Save Money by Hosting a Swap

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If you love to shop, but your budget says you shouldn’t, why not try something different and organize a Swap? You’ll still feel as if you’re shopping because you’ll be browsing “new” merchandise to select things you want to “purchase.” The difference is that you don’t pay cash, you “pay” in similar items.

Swapping or bartering items you have on hand for items you want can save you a bundle. And swaps can be a lot of fun in the process! They’re easy to organize, you can swap for any number of items, and you can acquire things you really need at no actual cost – other than something you were going to get rid of anyway.

Swaps do require some planning, though, to be successful. Here are some tips to help you as you begin organizing your first swap.

Decide on the Type of Swap You’ll Host

You can swap anything you have a surplus of. Common swaps include children’s clothing, women’s clothing, books, toys, baby items, CDs or movies. But you don’t have to stop there! Swap direct sales products such as Avon or Tupperware, homemade dinner casseroles, cookies, even services like babysitting or running errands.

Choose a Date and Invite Your Friends

Once you know what you’ll swap, you need to find others to swap with. So pick a tentative date for your first swap and talk to friends and family to see who’d be interested in taking part. When you have a group of moms who are interested, firm up the date and tell them what to bring.

Set Some Rules for the Swap

Swaps can be run a variety of ways. You can have everyone bring a set number of items such as 10 books each, or 15 pieces of clothing. Or you can have everyone bring a dollar amount of merchandise such as $20 retail value in their company’s products. The former typically works best for used items, the latter for new ones. Whatever you decide, let your guests know what they’re expected to bring.

If you’ll be swapping services, create a simple form that allows the provider to list what they have to offer and the dollar amount. If you’ll be swapping used items, ask that all items be in very good condition, clean and ready to use by the one who will take the item home.

Decide if You Plan to Offer Refreshments

If you want more of a party atmosphere, you can provide cookies or finger food, and soft drinks. If you want to keep it more professional, put on a pot of coffee and leave it at that. Whatever you prefer is fine. Just keep in the mind the tone you want to set and go from there.

Choose How to Handle “Leftovers”

Invariably, you’ll have some items leftover that no one wants or can use. You will need to decide what to do with the surplus. You can have everyone take back their own leftovers, or you can agree that any unused items be given to a local charity. If you choose to donate them, you can take them yourself, or ask for a volunteer to handle that task. Just know in advance how you’ll handle the excess so you don’t end up with more things in the house you don’t want or need.

Organizing a swap is a relatively simple task, and requires only some planning and preparation. Everyone involved, however, can reap big rewards and it’s certainly something to consider if you have an abundance of items you no longer want.


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