Save Money: Get New Clothes and Everything Else
Lusting after newer duds but prefer not to spend any cash or add to your existing credit card bill?
There are many ways to get stuff new to you, save money, and reduce trash that clogs up landfills.
First, there is Freecycle. But this system of getting free anythings is impersonal and doesn't foster a sense of community or let you learn more about your friends, neighbors, colleagues and so forth. And when you post online to offer your things for free, you get nothing in return. Of course, if your goal is to get rid of your belongings in preparation for, say, a move across the continent, then this site serves that purpose well.
Then, there are thrift stores. These allow you to buy things new to you, but going through racks and shelves of goods that are barely organized in order to find what you need or want can be exhausting and frustrating. And if you donate to thrift stores as a means of lessening the clutter at home, you leave with nothing but a receipt that you might be able to use for tax deduction purposes if the estimated value of your donation exceeds a certain amount.
So, it appears that swap parties are the best option for those who want something new in exchanged for something "old."
Swap parties foster community ties because people meet up for drinks and finger food as part of the event. These parties are on the rise not just because of the current economic downturn, but because it's a fun way to meet people and make new friends, or to get to know your friends better. In this age of online chats, blog, twitter, e-mail, meeting people face to face becomes a refreshing change.
This approach to saving money by bartering is not new. Just about any consumer good can be exchanged so long as two parties come to an agreement. The advantage of a swap party is that the choices increase significantly when more people join the party, and every event has surprises because attendees can't know ahead of time what to expect. So it's serendipity at its finest.Continued on the next page