However, needless to say I was not 100% successful in all of my efforts. I still haven't started recycling, and I have probably spend double what I should have during unplanned escapades and tipsy shopping sprees. Therefore, I propose a second edition of What's Mine is Yours: A Dummies Guide to Collaborative Consumption. Yes, the former was very informative of the different ways people can participate in collaborative consumption, and efforts many have made to live in such a way. However, a second edition might address those who are just starting, or have weak will power.
Regardless of my weak will power, I managed to keep up with my Airbnb profile, and I have had four guests so far. I have made close to $800 through Airbnb rentals, and this has helped me tremendously to pay bills and rent. I have met a commercial real estate agent from Oklahoma, a health foods business owner from Austin, a Utah professor, and a girl from Australia trying out for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I love the connections and experiences created through collaborative consumption. Some people worry about strangers stayin in their home, but strangers live next door, and some of my neighbors are severey creepier than that of the Airbnb community. I have enjoyed everyone I have met on Airbnb, and I consister it to be a great way of networking. Airbnb has literally changed my life. I even learned towel origami from YouTube so that I can fold towels into cute animals for travelers.
However, being a host is not always stress-free and fun. I still have to make sure the bedroom is clean, towels and sheets are washed, the rest of my house isn't a complete wreck, and that I don't walk around in my long johns around the apartment. People expect certain things when they pay for a room. There are also things to be expected of a guest, so I created legal addendum documents for keys, bedbugs and lice, the treatment of my dog, damages and liability of both parties property, and optional accomodations for photogarphy and video. Overall, I enjoy hosting, but it does add certain stress levels, especially during busy times in my life.
I also joined Freecycle.com, and now frequent the website of Craigslist. Freecylce isn't a problem, because eveyrthing is free, however on Craigslist there is just one free section. I always check the free section first, but somehow I end up wandering to all my favorite non-free sections: furniture, household, and tickets. Sometimes I even view "all for sale items." Ok, it happens every time. I save money on individual items, but end up spending the same amount of my budget because I don't want to pass up a good bargain. Collaborative consumption is becoming my addiction, in all the wrong ways. I even overbooked on Airbnb, just once, but it happened. I tried to get as many guests in my place as I could, but it was not logical. I still believe people can be just as greedy and selfish participating in collaborative consumption. For instance, travelers on Airbnb want to save money, and hosts wat to make money. Freecyclers just want to rid their space of crap (they obviously don't want anymore), and other Freecyclers just want to save money. Craigslist users just want all kinds of different things, which is a whole different blog topic. However, a little greed is just part of human nature, so there is no formula for solving that. Perhaps a little greed is what makes the layout work. I do think collaborative consumption is the lesser of two evils when compared to superficial people and mass consumerism. People at least pretend they are giving away something for the greater good, when in reality they just want it gone. Maybe I'm a pessimist, but that seems to always be the case.
I have found that I was very enthusiastic about giving nice items away when I first opened my accounts, but after people took my nice and valuable things in the blink of an eye, I started wondering if I could have gotten any amount of money for them. Greed takes over every time. I suppose I felt slightly better knowing that some person more unfortunate that me might be getting use out of items that were just sitting around my apartment. As previously stated, I love the idea and act of collaborative consumption; I just need a stronger will power. I need to realize that just because I am getting a bargain doesn't mean I should purchase an item, and just because it's free doesn't mean I should "find a use for it." Of course, easier said than done.
My ultimate goal is this: find a happy medium between what I really need and what I really want. The challenge is not overcoming an urge for an outrageously priced item, but rather the urge for multiple cheap and thrifty items. Collaborative consumption does not serve its full purpose if money isn't being saved. I just need to live according to this fact: just because it is collaborative doesn't mean it isn't some kind of consumption, and when you're poor college folk, you mustn't consume much of anything (except food and water).