It's not really a revolutionary concept, but more and more people are beginning to see both the financial and environmental impact of sharing, reusing, or buying secondhand. As the economic strain tightens, people are finding that cheap, terrific products (and even services) can be easily obtained through a friend, or a friendly stranger.
Although many of us use sites like Craigslist to find jobs or a new place to live, keep in mind that there's a thriving community on it that is happy to barter for what you need. Sites like swap.com (mentioned before) are also terrific ventures for sharing.
Not crazy about the idea of exchanging information or products with a stranger? Make your own community swap. If you're desperate for a night out, arrange with another parent to share a babysitter to get more bang for your childcare buck. Better yet, swap babysitting duties with another family so each of you can have a night out fee-free. Organize groups of friends for clothes swaps, but don't stop there. Your living room is crowded with furniture, but you're in desperate need of a kitchen table. Your neighbor has been pining for a new easy chair but isn't crazy about the big oak behemoth that takes up the dining room space. Instead of buying expensive new (or even used) furniture, just swap it.
If you're looking for more ways to stretch your family's dollar, look no further than the next page, which provides lots more information about how to live frugally without sacrifice.
- Bittman, Mark. "Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?" September 24, 2011. (October 16, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/is-junk-food-really-cheaper.html?_r=1
- Fred Meyer. "Rewards Program Details." 2011. (October 16, 2011) http://www.fredmeyer.com/MYFREDMEYER/Pages/rewards_program_details.aspx
- Good Housekeeping. "125 Ways to Manage Your Money." 2011. (October 16, 2011) http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/budget/125-tips-to-save-money
- Hamm, Trent. "Little Steps: 100 Great Tips for Saving For Those Just Getting Started." The Simple Dollar. February 6, 2008. (October 16, 2011) http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/02/06/little-steps-100-great-tips-for-saving-money-for-those-just-getting-started/
- Huddleston, Cameron. "Save Money On Groceries Without Coupons." Nasdaq. October 10, 2011. (October 16, 2011) http://community.nasdaq.com/News/2011-10/save-money-on-groceries-without-coupons.aspx?storyid=97637
- NJToday.net. "Tips for Saving Money on Health Care." September 28, 2011. (October 16, 2011) http://njtoday.net/2011/09/28/tips-for-saving-money-on-health-care/
- The Oprah Winfrey Show. "Money-Saving Tips for Thrifty Families." October 8, 2008. (October 16, 2011) http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Money-Saving-Tips-for-Thrifty-Families
- Weston, Liz. "How not to pay your bills." MSN Money. October 12, 2011. (October 16, 2011) http://money.msn.com/debt-management/how-not-to-pay-your-bills-weston.aspx
- Wuorio, Jeff. "10 Ways to Save on Health Care." Good Housekeeping. 2011. (October 16, 2011) http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/budget/healthcare-costs
HowStuffWorks talks to financial experts to find out the best ways to save money every day. And none of their advice includes giving up Starbucks.