Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Looking to save money with your friends? Try swaps.

Swaps are a great way to save money, socialize, try new recipes and reuse resources.

1. Soup swap - Depending on how many people involved, simply make enough soup to go around. I just participated in a swap with four other moms and we each made 4 1-quart containers to swap. I came home with four different soups. I promptly put them in the freezer and I now have some new dinner ideas. I'll just add a side salad and some homemade bread and dinner is served. We chose to make quart containers because we all have families with small kids, but you could increase the size. Make sure to set guidelines in case there are food allergies or issues.

2. Dessert swap - Now you will have dessert to go along with your soup. The same mom's group that I belong to did a cookie swap right before the holidays, but this doesn't have to be a holiday event. We each made a dozen cookies and there were about 6-8 mommies involved. If a dozen is too much, make it a half-dozen. Cookies usually freeze really well. Again make sure to set guidelines in case there are food allergies or issues.

3. Babysitting swap - Would you like to go to the grocery store without kiddos? How about getting back in to the gym? Do you have a good friend that you trust with your kids? She might be looking for a sitter too? Set up an arrangement and take turns watching the kids. This gives you some free time without paying a sitter and the kids get some social time with friends.

4. Clothing/baby item swap - Before you box up your items for the yard sale or thrift store, have a swap with friends.

5. Coupon swap - Once I go through my Sunday coupons I hate to just throw the unclipped ones away. That is like dollars being flushed down the drain. Round up your frugal friends and pass those booklets around. Save the coupons!!

6. Magazine/Book Swap - My cousin and I have been swapping magazines and books for years. She gives me her Real Simple and Martha Stewart and I give her my Cooking Light and Organic Gardening. When I am done with the Real Simple and Martha I pass them on to someone else.

Do you and your friends find ways to save money together?

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