How To Eat Caviar On a Ramen Budget – or My Accounting Skills for Your Kung Fu Moves!

Imagine being one of the 800,000 young women who graduated from a US college or university in 2010. You are eager to step out into the working world with hopes of finding your dream job and getting paid generously for doing what you studied for four years. You’ve got the recommendations, the new wardrobe and your luck charm, so you write your perfect resume, send it out to dozens of prospective employers, go to countless job fairs, use social media to get the word out, ask your family, friends, professors and anyone who will listen�Ц And still, for some reason you are not offered a well-paid job in your chosen field.

You keep trying and hoping and praying. You are unemployed for months before putting your dreams on hold and opting for a temporary solution: working long hours in an unrelated field for very little pay. Your hopes of buying a home, taking a vacation or just going out to a fine restaurant are deferred; you need to pay the rent, the bills, the car note. You have no money left for anything but the bare necessities.

Getting a haircut, learning French or taking a yoga class is probably not on your list of must-pays, doing those little things mean the difference between feeling like your best self or feeling completely blue. So should you skip dinner for the next two weeks to be able to afford that salon treatment? Of course not! Eat your cake and have it too.

A new online group called Swapistan launched on December 1st, 2010 with one goal in mind: to help young women save money and still get everything they need. With so many 20-somethings out of work or struggling, it makes sense to start a group in which we utilize the best money-saving strategy we know: skill swapping.

We all volunteer an hour of our time each week for free, in exchange for an hour of someone else’s time. This way we all get the services we need: the massages, mani-pedis, pet sitting, language lessons, software tutoring, legal advice, life coaching and much more for free.

Let’s say you are an accountant who has long been interested in martial arts. You have the time but the classes are out of your price range, since your starting salary is nothing to brag about. If you join Swapistan, you can look through the list of members and find someone who specializes in kung fu. You can contact her and find out when you could join her class or take some private sessions. On the other hand, another member of Swapistan might need accounting. You offer an hour of your time to her and not only do you make a new friend, but you also earn a Swapbuck, the currency used by Swapistan members to get free services. An hour of your time is worth an hour of any other member’s time.

So save your cash. Time is money, so pay with it! Join Swapistan at and start swapping your skills for free services today. It’s the smartest way for young women to get what they want!

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