Don't have cash? Try the barter system instead!
Whatever happened to the barter system? Oh, I know: It was replaced thousands of years ago by money. Well, we don't always have money to spend, but we often have something to trade. In college, I cut hair. No one gave me money for it. Someone would cook me a meal, or treat me to a movie, or type a paper for me. I still have the shears that a friend bought me after a couple of free haircuts. It was a great way to stretch my dollars and it makes me think about ways to barter now. Some time ago, I looked for some barter sites on the Internet, but all I found were sites that said they were about barter, but just had people selling things. Craigslist has a barter section and there's some pretty interesting stuff on there, but there's also the creepy factor (like the guy who wants to rub your feet for ... well, nothing).
Some newer sites have cropped up, and the one that I plan to try is www.swaptree.com, a website that allows you to swap your used books, CDs, DVDs and video games. Membership is free, and members list the items that they are trading and the items they want, and Swaptree's two- and three-way trade searches find the items that you can receive for the items that you want to trade. Members can swap a DVD for a book, a video game for a CD, a book for a video game, etc. It's definitely a great way to reuse and recycle.
You just pay for postage (first class or media mail). You also have the handy option of printing out mailing labels from the site. They address it, calculate the postage and add delivery confirmation. If you choose to print out their labels, Swaptree charges you $1.00 per month for as many labels as you need. If you don't use any that month, there is no charge. Read the FAQs carefully. Everything you need to know is there, about item condition, shipping, etc. -- not on the too-brief "getting started" tutorial.
They have a ton of stuff on their site, but when I did some searches for things I was looking for, no one had listed them yet. I did see that quite a few people wanted some of the books that I had read but didn't like enough to keep. When I started browsing, I saw that I could get pretty interesting stuff for them.
It will be great for my kids. I'm going to encourage them to pull out all the books, CDs and DVDs they are willing to let go of and have my 10-year-old shop around and see what they can all get in exchange. I think they'll love it!