Budget-conscious consumers are turning to swapping or renting programs to help save money. Thanks to the Internet, consumers can share or swap just about anything with the click of a mouse. So if you need to borrow a power drill or a house, or anything in between, look to swaping.
Sick of your current car but don’t have enough cash to buy or lease a new one? Then carswapshop.com may be for you. The Web site allows users to list your car and search for other cars in their area for free. Once registered, you’ll be provided with a list of cars that others are looking to swap and what they are seeking. If there’s a difference in value of the cars being swapped, you can use cash to close the gap. The Web site also lets you search by make, model and price, to easily find the car you want.
Lodging on vacations can be expensive, especially if you want to stay in a decent hotel and are traveling with kids and other family members. Put your home to work when you are getting some R&R by participating in a home swap. There are a slew of Web sites that facilitate the process for you. On HomeExchange.com, you choose the country or state they want to visit and search the database of listings; once you find a home that suits your needs, send an e-mail through the site to home owner. There’s one catch: Unless you are swapping a vacation home, you’ll have to set up the swap at the same time. HomeExchange.com says that in the 14 years of doing this it has never had a report of a home being vandalized or someone showing up only to find a vacant lot. The service costs $9.95 a month for a one-year membership or $15.95 a month for a three month membership.
SwapRight is a free Web site that allows users to swap and barter services; whether it’s graphic design, computer help, babysitting or housecleaning, you can swap your expertise for whatever you need. Users post what they need along with what services they offer and other users can contact you if interested. Recently a user in a Houston suburb offered English as a second language private lessons in exchange for four hours of weekly cleaning for a three bedroom, two bath house. The person was willing to exchange one hour of lessons for one hour of cleaning.
That suit from Theory hanging in your closest might be so “last year” to you, but for someone else, it could be cutting edge. Instead of trying to sell your designer clothes in a consignment shop, try swapping them at SwapStyle.com, a fashion-savvy site that allows users to swap clothes and shoes. It’s easy to use: register, visit the “Swap School” to learn how to add pictures and descriptions of your clothes and browse others’ collections to see if anything peaks your interest. If you find something you want to add to your wardrobe, simply contact the owner to facilitate a swap. Once the swap is completed successfully, the participants leave a token on the other’s profile to alert other members he/she is trustworthy. And if you just want to buy an item, that works too.
One person’s junk is another person’s treasure, and Web site SwapTreasures.com makes it easy to swap just about anything with other nearby bargain hunters. The company claims to be the largest site that verifies users to ensure security, so if you need a cell phone, toy, antique, or even a vacation you are sure to find it on SwapTreasures.com.
The old saying “sharing is caring” continues to ring true for cash-strapped consumers