So, how can we be charitable, reduce waste and save money at this hectic time of year? Easy – Barter!
Think it’s hard to barter? It’s not at all. The best way to get your feet wet in the bartering movement is to attend a swap meet.
What is a Swap Meet?
A gathering at which people trade or exchange items of common interest.
How does a Swap Meet work?
Generally, a swap meet will have a theme to help provide inspiration about what to barter. For example, for a fashion swap, you can trade sunglasses, brooches, scarves, hats, etc. Other possibilities include a clothing swap, an electronics swap, a video game or movie swap, you name it – the list is endless!
Then, you raid your house for those items you don’t use. Search your utility closets, TV stands and wardrobes for every pre-loved goodie. For each item you bring, you get a ticket that you can “cash” in for a treasure brought from another swapper.
Then, you just go shopping! All items are new to you but no cash was spent at all! This leaves more money in your pocket, which is never a bad thing.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This swap meet thing seems great on a personal level, but just how socially conscious are swap meets anyway? Very.
Social Impact of a Swap Meet
Marta Nowinska is the founder of Swapsity and a swap meet guru. Swapsity is a social enterprise that aims to help Canadians build a more collaborative, sustainable and consumption-conscious lifestyle through barter. They are Canada’s leading swapping community.
Here are the social impact stats of just one swap meet.
At Swapsity’s summer Music Eco Swap, more than 3,327 items were brought, 2352 were swapped and the rest of the 975 items were donated to local Goodwill. That’s over $18,000 in personal savings, 3,327 items reduced from landfills, and a huge donation to the less fortunate in the community. Sounds like a triple bottom line to me, and all of this in just one afternoon!
Swapsity held 10 swap meets in 2011 and hopes to surpass 10,000 items swapped in 2012.
The social impact of just one swap meet is absolutely incredible. They reduce waste, keep spending off credit cards, and above all, level the playing field between the haves and the have nots.
Both financially and socially speaking, get out to a local swap meet this season and barter for your holiday gifts!
Shannon Simmons is a financial advisor and founder of The Barter Babes Project. She offers professional financial advice to those who can’t usually access it by providing her financial services in exchange for a bartered good or service instead of a fee.