Fishtown Briefcase A Review of Economy-Friendly Beers
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    February 11th, 2009trishMoney Saving Tips

    Welcome to another feature of Fishtown Briefcase – the Money Saving Tips section! This is a section to help frugal folks or anyone struggling under a recession figure out how to get by on less than you did before. My personal qualifications for writing this column: At one point I was struggling with a huge load of personal debt and trying to get by and back from the red to the black. I’ve learned a lot over the years, and remembered (or put into practice) stuff my elders always tried to impart upon me as a child, but I didn’t want to have to deal with.

    Some people might be of the mind to hold a garage/yard sale or eBay or Craigslist their old stuff which they have sitting around. Others might take their used clothing or books to consignment and used stores and hope for a credit towards “new to them” merchandise. But honestly, the easiest way to try to get something equal for what you originally spent and find something new you like is to hold a swap.

    You can swap anything – from cans or bottles of beers to clothing, records, dvds, housewares, etc. All you need to do is find a bunch of friends or acquaintances who have a bit of clutter or extra stuff they don’t really want.

    1. Decide what the theme of the swap is going to be: clothing, shoes, books/media, beer, housewares, bric-a-brac (I just wanted an excuse to use that phrase), “anything goes”?

    2. Here’s where you might want to determine the scope of the swap. Shall it be limited to a few close friends? Shall it be open to anyone in your circle of friends and their circle of friends? You might also decide how you want it to work. Is it a 1:1 trade, meaning for each item you bring, you will receive 1 item in exchange? Or is it a “free-for-all” meaning that everyone needs to bring at least one item but can leave with as much or as little as they like? Will people take turns choosing items? How will highly-coveted items be distributed – first-come/first-served, or by turns? Determine what will happen to leftovers — will the original owners take their stuff back? Will they go to someone else’s house to be stored for the next swap? Or will they be donated to a charitable organization which needs these items or for sale in their charity thrift shops? (I usually choose the last for good karma…)

    3. Pick a date, time, location, and invite your friends and acquaintances to a place where you can put this stuff out for the swapping. Send out invites. Even use Facebook/Myspace/eVite. Ask everyone to bring a snack or dish to share so you can nosh and make it into a social event.

    4. Start swapping – get some new stuff you need, give some old stuff away, and stay out of the cycle of capitalism.

    You’ve spent little money to have a party, gotten rid of old crap you don’t want anymore, and gotten some new stuff for free! Sounds like a successful budget entertainment plan to me. Now get swapping…

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