What if our first instinct was not to go to the store and buy something when we had a need or a want? What if buying something new was our last resort? What if trading, bartering, and gifting (giving and receiving) became our main currency, as opposed to buying? Well, I'd say if that happened that we would be worthy of the title, "Thrifty Moms"! And I would wager that, in the mean time, our savings accounts would sky-rocket (or at least show modest growth!).
Such a life is within reach. Take, for example, the "Swap-o-Rama" idea; a Swap-o-Rama can have virtually any theme. The main point is that you've got something to swap and other people do, too.
You can have a kids' clothes swap, a Halloween costume swap, a toy swap, or even a cloth diaper swap (as my friend, who is the queen of Swap-o-Rama, will be doing soon). If you need it, chances are someone else has got it who doesn't want it anymore. And there just may be lots of "someones" like that out there, so why not get them all together?
Toy swapping is pure genius. Kids get bored with the majority of their toys so easily; likewise, they love to go to their friend's houses and raid their friend's toy boxes. New = exciting. And certainly kids don't care if the toy came from the store, brand-new or from some other kid's home. Toy swapping every few months can be really fun for kids, and can save parents lots of money.
Kids' clothes swaps just make sense. My daughter went through 3T so fast it made my head spin. And shoes! Don't get me started on shoes-last December she wore 8's. Last week we bought her a pair of size 12 tennis shoes! It's hard to keep up. Fortunately, we've got a 3 year old friend and a 5 year old friend, and so we have passed clothes on right down the line. In fact, we haven't had to buy her any clothes because so many have been given to us! People want to give you their outgrown kids' clothes-you just have to find them!
Trading things isn't the only way to go about the swap-o-rama lifestyle. What if your friend needs a babysitter and you need eggs? What if you have time to baby sit, and she has a chicken? It's a perfect match. You babysit for her, and she gives you eggs. You get the idea. Do an asset survey of your life: what do you have to give? Do a needs survey. Could you get what you need through swapping?
Swapping, trading, bartering - whatever you want to call it, it's good for your pocketbook, and it's a great way to connect to others for friendship and support.
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