It appears the act of sharing is making a comeback as Americans continue to struggle with a poor economy.

The so-called “sharing economy” is where people use the Internet to share - or rent - anything and everything to complete strangers.

Neal Gorenflo with the website says in 2011 he saved $17,000 on things like day care, transportation, travel - he even earned interest by lending others his money.

"I actually loaned money to strangers, I feel safer loaning it to strangers than putting it in the stock market," Gorenflo tells KTRH News.  "People are sharing their houses and opening up their spare rooms, tree houses and castles."

The "sharing economy" is expected to boast $3.5 billion this year, but economist Ray Perryman still feels the new trend is simply a short-term fix in the down economy.

"The economy has people trying to be more frugal, but none the less it is an interesting phenomenon, I think it’s one you'll hear about quite a bit, but I don't think it will become a huge piece in the grand scheme of things," Perryman says.

"I think a lot of young people are interested in it, one of my daughters has done it a couple times," he says.  "The Internet makes it more efficient, I think you'll see it grow to some extent but it won't become a dominate part of the economy."

Gorenflo disagrees. He says the practice of sharing has a long history, plus there's more to it than just the money.

"They may start some of these things to make money, but then they find they really enjoy it," he says.  "They feel more connected and make new friends, it is very social."