Swap 'til You Drop: Using money to get what you want is so old-economy. Bartering and swapping are the new rule of the day. Online bartering clubs like BarterBart.com and uSwapIt.com, and general sites like Craigslist.org and U-Exchange.com, let you swap just about anything. And tons of specialized swapping sites are popping up on the Internet for everything from books (BookMooch.com, PaperBackSwap.com) to kiddy stuff to clothes, shoes, accessories and even cosmetics (Swapstyle.com, clothingswap.com).
Share Your Time, Tools and Toys: Lend your skills or just a helping hand, and get the favor returned next time you need some help. "Time banks" are increasingly popular in local communities and on the Internet. Websites like timebanks.org and favorpals.com let you trade your time — doing anything from housecleaning to walking dogs to filing someone's tax returns, depending on your expertise and interests — and receive credits in return, which can be redeemed for the services of other time bank members when you need them. The website DaveZillion.com specializes in helping people share their time, expertise and even power tools to get home remodeling and repair jobs done on the cheap. And even lending libraries for children's toys — a popular social institution in many other countries — are starting to catch on here in the U.S. Contact the USA Toy Library Association (USATLA.org) for a directory and more information.
Groupons and Daily Deal Websites: And finally, the popular website Groupon (Groupon.com) is bringing everyone from boomers to Gen Z'ers together to save a buck. Group members share daily deals and Groupon negotiates special discounts that kick in when enough people take advantage of them, so it's all about collective strength and action. Discount vouchers (aka "Groupons") can be printed off the website or presented to the participating businesses on your mobile device. Register in different cities when you travel in order to take advantage of local bargains. Other companies with these daily coupon deals include LivingSocial (livingsocial.com) and DailyDeals (dailydeals.com). Groupons have become such a social phenomenon that 28-year-old Josh Stevens has earned the title "Groupawn," and he is currently traveling the country attempting to live off Groupon deals (and the kindness of fellow Groupon community members) for an entire year, without spending any money. If Josh goes the distance without spending a dime, he's a shoe-in for my Cheapskate Hall of Fame.
Jeff Yeager is the author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door. His website is www.UltimateCheapskate.com, and you can friend him on Facebook at JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter.