Couponing, in my community, has
become a twice-weekly social event.
Back in September of 2010, two people went searching for a coupon club
in our area. Not finding one, they
received permission from a local grocery manager to invite couponers to
meet. At that first meeting, a
volunteer from a local food bank wowed us with how she leads an effort to save
the food bank 75-percent on their grocery staples. It was then that “Coupons for Our Community” was started, to
provide coupons to both families and local food banks.
Couponing, for the new and the
experienced, is often limited by common obstacles. Families do not have access to multiple coupon inserts. The presence of children and a lack of
“life-organization”, including little time left to devote to couponing, are
solved with “Coupons for Our Community” We provide the coupon inserts, grocery
list/meal planners and extra arms to hold the babies We also help to remove the “dumpster diving” connotation
from couponing; coupon inserts are provided to couponers, no hip boots
How Do We Do It?: As with any event, you have to take
care of the “5 W’s and H”. Begin
with a friend or two, and network through your circles to find those who can
help make this happen.
Why?: Sharing money-saving tools and camaraderie are the initial
rewards. There are long-term
advantages, as we watch youngsters clip coupons or learn to form a grocery
list. Military wives find a
new community through their participation, which feels like a home away from
home to them. We’re helping to “cut out hunger” today, and help families eat
better (and more affordably) in the future.
Where: Libraries, schools, community centers,
restaurants – or perhaps a local grocery store are options. Your local chamber of commerce is a
potential partner, as the club can be an advertising place for local
When: Time and day of your meetings may change at first, as you learn
the preferences of your guests.
Our club currently meets one weeknight at the grocery store, one weekday
morning at the chamber of commerce and one Saturday morning a month.
Who: Once you have location, you can begin advertising. Post where couponers are, online and
in-person. This is also the time
to begin finding sources of coupon inserts. Contact retirement communities, senior centers, with
information on the coupon insert donation project. Your flyer can be a combination of advertising for members
and on side two, explaining the program.
Once you’re established, you can invite local media to profile the group
and its mission.
What: Basic supplies for your meetings include several pairs of scissors,
paperclips, envelopes, copies of a grocery list and/or menu planner, crayons
and coloring books (or other kid occupation tools), large index card boxes with
dividers for guests to donate clipped coupons, recycling bin, garbage can, a
club notebook for guest registration, and coupon insert storage boxes. At our club, we also supply guests with
a “Good Deal Alert” list featuring one partnering grocery store. This is found on a local money-saving
blogger’s website and copies of it are made at the grocery store. A link to the “Good Deal Alert” is also
broadcast in the weekly email, giving credit to the blogger and the opportunity
for guests to use the link for printable coupons.
Optional club features include:
select advertising from local businesses, non-insert coupons, freebies, welcome
folders with basic couponing tips, etc. Creating a weekly newsletter page (featuring
club information, an online/in-store freebie link, local event information,
garage sale listings, business promotions, etc.) is also a fun idea. A weekly email updates guests and those
with interest in “Coupons for Our Community”, of the project’s activities. A
laptop with internet access can be helpful for using online coupon databases –
a great tool for matching grocery lists to available coupons.
At the Meetings: Arrange your tools and features. Guests are welcomed, introduced to
other guests and to what the club has to offer. The host(s) and/or coordinator is available to answer
questions from guests and to ensure all are finding what they need. At closing time, supplies are returned
to their travel boxes and the room returned to its previous condition.
Coupon clubs and “Coupons for
Our Community” projects will vary by the interests and communities they
serve. There is unlimited
potential for communities to positively impact families.
Labels: Couponing, Frugal Living