How To Set Up and Manage a Coupon Swap Box
One way to find more coupons is to set up a coupon swapbox. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the idea of a coupon swapbox, here's a bit of information: Simply put it is a box of coupons that is set up at a central location and allows people to swap and share coupons. Those who contribute to the swapbox have the privilege of taking coupons from the swapbox. To be honest, it is a very simple thing to set up, contribute to, and maintain. And for those who truly know how to get the most out of their coupons, it is a great way to get more coupons!
Before you set up a coupon swapbox, you need to find a good location. Think of locations where there are a lot of people. Those locations make good places to have a coupon swapbox. Good examples are daycares, preschools, churches, libraries, schools, community centers, work, local children's museum.
When I started the coupon swapbox at my son's preschool, I started with a simple poll to see if there was any interest. I posted a note outside each of the classrooms. People were asked to sign the note IF interested. This didn't bind them to participate - just told me if it was worth setting up. If you are thinking of setting up a coupon swapbox at your office, you can easily poll via an email. Some places, polling will be a bit harder (ie: library, community centers). Visit those places during a time when you know there will be a lot of people around and then walk around and ask people if they'd be interested. Try the library during children's story hour. Try the community center during bingo night.
Here is a sample of my "Are you interested?" letter. Please feel free to copy it.
Do you wish you could find duplicates of the "good" coupons from the Sunday paper without buying another paper? Most likely there are fellow shoppers here at ABC school/library/office who are NOT using the coupons that you use while you are NOT using the coupons that they use. With that thought in mind, I am starting a coupon swapbox.
A little more information for those unfamiliar with this idea: A coupon swapbox is a way to share/swap coupons with others. By donating your unused/unwanted coupons to the swapbox, you can look through the coupons donated by others. What you need to do is simple: Cut out all the Sunday coupons. Take what you want. Put the remaining coupons in a Ziploc bag along with an index card (please sign the index card). Add your bag to the swapbox. Instructions on the actual swapbox will explain how to keep track of which coupon bags you have already perused. (Simple method, trust me!) All in all, the main point is to help everyone find more of the coupons they want/need.
Sign below if you are INTERESTED in participating. Signing below does NOT obligate you to participate. It just lets me know if there is enough interest in this idea.
If you have questions, please call me at xxx-xxxx. - Lynda
If you DO NOT use coupons, please think of those that do. Please donate your Sunday coupon inserts (no cutting required) to our swapbox. You can leave them under the swapbox and I will gladly cut and add them to the box for others to use. Thanks!
Once I found there was an interest, I bought a plastic shoe box (at the Dollar Store). I labeled it COUPON SWAP BOX and taped the rules (see below) on the inside of the lid. I made sure that the label on the top of the lid mentioned there were rules inside. I also sent home these rules with each person who indicated interest. (Again, if you are doing this at work, email the people who expressed an interest.) I had the preschool director put a blurb in the next monthly newsletter regarding the coupon swapbox in order to inform everyone else that it had been started (and to possibly get some more interest in it). Check to see if the location of your coupon swapbox has a newsletter. If so, ask if you can add a little blurb about the coupon swapbox to the next newsletter. If not, maybe they have a bulletin board where you can post a message about it. Remember, the more people who know about it, the more people will participate.
Once you have the coupon swapbox established, the only job you have left is maintaining it. Basically, the only maintenance it will need is a good monthly pulling of expired coupons. At my son's preschool, I would either take the coupon swapbox home with me for the night or I would sit in the office, chatting with the director while pulling those expired coupons. Sometimes, I would combine bags - but only if I had multiple bags that all had the same signatures on them. (Ex: if bags A, B, & C have all been rummaged through and signed by Vera, Tina, and Wanda; then go ahead and make one big bag of coupons from the 3.) It will help keep that coupon swapbox looking tidy.
Hopefully, this idea will help someone. The coupon swapbox is quite easy to maintain -- and the plus to being the coordinator is grabbing all those end-of-the-month coupons when you clean out the box each month. Happy savings!