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If You're Looking To Save Money, Swap Instead Of Shop

Star-Telegram.com (Website) - 10/7/2007 by Marshall Loeb
Are you a beginning budgeter? If you're looking for ways to curb your spending without sacrificing the small joys, try swapping instead of shopping.

Here are three Web sites that allow you to trade your gently used items for someone else's treasures:

Paperbackswap.com. A site designed for readers both discriminating and frugal, Paperbackswap is the 21st-century answer to a lending library. Registration is free. All you need is a valid e-mail account, a shipping address and a list of books you're willing to part with. Once you've compiled your list, go ahead and browse available books by author, title or genre. Any book you choose will be shipped to you for free. The tradeoff: You're responsible for paying to ship your books to fellow readers.

Swapstyle.com. Saving money doesn't have to mean suppressing your inner fashionista. Swapstyle members can log on to swap, buy or sell clothing to fellow clotheshorses. Membership costs $19.95 a year.

Eswapnow.com. Gamers, music lovers and movie hounds may find what they're after at Eswapnow.com. Originally launched in the U.K., Eswapnow allows users to swap old and unwanted media. Registration is free, and all traders pay is postage, unless they choose to buy extra credits.

If you can't afford the minimal fees -- or if schlepping back and forth to the post office seems like too much work -- try setting up a real-time swap in your neighborhood.