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Before You Shop, Consider a Swap
Smart Money.com - 3/26/2010 by Kelli B. Grant

Admiring other people's possessions isn't necessarily a bad thing -- especially if you can trade them for it.

íll admit to a slight shoe obsession, although it takes a deal to get me to indulge. (For example, stacking sales, coupon codes and a reward certificate at DSW (DSW: 27.16*, +0.26, +0.96%) recently netted me a $55 pair for just $18, a 67% discount.) Instead, Iíve decided to throw a swap party with five friends of the same size. Voila -- new-to-me shoes for free while clearing my closet of pairs I don't wear.

That kind of one-on-one and group swapping has thrived in the struggling economy as consumers look for ways to cut their budgets and still get the things they want. ďItís like Christmas,Ē says Darcy Cruwys, the founder of community swap site SwapMamas.com.

Watch out for the flake-out factor: People who donít follow through with their end of the swap. Cruwys says SwapMamas.com asks the less-experienced swapper to send their item first, improving your odds of a complete deal. Other swap sites, including Bookins.com (for books) and SwapaDVD.com (movies), let you earn credits when someone wants one of your items, to be redeemed for goods from that person or another site member.

Read more: Before You Shop, Consider a Swap at SmartMoney.com http://www.smartmoney.com/Spending/Deals/Before-You-Shop-Consider-a-Swap/#ixzz0lfK7uwKB

Weíre featuring valuable coupons and sales each Friday to help you spend less on the items you buy. Found a deal we missed -- or looking for a better price on a specific item? Email me at kgrant@smartmoney.com or send me a tweet at @kellibgrant.

Read more: Before You Shop, Consider a Swap at SmartMoney.com http://www.smartmoney.com/Spending/Deals/Before-You-Shop-Consider-a-Swap/#ixzz0lfKErgSG