I must admit, when I first mentioned the idea of a “coupon party” to some of my friends, they weren’t very excited. The idea came about when I started thinking about all the different kinds of parties that I had been to- Home Interior, Mary Kay, Tupperware, etc and it dawned on me that all of these parties were to try and SELL you something, and that if you didn’t buy anything, you always felt just a little guilty for being there in the first place. I wanted to have a party where I was NOT trying to sell anything, but yet wanted to have good conversation with other people who enjoyed being frugal as much as I did and who were either using coupons already or who were intrigued by the use of coupons. I decided to have my first party in January of 2009- after all the holidays were over and maybe people were looking for a fresh start on how to live better and save more money in the coming year.
I first mentioned my idea on Freecycle to see if there was any interest. I then posted it on Myspace and drew some attention and even got one phone call from a friend I used to work with. Since the idea of the whole party was about being frugal but yet still living good, I was not serving lobster and caviar, lol. I used things from my stockpile such as cheese, crackers and even a new charger that I had picked up while getting some overage. I just happened to go into a local Supermarket (which I NEVER go into) and in the marked- down cart was an AWESOME sheet cake for $3.00! I felt like that was meant to be, that that cake was put there just for my frugal party. I had a stockpile of paper plates, cups, and napkins that I had picked up for .25 so that everything at the party was frugal. I asked everyone to bring their extra coupons, but if they didn’t have any, that was fine too. I even handed out door prizes. Since I was the only person doing extreme couponing at the time, I showed everyone my binder and we looked over all the sales ads.
The first party I only had 4 people show up but what fun it was. We all sat around and passed the coupons around to everyone and I had enough pairs of scissors so that no one had to share. As we sat around and swapped coupons, shared stories of good deals, products that actually WORK, and store policies it dawned on the guests that this was DEFINITELY a fun party. We realized then that this was something that we wanted to do every month. Since I didn’t want to be responsible for having to deep clean my house very month (I am OCD) it was decided that at each party a guest would then volunteer to have the next party at their house. After the very first party, there has been a party held at LEAST once a month at someone’s house. Some of the parties have themes, such as when I was honored and lucky enough to be selected to host the Clairol House Party, I also made it a “Coupon Party”. Some of the parties have had the theme of recycling, cheap but fast dinner meals, an ice cream social, parties where everyone brings something to share with all the other guests, etc. Not only am I into couponing, but also into sharing. My original purpose was to create some sort of “co-op” where people could swap not only their coupons, but their products as well.
I am fixing to have my first party of 2010 on January 9th and it is going to focus more on Department stores, such as Hallmark and JcPenney. I have left up my Christmas tree and decorations and want to focus on how AFC can help them find the deals, such as the $10.00 JCP code and the $5.00 Hallmark coupon that was out, not just on groceries and HBA items. I want to be able to show people that I live very well, I just do it as a “Frugalista”.