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Social media changes the world of barter, and one mom gets a PlayStation 2, clothes and toys for $45.

By Teresa Mears Dec 20, 2010 5:16PM

As the holidays approached, the users of ThredUp, an online children's clothing exchange, wanted a place to trade toys. So they started exchanging toys on the site.

James Reinhart, one of the founders, heard their plea, and on Dec. 6 officially added toys to the service. It's one of many avenues resourceful parents have used this year to save money by trading toys their kids no longer use for toys they want.


"People are realizing that thrift isn't a bad word," John Gerzema, author of the new book "Spend Shift," told the Chicago Tribune. "And we're very comfortable using social tools. The old way of spending doesn't have to happen. We can rent it, borrow it, trade it."


Need a stocking stuffer? First Gold to Go machine in U.S. dispenses gold bars or coins in gift boxes.

By Teresa Mears Dec 20, 2010 2:23PM

If you're looking for a stocking stuffer for the man or woman who has everything, you may want to stop by the new vending machine at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton, Fla.


Just in time for Christmas, the mall has acquired a Gold to Go vending machine. That's right. For about $120 to $1,470, you can buy your mother, father, husband, wife or special friend a gold bar or coin from a mall vending machine.


We're not sure why you would want to do that, even if the gold does come in an attractive box, but you can. We can tell you now that if you are buying for a woman, she would really prefer jewelry.


E-books aren't cheap. In fact, depending on what you read, they may actually be relatively expensive.

By Karen Datko Dec 20, 2010 1:43PM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


Google has opened its e-bookstore for business. The search giant joins Apple and Amazon (and Barnes & Noble) in a fast-growing field. Electronic books will never completely replace paper books, but they're going to make up a sizable portion -- and maybe even the majority -- of the market sooner than you think.

Naturally, more and more GRS readers are moving to e-books. In fact, I've had a couple of people ask me about them recently. For example, Peggy wrote last week to share her experience:


Compare rates offered by FedEx, UPS and the post office before you send that last-minute package.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 20, 2010 12:32PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


More than a quarter of Americans are still wrapping up Christmas shopping, according to Consumer Reports. Procrastinators know that last-minute shopping can lead to some great finds, but the big problem is getting them shipped in time without blowing your savings.


The three most popular options for last-minute shipping are UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service. You might think it doesn't matter which you pick, but there is a big difference, and it becomes more pronounced as your package size and procrastination level increase.


Several websites exist to provide you with incentive for accomplishing specific goals.

By Karen Datko Dec 20, 2010 11:19AM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site US News & World Report.


Anyone can say they plan to save more money, or travel around the world, or lose 30 pounds. But how can you go from talking about those goals to actually turning them into reality?

In addition to hard work, a few tested strategies and innovative new websites can help.


Do it because it's the right thing to do, rather than to get your picture in the paper.

By Donna_Freedman Dec 20, 2010 9:53AM

At this time of year everyone wakes up to the fact that need exists in the United States. Everywhere you look are food drives, gift drives, coat drives.

Here's a news flash: Need exists all year long, not just in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Don't get me wrong: I love it when people do nice things. I just wish it weren't so holiday-specific. Pardon my grinchiness, but I think some of these once-a-year volunteers aren't doing it for the homeless, the seniors or the kids. They're doing it to make themselves feel good.


Anyone can find legitimate references -- former co-workers or teachers, your minister, the supervisor at the nonprofit where you volunteer.

By Karen Datko Dec 17, 2010 3:37PM

You've heard the standard job-seeking advice, such as dress appropriately, don't chew gum during an interview, and don't lie on your resume. Ever.

It appears that more desperate people are ignoring the ban on lies, and at least one website is willing to help them out with that.


BOGO chicken sandwiches, free avocado, discount pizza and coupons for movie concessions, plus restaurant gift card bonuses.

By Teresa Mears Dec 17, 2010 2:20PM

Christmas is fast approaching, which means your chance to buy presents online and have them shipped in time for the holiday is almost over.

Today (Dec. 17) is Free Shipping Day, in which more than 1,500 merchants have pledged to offer free shipping in time for Dec. 24 delivery. Laura Heller at noted that many of the free shipping deals have restrictions, such as minimum purchases, and that many merchants have been offering free shipping all week. Still, if you're going to order online, free shipping is an important part of the deal, so today may be the day to order. Or maybe they'll offer better deals tomorrow.


Wal-Mart's free shipping offer for 60,000 items with no minimum purchase ends Dec. 20, and Amazon has extended its deadline for free Super Saver shipping (minimum purchase $25) through Dec. 19.


If you want to give the gift of eating out, lots of restaurants are offering bonuses if you buy gift cards.



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