Wednesday, January 20

Swaptree: It may be love!

Okay, so I know this is hardly new ground to a lot of you. But I only recently learned about this site. And I'm already smitten!

For those of you who aren't aware of it, Swaptree is a site that lets people trade books, CDs, DVDs and video games. It's pretty cool!

I sat down with a few games that Tim doesn't want anymore, along with a few books that have been lying around. Later, I'll go through and add in my CD collection.

Within an hour of making my account, I had a trade offer. A copy of Knights of the Old Republic II in exchange for a PC game I had hoped to get for Christmas. I was going to have to save up some Swagbucks for it (once Tim's iPod Touch is paid for). Now, I can get it... well... now!

Meanwhile, I've been meaning to get the third book in the Artemis Fowl series to read to Tim. For about a year now. Yeah. I ordered it from the Seattle library a couple of times, but kept not feeling well enough to pick it up when it came in. If I can trade for it, though, I'll have plenty of time to take the next step in that series.

As we speak, there is an offer out to someone on Swaptree. I'm trying to trade a novel I got for Christmas. Very good book, though I cried off and on throughout it. But I rarely reread books, so I may as well let it be the gift that keeps on giving.

The real hope, though, is that this could be a good trading spot for Tim with video games. After all, it's nice to be able to trade games in for credit at Game Stop, but it'd be even nicer to just make trades across the board.

There are a couple of titles that would be really great to find on there. One of the biggies will probably be Dante's Inferno, when it comes out in February. Tim has a rather pristine version of Tekken 6; so maybe we'll luck out.

Even if that doesn't work out, it would be a good way to check out some of the other games out there. Technically, you can do this at a video game store. But you have to trade in two or three titles, minimum, just to get a mid-range game. This way, it's always a one-to-one ratio.

That said, there are a couple of things to be careful about. They both concern mailing.

First, you have the time factor. I accepted the trade for my PC game. And found out it needs to be in the mail tomorrow. That's not a lot of time, even for people who are healthy and/or organized. So you need to have all the packaging materials in hand before jumping on a trade.

You should also be wary of the site-calculated mailing costs. I was told it would be $2.79 for a printed label. (The amount would be charged to a credit card at the end of the month.) Or I could use my own postage. In that case, I wouldn't get tracking, so the amount would be $2.41.

That seemed kind of high to me. So I went over to the USPS site and plugged in weight and zip codes. The post office says it'll be $2.07. Sure, that's only a 34-cent difference, but it still makes me wonder.

More importantly, I'm relatively sure the estimated weight is off. The rate assumes a shipping weight of 8 oz. Meanwhile, Amazon has the weight as 4 oz. (Is it weird that I looked it up? I miss my little scale! I left it back in Seattle.) So, taking the envelope into account, you're looking at about 6 oz.

The actual amount I expect to pay? $1.73. Compared to $2.79. Definitely something I'm going to keep my eye on.

Of course, I have yet to actually complete a trade. Hopefully, in a week or so, I'll have a trade or two under my belt, and I can speak about the whole process. But if you've had any experiences with Swaptree -- good or bad -- I would love to hear about them!

Has anyone considered this as another way to get presents frugally?



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