Coupons are more popular than ever as consumers begin to realize that even though they're slips of colored paper, under that glossy exterior there's cold, hard cash -- and in this economy, every quarter counts. If you've ever had a kitchen countertop groaning under the weight of clipped coupons, you've probably figured out that there may be a better way to make use of some of those great coupons you have no need for. If you don't have a dog, that very appealing dog food coupon is wasted on you, but that doesn't mean your next-door neighbor, the one with the bull mastiff who works security for both your properties (bless him), can't use the coupon.
In the spirit of share and share alike, working with friends, neighbors, relatives or coworkers to make the most of this colorful cash makes good sense. Like-minded people have gotten together for less. If you can host a weekly poker game, use the alphabet without too many slips, and recognize your neighbors -- at least on sight, you can create a neighborhood coupon club.
Developing a couponing strategy with people living close to you can be a smart move. You already have something in common, geography, which can work to your advantage in a number of ways we'll get to in a minute. What you don't have in common can work to your advantage, too. Those diaper coupons may be a decade too late to benefit your youngest, but could be a godsend to the new mom in the yellow house across the street. The more people there are in your coupon group, the more homes you're likely to find for those specialty coupons that would otherwise go to waste. It's all about planning and distributing resources. Actually, it can be a blast.
If you had considered organizing a neighborhood coupon club a few years ago, it would probably have been a harder sell. These days, though, it's a financial boon and even has some social cachet, too. You may never be the superstar who walks out of the market having spent $10 on $100 worth of groceries, but building a network of coupon buddies who like to share, and live to dig, can make that long wait at the checkout a symbol of sweet success instead of a bit of an embarrassment.
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