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The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to Swapping and Bartering

Sometimes I’ll look around the house and see an item sitting there and think’ if only I could swap you for something I need now’. One item that comes to mind is my old fax machine. I haven’t used it in years and it’s just taking up space. I keep thinking about having a garage sale, and that maybe someone will give it a home. If you’re feeling the pinch right now and have some items you think you might like to swap or barter, here are some ideas and resources.

All in the Family
Sometimes swapping items is as simple as just asking other family members if they have anything they’d like to trade. I’ve had many items I’ve no longer wanted and that by coincidence, someone else in the family just happened to be looking for at the time. I’ve swapped a bookcase for gardening tools and even kitchen appliances.

The Friends and Co-Workers
Another source of potential ‘swappers’ is friends and even co-workers. As most people are now looking for creative ways to save money, you could start an official swap group at work. Make a list of what each person is looking to swap, and what they want in return and put it on the notice board. Even if you can’t make an exact swap right now, you could give each person a credit when someone takes something off their hands and let them use the credit when they need something. I know lots of people like to get rid of baby/ toddler toys and furniture, so you could even think about starting a swap in your neighborhood or at the local daycare.

My Bookshelves are Buckling
As an avid reader, my book collection sometimes gets out of control. While I don’t mind donating some of them, I’ve found several ways to get rid of old ones and netted myself some new reading material for little or no money. Here are some sites that let you swap books.

www.bookins.com It’s free to join and pay $4.49 shipping when you request a book, and you don’t pay postage when you mail a book to another member. You can also swap DVDs at this site too.

www.swaptree.com also free to join and you can swap everything from music to games.

www.frugalreader.com it’s free to sign up and you pay the cost of postage, (for media mail is $2.23 for the first pound) to send books to other members. Then when you request a book, the other member pays the postage.

And if you’re based in the UK, you might like to check out this swap site. www.readitswapit.co.uk

Clothes
Yes, we’re all guilty of this one, buying clothes and then not wearing them. I have a few items like that sitting in my closet and here are some sites where you might be able to swap those items for ones you really will wear-

www.swapace.com, you can also swap books and services on this site too.

www.swapathome.com, you can swap books, DVDs… plus your summer cottage. Well, that’s if you have one.

Odds and Ends
And if you’ve got other items sitting around the house, try some of these sites

www.trashbank.com

www.targetbarter.com

www.u-exchange.com

Bartering Services
We all have at least one thing we really excel at and sometimes you can use that talent to barter services. Maybe you cook like a gourmet chef and maybe your best friend is a talented seamstress. One idea is to cook a meal for her family in exchange for her altering the hem on a dress or pair of pants.

Be Cautious
I haven’t used the services of all the sites I’ve listed here and my advice is to proceed with caution when you enter into any agreement to swap, barter, or just list your items. Read all the small print and rules of use, and if something doesn’t seem right, don’t swap or barter. And if you do run into a problem, then go ahead and report it.

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