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9 ways to save and benefit from the sharing economy

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It's OK to share

A growing number of adult consumers are swapping cars, bedrooms, clothing, desk space and even groceries—with strangers.

It's all part of the so-called sharing economy, an Internet-based model of collaborative consumption, in which unused goods and on-demand services are sold or rented to those willing to pay for them.

According to a May 2014 Nielsen study, 68 percent of online consumers surveyed worldwide said they were willing to share or rent their personal items. That adds up to revenue that is expected to exceed $3.5 billion this year, a 25 percent increase from a year ago.

But before you put a bid on someone's denim jacket, duplex apartment or dog-sitting services—or offer up your own—proceed with caution. Some industries and services work better than others for peer-to-peer commerce. Read on for ways to save and what you need to know.

By Lucy Maher, special to
Posted 9 Nov. 2014

Paul Vasarhelyi | Getty Images