Tag Archives: free

Sharing Economy Apps

The new sharing economy that took rise in the mid 2000’s has introduced people to the concept of gaining goods, housing, and services through exchange instead of spending money.

According to a 2014 study conducted by PWC, 44 percent of the participants surveyed said they are familiar with the sharing economy. After taking the survey, 72 percent of the participants said that they would become involved in the sharing economy within the next two years.

Today the sharing economy is partnering with the tech industry to create different sharing communities that anyone can access on the web or on their smart phone. One of the leading sharing environment companies is Airbnb, a site that allows people around the globe to offer their homes for tourists to stay in at a chosen price. According to the PWC survey, Airbnb averages 425,000 guests per night.

With the nation’s growing interest in the sharing economy, below are five sharing apps and websites that will save you money, and serve as a gateway to the new economy that claims to be built upon community.

Bay Area Community Time Bank

Founded in the ‘80s, 2013 Humanitarian Award winner Dr. Edgar S. Cahn created the Time Banking system during his stay at a hospital while recovering from a heart attack, according to the MI Alliance of Time Banks. The Time Bank system was initially conceived as a solution to the current government spending on social welfare. In 1987 at the London School of Economics, Cahn reasoned that this new currency could be sustainable, and he later began Time Banking in America.

Today there are over 461 Time Bank communities around the globe. People create online accounts to their local Time Bank, and can then socialize with other members and choose from a wide array of different services that each member offers. The Bay Area’s Time Bank, Bay Area Community Exchange (BACE), has over 600 members.

BACE member AZ Zaidi says that Time Banking has not only saved him money, but also introduced him to a world of different people.

“It was mind-blowing to see that I could connect with a totally new demographic of people on types of services or offers or requests,” says Zaidi.

BACE holds meetings on the first Wednesday of each month at the Omni Collective.

Leftover Swap

If you ordered too much takeout and can’t finish your whole meal, instead of throwing it in the trash one can now give their leftovers to a hungry person in the neighborhood.
 Two college roommates, Bryan Summersett and Dan Newman, invented the app Leftover Swap, which launched in 2013 in response to food waste .
 With this app, people no longer have to toss out their extra chow mein. Now they can take a photo of whatever leftover food they have, and post it for other account members to see. People within the same geographical vicinity can offer to trade food or give food for free.


The goal of this website is stated in the name. Barterquest is a website where users can post from their computer or phone any unwanted items, real estate, or services that they want to trade in exchange for points or needed items. Founders Dr. Paul Bocheck and Michael Satz created the website in 2009 as a way for people to save money in the struggling economy and build communities within their cities that can financially support each other.


Founded in 2004 by a group of traveling students who were looking for a place to crash in Iceland, Couchsurfing is a website and app that travelers around the world can use to connect with locals and spend a couple days in their home.

Unlike Airbnb, Couchsurfing focuses on pairing foreign 
travelers with people who know their town like the back of their hand, and can guide visitors to local hotspots and gems. In addition to connecting visitors, Couchsurfing also hosts weekly meet ups at local bars and coffee shops for other Couchsurfing members in the area to connect. Today there are an estimated 10 million members and couches are opened up in over 200,000 cities.


Beginning in 2011, Poshmark is an app and online site that gives women around the world a platform and market to swap and sell used clothing. Founder Manish Chandra was given inspiration for this idea after hearing his wife constantly complain about having nothing to wear when she had a closet stocked with new clothes. Poshmark representative Bita Khalenghi says that the amount of Poshmark users has rapidly grown.

“Over the past three years, Poshmark has become the largest peer-to-peer fashion marketplace with millions of users and over 700,000 closets open for sale,” Khalenghi says.

Today Poshmark is one of the largest sharing companies in the world.

“Over $2 million worth of fashion inventory is uploaded onto the marketplace every day, and over 10 million items are for sale from over 5,000 fashion brands,” Khalenghi says.

So if you’re in need for some extra cash, or just want a change in your wardrobe, Poshmark can hook one up with other fashionistas in your town and across the globe.


Five Free, Fun Foot Hikes in SF

Photo by avatar-1 via Flickr


It’s Wednesday and your best friend calls, hungry for $20 appetizers at San Francisco’s newest and most overpriced cafe. After a longer look at the online menu, it’s clear you won’t be leaving this place without spending at least half your rent. You suggest doing something cheaper and healthier than devouring a basket of gourmet bacon fries, because San Francisco’s perks aren’t always expensive.

