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7 Things To Do Instead of Shopping

When you’re trying to save money but still need (or want) something, here are 7 things you can do instead of shopping.

There are many creative ways to acquire free clothes, furniture, home and garden supplies, dishes, books, kids’ items, tools and more. You just have to know where to look!

Five colorful shopping bags.

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3 Reasons to Try Swapping Instead of Shopping

It’s fun to score something free or make a trade with a neighbor, and these are some other benefits you’ll enjoy:

Reduce waste: Instead of throwing away items that you no longer need, you can give them away to someone who can make use of them. This reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, helping to conserve resources and protect the environment.

Save money: By creatively sourcing things you want or need, you can often obtain items that you need for free. This can help you avoid debt and save you money rather than buying new items. This is especially helpful when you’re on on a tight budget or looking for items that you may only need for a short period of time like baby clothes.

Build community: It’s fun to connect with neighbors and others in your local community who share similar values of reducing waste and promoting reuse. By giving away or receiving items, you can build relationships with others and foster a sense of community spirit.

Here are some great places to look for freebies instead of shopping and spending money:

1. Freecycle

Sites like Freecycle and Craigs List are great resources for finding free items. People often give away unwanted furniture, landscaping and building materials, baby items, appliances and more. You usually have to act fast, though, so if you see something you want get in touch with the giver right away.

2. Consignment Stores

Some consignment shops and used clothing stores will offer you store credit in return for your gently worn clothes in good condition. This can be especially wonderful if you have growing kids.

Got teenagers? Even brand-conscious teens might enjoy swapping and shopping at Plato’s Closet, a consignment shop that stocks many of the latest brand names.

3. Online Resale Stores

There are also many online consignment stores where you can sell clothing in exchange for money or credit. PoshMark and ThredUp are two of the largest marketplaces.

ThredUp will send you a “closet cleanout kit” to get started. When your items sell, you’re paid on a sliding scale depending on the final sale price and you can choose cash or store credit.

With PoshMark, you list your item in the app and ship it when it sells. Poshmark takes a flat fee or flat commission percentage depending o the price.

4. Facebook Buy Nothing Groups

To find a Buy Nothing Facebook group near you where members post free things, navigate to the “Groups” heading on your page and enter “buy nothing” in the search bar. You can also try searching by your town name or using the word “free.”

Members of the Buy Nothing group in my community recently listed freebies including canning jars, pet food, picture frames, wedding supplies, and even a brand new queen sized mattress!

5. eBay

Good old eBay — with its zillions and zillions of offerings — is a great resource if there is something very specific you want to upgrade.

For instance, I wanted to swap out the teardrop-shaped crystals on our dining room chandelier for some in a different shape. I found the crystals I wanted at a good price on eBay, and then I turned around and sold the ones I didn’t want for the exact same price.

6. Share with Your Neighbors

Swapping opportunities may be as close to home as your own neighborhood. We started a Google Group (free and simple to create) just for our neighborhood.

People list tools and equipment they’re willing to share; plants, seeds and produce that we have in abundance; kids’ items to pass along; Halloween costumes; and more. The list has been enthusiastically embraced by everyone who uses it, and has collectively helped our neighborhood be a little greener.

You can sometimes find freebies on NextDoor, too, although you may have to wade through some unpleasant posts and comments.

7. Swap Books

Our local library is where I get most of my books, but sometimes I’d like to have a copy to keep. Paperback Swap is an online marketplace for sharing books. You post the ISBN numbers of the books you want to get rid of. Then if someone wants a book, you mail it to them via media mail. Then when you want a  book, you just request it, and the person that has it mails it to you at no cost to you.

How about you? Have you found ways to share and swap things to help save money and live greener? Drop a comment below!

Save for Later

If you use Pinterest to save and share ideas, here’s a handy pin:

A woman holding a potted succulent plant to give away.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

1 thought on “7 Things To Do Instead of Shopping”

  1. Swapping is a great idea. I also love the trend of people sharing more items, on sites like neighborgoods.com or in community organizations like tool libraries.


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