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Friday, February 6, 2009

How to start your very own local coupon club!

We are fortunate enough here in Cartersville, GA to have our coupon club back up and running!

If you have never been to one...you are missing out on a wonderful experience! If there isn't a group in your home town...maybe you would like to start one of your own!

Everyone there has the same purpose as you do! TO SAVE MONEY USING COUPONS!

Some will know nothing at all and are there to learn. Some will know a wealth of information and be willing to share it with others.

Having a support group is a awesome experience! You can meet once a week or once per month...it doesn't matter! I just know that each time we have one...I can't wait to attend! I have been able to build some wonderful friendships with those who I have met in our meetings and wouldn't have it any other way!

A friend, Ashley, had asked me a few questions as a beginner coupon user. She is the one who inspired this article! She doesn't live here in town with me and doesn't know of any clubs offered in her area! There are many websites that you can meet wonderful people through and receive millions of tips and tricks of the trade but having a coupon club can be a great addition to your online resources! If there is not one in your area...start one yourself!

Here is how you can start your own local coupon club

Where do I hold the meetings?

This is an ideal place to hold your meetings! They can usually accommodate any number of people in attendance. You will have access to tables and chairs (which you will need). You may even have permission to use items such as projectors etc.

In Your Home:
You could probably handle 5-10 individuals in your home if you would like to go that route! Some may only want a couple of friends over and some may want to open their homes up to the public and have everyone chip in on refreshments or lunch!

Anywhere else:
There is really no limit to the gathering area of a coupon club! Be creative there is something out there for everyone!

When to hold your meetings?

Time is probably going to be the biggest issue for a coupon club. From personal experience holding your meetings once per month on a Saturday suits most in attendance! Our club meets the first Saturday of every month from 10AM until 12PM.

If you are the one spearheading the group...set the time yourself. You can be open to changing it in the future but if you go ahead and set a specific time each month to hold your meetings others can work their personal schedules around it to make sure that they are there!

What about children and the men?

This is completely up to your group! Our local group encourages the entire family to come! (My daughter is 6 and she has her own coupon binder! She has learned well and sometimes she even amazes me with her findings when we are in the store together!).

You may just want to have some friends over but if you go on a bigger level...keep in mind that the family that stays together saves together! I love it when the men get just as interested as the women! Children are just as enthusiastic about clipping and finding coupons in the stores as we are! (I will have to admit that I was in fear the first time I allowed my daughter to clip my coupons...fear of her cutting through expiration dates or bar codes! That fear has far surpassed and she absolutely loves to cut them and we get done faster with her help!)

There are many more lessons that individuals can benefit from your group! In addition to the entire family learning how to save money together...it teaches the values of spending time as a whole...you don't have to go to the playground or to a movie to have fun together...you can also clip coupons and make grocery lists! I like to make it a game for my daughter!

How do I advertise for the meetings?

With practically no overhead costs here are some ideas of how to advertise your meetings...

  • Consider putting an ad on Craigslist: When you post anything on Craigslist it runs for 30 days and then is deleted! You will have to post an advertisement each month!
  • Create a Flier: You can create a Flier using Microsoft Word. Ask for permission to place your flier on any bulletin boards at work or in grocery stores etc. You would be surprised at how many people will actually look at it! Tip: Make sure that you do something that stands out...a piece of colored paper may not be enough! Maybe ad some $ signs somewhere on the posting???
  • Stop anyone you see in the stores with coupons in hand: I always hand out business cards to people that I meet while I'm out shopping! You could do the same with the flier just make a smaller version of it to hand out while you're out!
  • Church: Know of any church's that are offering the Dave Ramsey University? You can actually go online to see what church's are signed up and get their contact information! Give them a call and let them know you exist!
  • Word-Of-Mouth: In time word of mouth will get out and bring a good number of people to your meetings! Always bring it up in any discussion that gives you the opportunity to do so!

What do you do at a coupon meeting?

It may take a few meetings to see where you stand! Your very first meeting is to simply just meet and greet others like you! You can get to know one another and find out how much each individual knows! Trust me...if you know little yourself I can almost guarantee that someone who know a lot will come!

First Meeting Suggestions!

