Coupons are either an annoying nuisance in your paper or they can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. In the previous article, Get the most from coupon clipping at the grocery store, I covered how to really cash in the savings at the grocery store. This article will broaden the scope a bit and show two sides of coupon clipping.

Coupons come in many shapes and sizes, not just those for groceries in the Sunday paper. Often times you may get special promotions in the mail because of a previous purchase you made with a company or because some lame company sold your address to a mass mailer. In any event, these coupons can be valuable. Every six weeks like clockwork I get a flyer from Bed Bath & Beyond for 10 or 20% off a purchase. A Chick-fil-A opened in my neighborhood and they sent out coupons for free food (valid only at that location) to everyone in about a 10 mile radius. LensCrafters sends me coupons every month because I bought glasses from them four years ago. We won’t even go into the credit card applications.

The point is, most of these get tossed in the can, some will go to work with me because several I work with go out to eat on a daily basis and now they can save 10% on their Big Mac. What if you tossed out that Home Depot 10% off flyer last week but this week you realize you need something there and could really use it. Welcome to the world of second hand coupon clipping.

Discount coupons – typically good for 10 to 20 percent off a single purchase – currently sell for about $1 to $2 on eBay, plus shipping. Larger coupon lots can yield $20 or more.

A quick search would show you that this 20% off coupon for Home Depot has a high bid of $0.99 right now. So for less then $5 you could save $20 on a $100 purchase, factor in the $5 for the cost of the coupon and you are still saving $15. Just how big is this second hand industry? Right now more then 20,000 eBay auctions for coupons are listed and active. There are coupons for everything from fast food to baby food, home improvement to ski resorts.

There are also virtual coupons, also known as codes that you enter for retailers when placing orders online. Thinking of buying a Dell computer? How’d you like to get an additional 25% off, this auction has a code for just $2.00 that will do just that.

Some risks do come with this, such as the potential that the coupon will not work, but in many cases you can acquire these coupons for only a few dollars.

Now we can look at the flip side, making money selling coupons. Remember that Home Depot coupon earlier? They seem to be some of the most popular and the easiest to make money selling, if you have them. This auction for 20% off up to $400 has 3 days to go and two bidders have already run it up over $50. A coupon that someone got for free! Some people choose to sell lots of coupons, like this auction for 100 assorted grocery food coupons. If you don’t mind clipping coupons or the bloated fees from eBay, coupon clipping could bring in some serious money.

Take a second look at those coupons you have, if you won’t use them and no one you know will either, consider getting an eBay account and selling them. If you are in need of a coupon, take a peak at eBay, you may be able to save hundreds of dollars for less then two minutes of work.

Source: Wired News