Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Online Trading, Swapping, and Donating

Online swapping is nothing new (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/perfi/tips/2010-12-18-toys-swap_N.htm), but what are some sites that can be used to find what one is looking for?

If you have electronics that you do not use any longer, you can try Trade2Save, "a used electronics marketplace where you can get paid for your old gadgets. [Trade2Save makes] it easy to resell all those used electronics and media. Cell phones, PDA's, MP3 player, GPS units, laptops, gaming consoles, video games, and dvd's--if it works, it can be bought and reused and you get paid to be responsible." On their website they "promise you the best trade-in price plus you get a 4% bonus in Green Points for being green," so maybe it is worth checking it out.

For kids clothing, you can look at http://www.thredup.com that is like an online consignment store. They claim to be "the easiest way to save on great kids clothing brands, and hand down outgrown clothes for cash," and here is how they explain it works:
  • Browse thousands of like-new kids clothing items, which [they]'ve hand-selected and certified for quality. You'll find all your favorite brands discounted up to 80% off year-round. Shop »
  • And when your child outgrows clothing, simply fill up a thredUP bag and put it on your doorstep. thredUP covers the shipping, and pays you for every item we can hand down to other moms.
Those two sites are for selling second-hand items. If you are looking for a real swap, SwapMammas is the place to go for kid items. "Swapmamas is free to all. No middleman. No warehouse. No fees. You choose what you want to swap, who you want to swap with, and how you want to ship. The only thing you pay is the cost to ship your package to a friend. (And if that's not an option for you, join a local group and bypass shipping all together!)" There is no selling or buying, just swapping. They are also on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SwapMamas).

On Facebook you may be able to find other alternatives more local to you, like the Space Coast Mom's Swap, Shop & Talk for Brevard County residents. It currently has over 1,500 members and a separate group for swapping clothing, shoes and costumes.

Another group on Facebook that actually meets once a month to swap stuff is The Really Really Free Market (RRFM) of Melbourne/Palm Bay, Florida. It has 350 members now that are invited to meet from 1 to 3 pm on the last Sunday of each month at Holmes Park, 914 Melbourne Avenue, Melbourne. (Often called Manatee Park).

Freecycle.org is also an alternative to look for and offer items. On their site you can find a location near you, become a member, and get started. "The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,082 groups with 9,250,984 members around the world. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them's good people). Membership is free."  

If you are interested in donating to schools and teachers' projects, you can use Donors Choose to see what projects are listed and towards which one you would like to contribute. DonorsChoose.org describe themselves as "an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need." On the site,  "public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests [...], and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you. When a project reaches its funding goal, [DonorsChoose.org] ships the materials to the school. You'll get photos of the project taking place, a letter from the teacher, and insight into how every dollar was spent. Give over $50 and you'll also receive hand-written thank-yous from the students."


The options are out there -- and I bet there are still others -- and will be up to you to choose which ones would be best for you to try. I have used Freecyle and have been to our local RRFM. I sometimes donate directly to our local Goodwill, which could also be part of the above list.

So happy trading, swapping, or donating and...

Recycle Brevard!