You can take suggestions in your first meeting on what everyone would like to get out of the club. This will help you decide how to prepare for future meetings!

Taking Notes:

Designating a "Minutes" Keeper would be ideal! This person would take brief notes on topics discussed and this will help aid the club in future meetings! You really don't want to talk about the same identical things over and over each week and taking notes will allow you to better prepare for this!

Guest Speakers:

I guest speak at our local club each month! I choose a topic to talk about and then answer any questions that may come up! Some ideas for guest speakers could be having someone talk about how to play the CVS Game, or coupon resources, or even online resources. Anything goes...there is a ton of information for everyone to learn...you won't run out of topics!

To Clip or Not To Clip: That is the question!

I actually recommend that everyone should already have their coupons clipped and organized! Clipping and organizing coupons can be a long process. It can easily take up your entire 2 hours as everyone will usually talk while they are clipping which makes the process take longer! Having everyone clipped and ready to go...allows them to concentrate on how to use the coupons by giving their undivided attention to the topics discussed at each meeting!

Create A Coupon Swap Area:

Creating a place where unwanted coupons can be available to others in the club is a great way gain access to coupons you need that someone else may not need!

How long should the meeting be?

2 hours is an ideal time frame! Not too long and not too short! You can schedule things in your group down to the minute! You could have an intro for the first 5-10 minutes then have a guest speaker talk about their topic of choice for 20 minutes and allow for questions at the end! You can also make time to have just a general question and answer session!

This really is up to each individual group and can change even within the meetings themselves!

What will we discuss?

There are 1001 things to talk about when it comes to coupons! You can discuss general topics such as how to organize your coupons and where to find them and then go into details on other topics! I suggest that your guest speakers should be ones to teach everyone how to use coupons at a specific store or how to play the CVS/Walgreens/RiteAid games! The topics are endless and the questions will be plenty! There won't be a dull minute...I promise!

Structure to your group is key to keep every one's interest!

What else can we do?

Donating Your Finds:

I love the idea of coupon groups "Adopting A Cause". Whether this means to give a seminar on how to use coupons to benefit a local non-profit organization or to take on a local shelter and collect donations from your members each month!

I personally have adopted quite a few causes...I donate individually whenever I can to shelters and families in need! Many times there are coupons out there for items that are "free" or close to it! These are the items that are easily donated!

You could also give everyone a $20 challenge throughout the year! See how far they can make $20 stretch and all of the items can be donated to a local homeless shelter!

The possibilities are endless!

Other Things To Consider Adding To Your Meetings!

Field Trips: (without the school bus!)

Each time my group meets I have offered and plan to continue offering Shopping Field Trips to a local grocery store! After January's meeting I offered to have them follow me over to Publix. Someone can tell you that they get $100 worth of groceries for $10 but to ACTUALLY see it yourself makes an everlasting impression! I usually have audiences when I go shopping most of the time but It is so much fun to actually take everyone around the store and show them how I shop each week! I gave great tips on how to look for things that aren't advertised among many other tips!

We even had one lady ask us what we were doing! We told her and hopefully just got ourselves another member! She actually stopped us during my explanation of purchasing a box of Kellogg's Smart start that was $3.99. I had a Kroger coupon for $2 off and a manufacturer's coupon for $1 off. These 2 coupons made the cereal .99. The lady that had walked up to us said that she was definitely interested in learning how to do that...but what I think actually sold her on the idea of using coupons even more was the fact that the box of cereal had a full-price rebate on it! After telling her that I was paying .99 for the cereal but getting $3.99 back in a rebate and therefore profiting from purchasing the cereal...she was convinced!

If you or someone at the meetings is willing to take part in this I highly suggest it! It really is a lot of fun!

Again, starting a coupon club can be a very exciting thing to do! In the beginning there is a lot of work to do but it gets easier as others chip in to help you out! I truly hope that this article has inspired some of you to start your very own coupon club! Good Luck!

If you have any questions about starting a coupon club in your area please don't hesitate to contact me! I will gladly help our in any way that I can!


If you have a local coupon club in your area please leave a comment with the contact information! This will help anyone who is interested in attending one in your area!

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