Swapping doesn’t work. But it could.

People have used free or low-cost listings for many years to ask for trades and swaps. When something no longer has value for any reason, an exchange with someone who has something you need makes sense. In operation now for two years SwapU has learnt much about the swapping/sharing economies. 

Unless someone has pockets full of cash, trading is more viable than buying in most circumstances.

When swapping is done right, it builds a community. It’s not unusual for people to find new friends and create a more active social life when making trades.

With so many benefits, why aren’t more people swapping? It’s often from a lack of knowledge. When people know how to barter, they’re more likely to seek opportunities.

Here’s what you need to know about swapping to get started.

Agreed Value vs. Cash Value: Two Important Terms to Know

Agreed value means that you and another person believe an item has a specific value. If you look at a rare comic book, you might decide that it is worth $5,000 together.

When you have that same conversation with another person, you might agree that it is worth $6,500.

With agreed value, you’re creating a predetermined amount with another party to settle a transaction. Anything in your possession can go through this evaluation process if you’re trying to trade or sell.

Why sell something for $50 if you can swap it for another item that would cost $110 to receive?

Actual cash value is the replacement cost for an item less its depreciation. When products get used over time, it has less value than they would without any use. That happens because of the wear and tear and age involved, if not both factors. [[1]]

With actual cash value, the cost is defined as what it would take to replace something of similar quality and materials.

Vehicles are an excellent example of how actual cash value works because of the instant depreciation that happens after leaving a dealership. In the first year, a $20,000 car is worth about $16,000 to replace with something of equal value. You’d lose $4,000 trying to buy something new as a replacement. [[2]]

That’s why swapping is something to consider. When you can trade items without a cash exchange, it’s the agreed value that matters – between you and the other party.

Why Do People Swap?

Most people swap for one of three primary reasons.

  1. It isn’t easy to find something they want because of its rarity or specificity.
  2. The cost of buying something new is greater than any perceived cost of swapping.
  3. There are personal reasons behind the decision.

The issue with swapping is that it has traditionally involved meeting someone publicly or trusting that they’ll mail the item to you promptly. There can be significant risks involved, whether you’re swapping vintage clothing or video games.

That causes people to work with groups of people they already trust, but that decision also limits the availability of tradable things.

The average home has more than $5,000 worth of unused and unwanted items. With the proper resources, that value doesn’t need to be ignored. [[3]]

What Do People Swap?

People swap anything and everything. During the recession years of 2007-2009, some families were growing their own food to trade for other items they needed.

You might find people swapping potted plants for haircuts. [[4]]

Most swaps involve an unwanted item for one that is needed. When this process happens online, it can even include digital goods.

There is no limit to what you can swap beyond the requirement to have ownership of the thing in question. That’s what is so exciting about this exchange!

What Are the Benefits of Swapping to Your Pocket and the Planet?

When you trade one item for another, you’re not consuming new materials. The items have already been manufactured. That means you’re not using additional fossil fuels to get what you need.

Most energy needs are fueled by the use of fossil fuels. Australia is the largest exporter of coal, accounting for over 50% of the energy exports. By reducing the use of this energy source, fewer carbon emissions and particulates enter the atmosphere. [[5]]

If everyone started swapping, the savings could be tremendous. Even one trade makes a slight difference somewhere.

When you start swapping frequently, you’ll save your cash and help the planet. That’s a win-win combination!

Getting Started: How Do I Swap?

Swapping is as simple as trading something with your neighbour. That’s what we’ve created here at SwapU.

Why keep things that you’re no longer using? It has value! When you swap those items for something that you need, it’s like getting something for free. And it has never been easier with free online services like SwapU to help you find the perfect swap.

Let’s get you started today – and look for other swapping opportunities as you go through each day!


[[1]] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/actual-cash-value.asp

[[2]] https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/car-insurance/guides/car-buying/car-depreciation.html

[[3]] https://blog.gumtree.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Second-Hand-Economy-Report-Aug-2020.pdf

[[4]] https://nypost.com/2017/05/23/the-people-who-want-to-trade-for-everything-and-pay-for-nothing/

[[5]] https://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/energy/overview

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