The natural beauty of this city is a free source of entertainment, one that’s arguably more fulfilling than sitting indoors this summer. To prove my point, here’s a list of five free and scenic hikes around town:


The dirt trails that lead to this peak are lined with rugged boulders, not tall trees, giving hikers unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay as they near the top. Adjacent to the Castro neighborhood, Corona Heights Park offers amazing views of busy Market Street and downtown San Francisco set against the backdrop of the East Bay’s rolling hills. Leave the picnic blanket at home if you’re doing this hike, as the unpredictable gusts will knock over anything not nailed down. The park at the base of the trail, however, is shady and peaceful – a perfect place for dog owners to toss around the tennis ball.
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This peak offers just as spectacular a view as Corona Heights Park, with a completely different experience getting to the top. The park’s forested trail at the western end of the Haight neighborhood provides a cool escape from the summer sun. Take a mellow stroll through tall pine trees as you wind you way up to the summit, or more expedient hikers can hit the switchbacks that cut directly to the top. This sheltered grove is an ideal setting for a picnic with an amazing look at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Photo by avatar-1 via Flickravatar-1
Photo by chad_k via Flickrchad_k Photo by sketch22 via Flickrsketch22
Don’t pay a fortune to visit a ritzy museum when you can climb this dazzling masterpiece for free. Each one of the 163 steps is covered in vibrant mosaics that visually span the depths of the ocean to the heavens above. The staircase starts at 16th and Moraga, leading to the base of another hill with views of the Sunset neighborhood and Golden Gate Park.  It’s a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the city’s charming west side – by far the most underrated part of San Francisco.
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After climbing the Moraga staircase, make your way further west to the beach and check out the rolling dunes of Fort Funston. These sandy trails are pet friendly and often crowded with dozens of professional dog walkers looking after their wily packs. The fort was the site of Battery Davis, built in 1938 as a series of lookouts for Japanese ships during the onset of WWII. Get lost in the maze of shrubs and ice plant towering high above the waves, or hike down to the shoreline to dip your toes in the water.
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This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the highest point in San Francisco. Mount Davidson is hard to miss with its 103-foot-tall concrete cross towering over a grove of trees at the top, which now serves as a memorial for the Armenian genocide. It’s an ideal place for admiring the expanse of the Bay directly south of downtown, so take some time to relax after completing this wooded hike.


All photos are from the Creative Commons archive of Flickr.

Downtown Salon Gives Men Free Haircuts

Lana Bowen, owner of Salana Hair Studio in Lower Nob Hill, styles Pedram Afshar’s new mohawk at the free haircuts event on Feb. 5th. Photo by Zhenya Sokolova

Teddy Hall, 18, didn’t know what to expect when he decided to RSVP for a free haircut advertised on SFFunCheap.com, but as his shoulder length hair slowly began to fall toward the floor, he knew there was no going back.

This past Thursday was the first free haircut event of the new year at Salana Hair Studio. It was in conjunction with the Lower Polk/Tenderloin Art Walk that provides exposure to new hairstyles, artwork and diverse crowds.

On the first Thursday of the next three months, Salana will be offering free barber’s choice hairstyles to men. This month’s inspiration: mohawks.

“I do regular haircuts all day. Tonight we’re going for funky,” says Salana owner Lana Bowen.

Lana Bowen finishing up Teddy Hall's new mohawk at the free hair cuts event at Salana Hair Studio in Lower Nob Hill on Thursday, Feb. 5th, Photo by Zhenya Sokolova/ Xpress Magazine
Hall watches Bowen style his new mohawk. Photo by Zhenya Sokolova / Xpress Magazine

“I figured if the line was too long, I would go home,” said one the queued men as he laughed nervously. After seeing the first few mohawks, he decided he would wait until next month to get his free and hopefully more conservative haircut.

Although “barber’s choice” may sound like a disaster waiting to happen, the music, beers, art and laughter maintained a jovial atmosphere well into the night.

On top of scoring a free haircut, patrons have the opportunity to admire and purchase artwork featured in the salon. This month, Casey Castille’s intricate posters adorn the walls of Salana, which showcase the synergy of San Francisco’s creative community.

Cafes, bookstores and various galleries in the downtown area also showcase local artists during the monthly Lower Polk/Tenderloin Art Walk. Artists, art vultures, performers, business professionals, techies, students and those who just happen to saunter by the Art Walk locations all mingle with no particular expectation for the evening. Stories are shared, art is admired, and at the center of it all is the potpourri of people that define San Francisco.

This the the sixth year for the Art Walk. According to the event’s community manager Christine Villanueva, up to 1,300 people attend the shows.

“During the drier seasons, we have alleyway events where we promote local artists and craftsmen, accompanied by a live band and food trucks,” Villanueva says.

Michael Hussey reacting to his brand new hair cut, barbers choice by Lana Bowen, owner of the Salana Hair Studio in Lower Nob Hill on Thursday, Feb. 5th, Photo by Zhenya Sokolova/ Xpress Magazine
Michael Hussey reacting to his brand new haircut. Photo by Zhenya Sokolova / Xpress Magazine

March 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. is the next date for free haircuts, and it’s also Salana’s one-year anniversary. So guys, clear your schedules so you can keep your haircuts fresh and some extra money in your bank accounts.