Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spending and lending

In my year of sharing I have been participating in group buying with both Living Social and Groupon. I tend to opt for deals that involve either services/adventures or food. I'm trying to buy less "stuff" but am keen on new places to eat or skills to learn. So this last weekend I went to redeem a few of my deals. I got a great assortment of gourmet food from Land and Sea Market, some frozen yogurt from Berryism and picked up my pottery from Pikasso Kiln and Kork. I also purchased a couple more, a massage and a brunch at Feather Sound Country Club. I shared those deals on my facebook page and I got a couple of referrals which made my deals even better and is the concept behind those services. Tell your friends, and they tell their friends and before you know it there are millions of members and local (and some national) companies get much needed exposure.

A few months ago there was also a Groupon for Kiva, which is a site to encourage microfinancing of entrepreneurs around the world. I had been interested in this since I first heard about it at one of my Rotary Club meetings. I made a loan (with about 100 other lenders) to a knitter from Peru to purchase yarn to make hand knit items to sell. She has already started to pay back her loan and I like to think that I'm making her life better.

One of my fellow Etsians has started a Kiva team on Etsy for others, like me, who are interested in connecting their handmade shops with lending to Kiva. It's a community within a community.

My next plan is to use some of my income tax refund to start a small account on and lend some money peer-to-peer. I do have one problem with Prosper: on the riskier loans they charge the borrower upwards of 30% interest. I find this figure usurious and will not lend to those borrowers. My priorities will be people looking to do energy efficient improvements or pay back school loans or pay off debt.

I feel better with my sharing this week, after last week's unsuccessful mass transit experiment. Coming soon, my random knitting connections and other sharing adventures.

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