Save Big Bucks with Swapping Websites

Swapping websites are becoming more popular as people try to save money.

People are bartering their goods and services with others, and getting some great deals along the way.

CBS News Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis offered a user's guide on "The Early Show" Tuesday, pointing to sites and offering cautions.

Bartering's semeingly been around forever -- but has found a home on the Internet.

So, if you have old stuff sitting around, don't toss it - swap it for things you want.

Folks are doing the same with their time as they seek bargains on services.

Jarvis suggest certain steps to try to make sure things go smoothly and safely:

• Be specific. Tell exactly what you want.
• For services: try with a group of family or friends first.
• Keep detailed records of everything, and agree on values of swapped goods and services beforehand. Create contracts.
• When you pay taxes, you'll have to record this for what you received and what you gave.

Swaptree.com

Enables you to trade items such as books, CDs, DVDs and video games for one another. For instance, at one point ou could go here to exchange the book, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" for "The Lovely Bones" book, a Miley Cyrus CD, the "Juno" movie or a "Madden NFL" video game.

The site claims a million swaps in the last year.

You list the items you have to trade, and Swaptree shows you everything you can trade them for. Once the other traders accept, the trade is complete and are provided with the shipping address where you need to ship your item. Your only expense is shipping of the item you're sending. Use the Postal Service's Media Mail service and you can send almost everything for less than $3. Print the mailing label from your computer and put your item in the envelope.

All trades on Swaptree are one-for-one, meaning you trade one item and receive one item in return, and therefore all items have the same value.

U-exchange.com

This is for big-ticket swaps of things such as vacations, cars, boats, even houses. For instance, recently, you could have traded a Disney vacation for professional wedding photography or the use of a ski house in Utah.

The site says it has more than 70,000 members.

You create an account, give a detailed explanation of what you're offering and what you're seeking. Click on the Contact button when viewing a member's listing and the e-mail that you signed up with will be used as the reply e-mail address. A link to your listing is automatically inserted for you in the e-mail that you send. Make an offer. Post photos. It's up to you to draft a simple contract. If you're dealing with someone you don't know, sign and date it.

There are no membership fees. The site pays for itself through advertising. Advertisers appear on the right-hand column of country, state and province pages when browsing through listings.

BabysitterExchange.com

Go here to trade babysitting services, find childcare groups near you, babysitting co-ops, etc.

You can find people to help with errands, carpooling, tutoring, pet-sitting and more.

In essence, you're trading your time, swapping services.

For instance, it helps you join, create, and manage your own babysitting co-op, connecting you with families in your area. Rather than paying with money, it's all based on points: Earn points if you watch someone's children. Cash in points to have someone watch yours. In addition to babysitting, people now use it for errands, carpooling, help around the house, tutoring, meal swaps, odd jobs, house-sitting, caring for pets and anything else they can imagine.