The holiday shopping season is almost here. And if that thought makes you cringe, FOX 5 has some ways to help you stretch your dollar. Chances are, you can find a lower price on what you're looking for by doing some research online.
With shelves packed with paperbacks gathering dust, Diana Eidson turned to the internet to turn some of her old books into something new.
"It keeps resources in the community rather than giving money to a mega national corporation and the money going somewhere you don't know. It is a way of reusing resources and in a sense recycling them," said Eidson.
And she saves a ton of money, too. She gets new books, CD's, DVD's, and video games for free on www.swap.com .
"It's very easy, you enter some information, you enter the things that you want and the things that you have," said Eidson.
Then the system pairs her up with someone who wants what she has and has what she wants.
"The only money that's exchanged is the postage so it's really the simplest economy, the barter economy. It seems like there would be a catch, but the site is totally free. There are no ads on the site and you can even get the postage labels on the site. You don't even have to go to the post office."
There is also a smart phone app for swap.com. It allows you to scan the bar code on the back of a book, CD, movie, or video game. Then it shows you how many people want that item and what they will swap for it.
Lots of swapping sites are out there like www.toyswap.com . It was created by a mom who hated seeing her kids play with a toy once, then toss it aside, when someone else's child might really want it. On her website, you can search pages and pages of toys and swap for something you have, in the same designated price range.
The creator of www.bridetobrideboutique.com also saw a need in her own life. After getting married in 2007, Jenny Combs wondered what she would do with 30 hurricane vases.
"I thought gosh, this is pointless to be sitting in my basement when it could be used again by another bride," said Jenny Combs.
On her site, you can buy, sell, or trade before and after your wedding, everything from dresses to decorations.
"It's a great platform for you to find great wedding items that were just used that one time for a few hours on someone's special day so they're in great condition," said Combs.
And she says more people are using her site during the down economy. "People are looking to save money in all aspects of their life and a wedding tends to be very expensive. So when they can find less expensive ways to have the big day of their dreams it's just perfect."
And on www.thredup.com you can find the perfect digs for your little ones. For a flat shipping fee you can send and receive boxes stuffed full of children's clothes.
"The concept is to swap out your older things and swap them to someone, who they'll be new to. It's a great way to stay green, not hit the store shelves, and to save a little money," said Rachel Torimoto with www.thredup.com.