Saving

Would You Trade the Shirt Off Your Back?

If you’re one to watch where your dollars and cents go, you’re probably closely familiar with discount retailers, clearance sales, coupons, any combination of the three, even second-hand stores.

And then there’s a whole other level of shopping that’s practically free: swapping.

Sure, you’ve likely swapped out a pair of jeans or a top with a friend when you were a teenager or cash-strapped student. And if you’ve got kids, we’re willing to bet at least $5 that  you’ve swapped baby clothes, toys and gear with other moms — and likely on a regular basis.

But the Internet and social media have brought swapping to a whole other level. Swappers can now unite via meetup.com, which currently has 1014 swapping groups, including ones for clothes, toys and books. You can organize or find swaps with the help of Facebook or Twitter, or simply attend massive professionally-organized events like the one featured in the WalletPop video above.

The benefits of clothes swapping are pretty obvious. It’s free and it helps you get rid of stuff you don’t want – in exchange for something you do. (On the flip side, of course, you can end up with even more stuff you never wear, in which case you’d have to do another clothes swap to get rid of it. But it was free to begin with, so who’s judging?)

One of the most useful tips we’ve heard about clothes swaps so far comes from Amy Chase, founder of theSwapaholics.com: You could use clothes swaps to take fashion risks. Always wanted to see yourself in a sequin miniskirt or knee-high boots? If you see them at a swap, grab them: what have you got to lose?

Do you have any swapping tips? Words of caution? Funny swap stories? We’d love to hear them in the comments.

For more on clothes swapping, see WalletPop’s video guide to clothing swap success.