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There are many things in life that we need or want, but simply cannot afford. This post is about how you can go about getting these things without dipping into your wallet (and no, I don’t mean stealing!)

– Swap shops. In my area we have a regular clothes swap shop, allowing us to take along unwanted items of clothing and swap them for different ones. The ultimate in reusing and recycling,  and will give you a fuzzy feeling inside.

Assess your skills – what can you offer? Do you know a language?  Can you work a sewing machine? Can you cook? Garden? Clean? 

Once you have worked  out what you are good at, you have two choices: sell your skills to make some extra cash, or swap them. There will be someone out there who wants to weed your garden for a couple of homemade lasagnes, or a retired home economics teacher who will teach you how to sew in exchange for an iPad tutorial.

A wonderful side effect of this kind of interaction is a sense of community and shared responsibility. We are all terribly guilty for living inside self sufficient nuclear bubbles, refusing to ask for outside help lest we seem weak. Embrace the skills and help of others and use yours to help other people!  

My French skills are very rusty, and for ages I’ve looked into classes and then decided that they are too expensive for me to justify. In the spirit of skills swapping I posted an ad on Gumtree,  advertising my English language skills in exchange for some native french conversation. I’ve met three lovely people this week, all have been exceptionally grateful for my input and my conversational skills have improved dramatically. For free!

Have a think. What skills could you swap?