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And Then She Saved accessories swap brings Denver frugalistas together

Denver's frugalistas flocked to the Curtis Hotel Saturday night to get rid of old looks and find new favorites at the And Then She Saved accessories swap sponsored by Denver's own Handbags.com.

"I really wanted new clothes but I didn't want to pay for new clothes, and I'd heard about swaps so I thought that'd be great," says co-organizer Anna Newell Jones.

The event brought more than 50 women to the Peekaboo room of the Curtis Hotel where participants swapped shoes, purses, jewelry and more. The swap was the brain child of Anna Newell Jones, who writes the personal finance blog "And Then She Saved," and Tran Wills, the Social Media Coordinator for Handbags.com.

"My apartment complex doesn't have a community room so I went on Facebook to ask if anyone had a space where we could swap and Tran commented and said, 'I have a gallery space you can use!' and it started from there," says Newell Jones

"Swaps are a great way to get quality, new things without spending hundreds of dollars," says Wills.

The swap was $5 participate, most of which went to support SafeHouse Denver, a women's shelter and advocacy center that all of the And Then She Saved swaps in the area support. All of the items not swapped-out at the end of the night were also donated to the shelter.

Once women paid their entry fee, they brought their swap items to inspectors who made sure that all the items were of high quality, and then the inspectors took items and organized the tables for the first hour while participants had their photos taken in a photo booth, enjoyed cupcakes and $5 manicures from Tooties Nail Shoppe and competed in a purse coloring contest to win handbags from Big Buddha.

While the swap seemed like a success -- with barely any items left untouched at the end of the night -- there were some gripes about the lack of seating, as there were only three small tables at the event that attracted more than 50 people.

"I'd have had a better time if I wasn't sitting on the floor getting cupcake crumbs all over my lap," says participant Caroline Hoberecht.

Newell Jones and Wills met on a photo shoot for Westword, where Newell Jones was photographing and Wills was styling, and their friendship blossomed from there, but they never had a chance to work together until Newell Jones began her spending fast (only spending money on essentials for one year) and her love for clothing swaps was born.

"I really recommend the spending fast I did because I was able to change my habits," says Newell Jones. "The biggest thing I learned was having everything I want is not all it's cracked up to be, it really puts those things in perspective.

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"Now I'm completely out of debt and I was actually able to change my life because of it -- when I thought I would die with my debt."

If you want to be able to keep your spending down also, you're in luck, as Newell Jones and Wills have many more swaps planned for the Denver area, and the rest of the country, all though no dates are final yet.

To find out how to start your own spending fast or, for a less drastic approach, find tips on how to spend more wisely, visit Andthenshesaved.com

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