What’s better than hanging with your friends and saving money? Not a whole lot. That’s why hosting a coupon swap is a genius idea. It’s an excuse to get together with friends and share savings. It also enables you to find coupons you really need and make sure the ones you don’t, still go to good use.
1. Don’t spend to save. The point of a coupon swap is to help everyone live frugally, so don’t go overboard spending money on food and decorations. It negates the whole purpose of the party! Make it a potluck. You can even challenge everyone to make dishes with what they’ve already got in the pantry or only with ingredients they bought using coupons.
2. Break the ice. At the beginning, go around the circle and have everyone talk about the best deal they scored recently. Let guests know you’ll be asking in advance of the party so they can bring pictures or their receipt showing a whopping savings. This is also a great time to share money-saving strategies and learn from one another.
3. Pass to the right. Ask all your guests to bring a stack of coupons. They can toss them in an envelope, but your swap will be much more efficient if they are organized in some manner. Coupon binders are fantastic, but mini accordion files (find them at the $1 store or an office supply store) also work great. Have everyone pass their coupons to the right, browse through the selection, pick what they want and pass it on.
4. Set some ground rules. If you’ve got some aggressive deal hunters in your group, then you may want to enforce some rules. For example, pass each stack of coupons around the circle twice. The first time around everyone can only pick three from each (this ensures the best coupons aren’t wiped out after the first person gets to them). The second time it’s a free for all and anything left is up for grabs.
5. Make it musical. It works best when everyone passes at the same time. Otherwise, there’s always going to be that slowpoke who holds up the circle. Make a playlist and set each song to play for one or two minutes. Every time the song changes, pass the coupons onward. To do this in iTunes, create your playlist, then right click on songs one at a time, click on “Get Info,” then select the options tab and choose a start time and stop time for the song.
6. Swap actual items. If you want to add another element to your swap, exchange stockpiled items. Sometimes a mayonnaise sale just seems too good to be true, so we buy 10 jars and next thing we know, the expiration is fast approaching and we’ve still got five. Set up a, “leave one, take one” table where guests can drop off an item from their stockpile in exchange for something from someone else’s.
7. Save expired coupons. Expired coupons may be no good to you and your guests, but there are some people who can still benefit from these savings. Stores on overseas military bases accept some expired United State’s manufacturer coupons (up to 6 months). Send them to the Support Our Troops’ Troopons program. While you are at it, might as well send over all the leftover coupons from your swap!
Image source: smartcanucks.ca