsor the coupons these days.

    I would pick them up at the grocery store, because then I'd already be there, thinking of buying that item. Not so much at work.

  3. Dawn // Monday, October 05, 2009 6:02:00 PM  

    My personal opinion is that it is sporadic but then there may be more of it found depending on the region.

  4. Lawrence // Monday, October 05, 2009 10:32:00 PM  

    I think it sounds great!

  5. Miss Tish // Sunday, October 11, 2009 5:57:00 PM  

    If you are sending to an APO or FPO address (for military families) you only use a 44 cent stamp - there's no overseas rate for those addresses. Just passing that along! :)

  6. Dawn // Sunday, October 11, 2009 6:58:00 PM  

    @ Miss Tish
    What wonderful information to hear and pass along to others, Thank you!