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When I first started on the Internet looking for coupons, I ran across numerous sites promoting coupon books for prices ranging from free to $24.95. These books promise to let you choose your coupons and for a SASE and a nominal handling fee each time they will send you $10 or so of your allotted coupons.
The problem is their lists are limited (not updated often) and you have to choose 35-40 brands/items of the coupons you think you will need. No guarantees that you will really get what you have selected at the beginning of your list. It's truly better to trade directly with someone who has the coupons you need or to pay a small handling fee for the individual coupons you desire.
I completely agree with you. My wife decided by a coupon book convincing me that we'll able to save more than the book's value ($25). She only used the 2 coupons worth $10 during the whole year. Most of these books come w/ expiry dates.
Another tip is to check those free papers at super markets, street corners and bus shelters. These papers carry vast amount of coupons and deals. After all, that's why it's "FREE"