In light of the current economic woes, some internet sites have discovered the way to our collective hearts is not through our wallets but instead through community. Below are a few creative (and free) solutions to save a bit of coin and feel good while doing it.
How it works:† This “classified-type-site” allows you to list anything you have for sale or want to trade at no charge.
Pros: They have a “Free Stuff” category where you can find everything from moving boxes to used dental equipment (hey, I’m not judging) and a “Barter” category that allows you to post your skills or goods for trade.
Cons: Craiglisters are notorious flakes and are not terribly proficient at returning e-mails. It’s always best to speak to someone on the phone before making the trek to their house.
How it works: The name says it all. Everything on this site is, you guessed it, free. Their goal is to keep stuff moving throughout the community and out of landfills. Got a rusty BBQ or half empty can of paint? Chances are good that someone wants it.
Pros: Freecycle has facilitated over a million trades since its inception.
Cons: The site isn’t terribly easy to navigate and you must sign-up to browse their selection of free stuff.
How it works: Their motto is “A world without money” and right they are.
Trade your skilled labor for someone else’s.
Pros: It’s one of the only sites that converts your unique skills into a commodity.
Cons: You must join before you’re able to see if there are even people in your area to trade skills with. It’s limited to urban communities.
4. I donít need it, you can have it
How it works:† People donate items they no longer have use for.
Pros: Very parent-friendly. There is a lot of stuff on here thatís new or nearly new and they have an international scope.
Cons: They’re limited to big cities and some categories are pretty sparse.
5. Garden Web
How it works: Green thumbs from around the world keep in touch to trade plants and seeds.
Pros: Easy to use and a great opportunity to find illusive strains of heirloom plants.
Cons: You must pay for shipping.
How it works: Using their simple form, just enter the bar code on the books, video games, CDs or DVDs you want to trade.† They then apply an algorithm to your item and list thousands you are able to trade for it.
Pros: Very easy to use, lets you make a wishlist for future “wants” and many of the items are brand new.
Cons: You may have to monitor often as popular items go fast.