After I had a baby and quit my job (I owned a wildly unsuccessful business) I started couponing to help us save some money. It seemed like a competitive sport, trying to save 50-75% off of my grocery bill. BUT being vegan – and a health conscious vegan, it was hard to go through the newspaper coupons and find much of anything that I currently used or would consider using. So while I could buy lots of crappy food for cheap, that really wasn’t what I wanted for my family…even if it was nearly free. Though there are some deals I can’t pass up, like when something is nearly free I just get it and give it to a food pantry or women’s shelter.
After failing as a coupon goddess I decided to try something else. I started contacting the companies directly! I went through my kitchen and made a list of the things that are either most expensive to buy or the things I go through the most and sent them emails. Something like:
My family LOVES your ______. Thank you for making such delicious _____!! We go through nearly 3 packages of your _____ every week. The only thing is that your ______ never seems to go on sale here in Denver. Would you happen to have any spare coupons laying around that you would be able to mail to me? That would be fantastic.
Thank you very much and have an awesome day!
(my address here)
I sent out 16 emails and got 15 responses. Pretty damn good, huh? Of those responses, I got coupons in the mail from 7 of them, anywhere from 2-10 coupons, .50 cents to $1.00 each. Totally worth the effort of sending off a little email! Here’s who sent me coupons: Crofters, Barbaras, Daiya, Veganaise (Follow Your Heart), Earth Balance, Tofurky, and Eden brand (they make everything from nori to canned beans).
4 other companies said they didn’t deal in coupons, but I could sign up for their newsletter or Facebook page where they post coupons and advertise sales. Crofter’s organic fruit spread sent me coupons AND told me when to expect their jam to go on sale in Colorado Whole Foods (August, October, and December). Awesome customer service!!
That was a pretty sweet return!
I also signed up for a digital version of a coupon book called Mambo Sprouts, check out their website here: www.mambosprouts.com You can print coupons from their site more than once, but they do have limits on how many times you can print…though a tricky way of cheating is to photocopy the ones you do print.
So, I’ve learned a lesson here. In the past I would write a nasty letter at the drop of a hat to tell a company that I’d had a terrible experience, something tasted like crap, or if it even looked funny. I’d typically get an apology, an explanation, and some coupons. But it seems I get even better results when I give compliments and tell companies how much I like their products. After all, who doesn’t like to get complimented on what they make?