There are times when I need "me" time with the girls, and my girlfriends and I are all about low-cost activities. We've been able to not only entertain ourselves and socialize, but do so while making—yes, making—money. How? Through a coupon club! Imagine this:

  • Collect your unused coupons
  • Cook a dish
  • Arrive at a central location (e.g., someone's home) to share both
  • Talk, laugh and enjoy the evening
  • Repeat once a month year-round

Is it a coupon swap? A pot-luck? Not really. It's more than that because there's a focused approach, a set group of people, and a general commitment by all to carve out the time (hard as it may be!) to be part of "the coupon club."

A coupon club can be an easy way to stay connected with other KCLs in a low-key atmosphere. Such events can be tailored to individuals' interests and needs (baby items, home goods, pet supplies). Read on to learn how to start a coupon club, which just might be the affordable event you've been needing in order to share time with other adults.

1. Decide on a focus

In addition to sharing food (after all, who doesn't love gabbing over fun finger foods and munchies?) and coupons, a coupon club can help individuals in other ways. Think about your most important reason for couponing: budget? A lifestyle change? A new baby? Once a month, the club can have a new focus to help address that issue, whether through app sharing, idea swapping or general verbal support. Think about women around you who may be able to congeal as an evening group. Perhaps there would be interest within your moms’ group, with a few people you know from work, at your church, or with the neighbors on your street.

2. Decide on a size

What's manageable for most people's homes in your area? Is it only practical to have six people gather in one person's house? Could 12 actually come? Do you want to keep it confined to "girls only?" Think about what's most practical for your area, and then invite individuals accordingly.

3. Decide on a frequency

Coupon clubs work because there is healthy anticipation and group cohesion since people connect on a regular basis. But if meeting once a month sounds like too big a personal commitment, try every other month, or just do nine months out of the year, skipping the summer when people might be out of town anyway. Establishing a frequency will help you and the other participants plan accordingly.

4. Decide on a rotation

Typically, participants in the no-cost coupon club rotate homes as hosts. Since there will be a pre-established understanding of when/how often to meet, no specific invitations or RSVPs are needed. The host's prep work is minimal (usually confined to just getting enough seating, providing a few scissors, and making plates and napkins available). Nonetheless, no one individual should be stuck communicating driving directions or sending reminders, so make sure everyone who participates is on board with sharing duties by taking their turn as host.

5. Add something extra

To make a routine gathering even more fun, add something that you and your guests will enjoy. Is everyone a coffee drinker? If so, consider having a coffee bar before the coupons get swapped. You might ask guests to dress to a theme ("Cool Hawaiian!") or wear something special ("Everyone must arrive with a funny hat!"). If so, make a few "best of" awards to distribute to keep the evening fun. Door prizes or small homemade trinkets for your guests might also be something you'll enjoy adding to your club.

For me, a coupon club provides a way to stay connected socially with other like-minded adults. I also look forward to the low-key but meaningful evening once a month where I can recharge my batteries, step away from my Mommy role for just a few hours, and focus on new ways to save.

So if you're looking for a way to socialize that doesn't break the bank (and actually helps you make money), seek—or start—a coupon club!

5 Tips for Starting Your Own Coupon Club