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Smart Buying

12 Sites to Help You Save and Make Money By Sharing

Whether you want to use services such as carpooling or dog sitting or provide them, you can cash in on the sharing economy by heading online.

The sharing economy has exploded. There are nearly 5,000 sharing companies, organizations and programs, according to the Mesh Labs Global Sharing Economy Index. And by some estimates they will generate billions of dollars in revenue this year. Belt-tightening during the economic downturn played a role in the rise of the sharing economy, as more people looked for ways to turn idle resources into cash—say, by renting out a barely used bicycle to neighbors—or to take on a part-time gig. In turn, sharing services found a willing clientele of newly cost-conscious consumers. And technological advances, in the form of the Web and mobile applications, made it easy to connect services with people.

See Also: Cash In on the Sharing Economy

These sites provide opportunities to spend less on goods and services than you might through a traditional vendor, as well as to earn extra cash. (Some services are available only in certain cities.)

Travel and Lodging

Name How to Save Money How to Earn Money
Read reviews from other users to choose accommodations, which may range from a spare bedroom to an Airstream trailer. Airbnb adds a 6% to 12% service fee to your bill. Rent out extra space in your home to lodgers. You set the price per night, and Airbnb takes a 3% cut.
Check reviews to pick a dog sitter. Pet insurance is included, and the sitter will send you daily pictures of your pooch. Board dogs in your home at the price you choose. DogVacay takes a 15% cut of your bookings.
A local resident at your destination acts as a tour guide, at rates below those charged by tour companies. Vayable charges a 3% service fee. Be a guide in your hometown at the price you set. Vayable takes a 15% cut.

Car- and Ride-Sharing

Name How to Save Money How to Earn Money
Depending on the city, you'll either pay a set amount (based on time and distance) or make a donation of your choice to the driver. If you’re at least 23 years old and own a four-door car in good condition, you can drive people in your area to their destinations. Lyft takes 20% of your earnings.
Provide your driver’s license information so RelayRides can check your driving record. If you pass muster, choose among cars to rent in your desired location. Rent out your car with the availability and price you set. RelayRides takes 25% of the rental fee.
Use the Uber smart-phone app to request a ride. You can see the type of car and the driver’s rating from other riders—and cancel if you would rather not have that driver. If you’re at least 23 years old and own a midsize or full-size car with four doors, you can act as a taxi service. Uber typically takes 20% of your earnings.

Household Items

Name How to Save Money How to Earn Money
Rather than buying an item you won’t need often—say, a tent or a chain saw—see whether a neighbor will let you borrow it free or for a fee (available to anyone in the U.S.). You can charge a fee (or not) to lend items you own, such as a ladder or a sewing machine, to people in your area.
You can rent bicycles, skis and snowboards. Contact the lender if you have any questions before you rent. Rent out equipment at a price you choose. Spinlister takes a 17.5% service fee for each rental.
Yerdle doesn’t use cash; you use credits you’ve earned to purchase items you want. You pay for shipping ($2 to $4). Sell items you no longer want—say, books or toys—for a number of credits that you set. You’ll get 250 credits when you sign up.

Clothing Exchanges

Name How to Save Money How to Earn Money
Browse for secondhand women's clothing, handbags, accessories and jewelry. You pay the $4.99 shipping fee for purchases. Use Poshmark's mobile app to upload photos of women’s clothing to sell. Poshmark takes a $2.95 cut for sales under $15 and 20% of the price for other sales.
Search for slightly used clothing at discounts from retail prices. Shop online "boutiques" for categories such as maternity clothing and swimwear. Mail high-quality clothing to ThredUp in a postage-paid bag. You can get up to 80% back in cash or store credit.

Odd Jobs

Name How to Save Money How to Earn Money
Post a description of a task you want done, such as picking up groceries, making household repairs or proofreading papers. You can set a price or request bids from workers. After you pass a background check, look for tasks that suit you and make offers.