December is the month of debt, as people across the country explode their carefully planned monthly budgets on gifts and goods. But what if you could get all your shopping done without spending a single dime and declutter your house at the same time? Because, really, most American households have a huge amount of stuff that they’re just not using.
Think about it for a minute: How much of your clothing do you actually wear? How many unwrapped but never used gifts are hiding in your closet? How cluttered is your storage space or spare room with stuff that you’ve kept around because it’s still usable, you just never use it?
Why not barter that stuff for new stuff that you actually will use? If that sounds appealing, check out Listia, a company that lets you trade your unwanted goods for other people’s things.
How it Works
Listia isn’t old school bartering; you don’t trade one object for another. Instead, you put your items up for auction and earn credits toward future “purchases.” The more items you put up for auction, the more credit you have toward replacing the stuff you don’t want with the stuff you do.
They also have a whole bunch of bonus credits – 1,000 for signing up, 500 for your first listing, 500 when you invite a friend and they list, 100 for connecting with Facebook and 100 for connecting with Twitter – so you’re able to get new things even faster.
It’s like eBay, but free.
At this point you might be thinking, okay, if I’m giving away the crap I don’t want, shouldn’t I assume that everyone else’s stuff is crap too? Nope! Cliché time: Don’t forget, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
A quick perusal through the current auctions turns up everything from a Hobo purse to a range of stylish jewelry to an old school Sega game system to a never opened electric toothbrush to a 46” brand new TV screen. The stuff on Listia is as good as anything you’d find on eBay and you don’t have to shell out any cash for it.
But how do they make money?
Listia doesn’t charge the buyers or the sellers, so how do they make money? Simple: they sell credits. Say you’ve earned 6,000 credits but you really want that LED light color changing shower head for your favorite raver on your Christmas list. Listia offers you the option to buy the remaining credits, something that they say 10-15% of users choose to do at one point or another.
I think what I love the most about Listia is that it takes the hyper-consumption of goods that is so rampant in our society (and that is especially apartment during the holidays) and simultaneously rebels against it and feeds it into it. A company that twists around of what can be a really nasty national trait and turning it into something that saves people money and contributes to helping the environment will always get my vote.
Wrap up that holiday shopping list! Don’t blow all your cash this holiday season. Hop onto Listia, clear out some closet space, and get a bunch of cool stuff for free through Listia’s credit-earning barter system.