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Save Money By Having A Fun White Elephant Exchange!

Updated on June 19, 2013
Did you get a shirt that your weren't too fond of...
Did you get a shirt that your weren't too fond of...
Trade that shirt with a buddy for one that makes you smile!
Trade that shirt with a buddy for one that makes you smile!

Would you find use in a White Elephant Party?

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Food, Friends, and Hand-me-Downs!

Who isn't looking to save a little money these days? I can imagine that "saving money" is on the list of highly googled phrases getting millions of hits per day. If you are looking for ways to save and either ask around or take the internet search route, I am certain that you will find ideas like: cutting your own hair, selling your items in ebay, thrift store shopping, couponing, cutting back, go out less, etc. These all sound like great ideas but what do you do if you are a crappy haircutter, computer illiterate, leery of thrift stores, or just plain resistant to change?

I will tell you what you o on a money "diet" and save tons of money for a week or two then give up and go back to your spending ways. This is why saving money is just like dieting. We go to the extreme and instead of making lifestyle changes...we deprive ourselves. Saving money (and dieting for that matter) can't be about deprivation if we want to succeed. To have long term sustainable success, we have to keep the same style of life...or we are surely doomed. So, understanding that giving myself a haircut would be an epic fail, now what do I do? I say... LETS HAVE A WHITE ELEPHANT PARTY!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with a "white elephant exchange" it is a gift exchange where everyone brings an item that they have used and no longer need to exchange with a friend who in turn shares their unneeded item. In my version it doesn't have to be an item-it can be a SERVICE! Think back to the "good old days" when you would give your neighbor a dozen eggs for painting your porch or in modern terms think of the Barter Kings. You are exchanging something that has no value to you but may be priceless to your friend! You are basically upcycling your items to ones that you CAN use! Not only is this a great way to save some money and get cool items BUT it is a great way to spend a fun night with friends.

Here are my suggestions on how to host a successful and FUN White Elephant Party!

1. Decide on a fun and useful theme for your White Elephant Party! This could vary based on the time of year (and what you need of course)...some suggestions would be:

  • Back to School - exchange used kids clothing, bookbags, etc
  • Glitz and Glam Night - swap your fancy clothes, hair services, manicures, etc
  • Shoes and Purse Party - you got it! Take your uneeded shoes and purses to swap for new ones.
  • Fit and Fancy - take your old fitness dvds, accessories, and fitness books
  • Entertainment - books, movies, games, etc
  • Creating money - swap coupons and services (like Ebay posting)
  • Cool Cooking - kitchen gadgets, recipes, books, etc.
  • Design on less than a Dime - crafts, decorations, and home goods


2. Line up any of your talented buddies that you can! A hairstylist, seamstress, Ebay savvy person, spray tan technician, a car wash expert, think of anyone who offers a service that you typically pay for. There will be no pay for this so make sure it is a good friend who can benefit from the event.

3. Invite your friends a few weeks in advance and notify them of the theme. Make your invitations cute and make sure they explain what the party is. You don't want anyone going out to purchase new items for the party...that would defeat the purpose!

4. Set a limit for the minimum number of items brought. Everyone needs to have enough items to have their own "thrift shop" like set up. C'mon....we all have stuff that we bought and can't fit into or just didn't wear. Time to share it with someone who will love it!

5. Make it an event! Everyone should bring a bottle of wine or soda and an appetizer to share.

6. Come up with a creative way to decide the order in which you select the items you want. Some ideas are silent auction with marbles, monopoly money, drawing numbers, etc.

7. Have your next month's theme ready so you can announce it at the end of the night!

8. If there are items unclaimed at the end of the something good and donate them to the charity of your choice.

I hope that you find these tips and ideas useful and fun. Its like having a party and night with your friends while on a budget AND getting some much needed items for zero dollars! These parties are especially beneficial to parents, college students, and people who stay UP on fashion. This is a way to get new items to add to your wardrobe without spending a dime.

There are so many ways to make these parties a success, I would love to hear your ideas!

Don't save money the same way you diet...Don't DENY yourself...BE CREATIVE and pack a trunk for your new treasures!


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    • Brittanie2216 profile image

      Brittanie Pervier 

      5 years ago from Seattle WA

      Love love love this idea! Especially when it comes to shoes! I am a little obsessed with them but I never thought of using the ones I dont wear as a bartering tool. Genius!

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for and SHARING! It can be a lot of fun to host one of these parties!! Have a great weekend!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      Oh what a great hub;interesting,useful and shared. Enjoy your day.



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